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This Is the Only Reason You Should Get Rid of a Bathtub

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Do you want to enter a debate that doesn’t involve politics? Then discuss whether you’ll lose value on your home if there’s no tub in your bathroom. 

Some experts insist that your home will be more desirable to buyers if at least one of the bathrooms has a tub. Otherwise, you risk alienating two types of buyers: Those with young kids and those who really like soaking in a tub. 

“Taking out a bathtub [in a bathroom renovation] definitely devalues an apartment, even in a one-bedroom unit,” says Hilary Rovins, a broker with Coldwell Banker Warburg. “Many buyers list tubs as a must-have feature and won’t consider properties if they lack one.” However, there are circumstances that make a tub less than ideal — and one in particular stands out as cause to nix it. Read on to learn what that is.

Rub-a-dub-dub, no room for a tub.

Here’s another question: What if you have a tiny bathroom that requires you to be as limber as one of those contortionists on “America’s Got Talent” just to take a bath? Then this is the only reason to get rid of it.

Michael J. Franco, a broker at Compass in New York, says that in this case, you should remove the tub and install a larger shower.

“You may come across a buyer who wishes they had a tub, but a walk-in shower is very appealing, especially in a smaller bath,” says Franco. He does note that for larger spaces with two or more baths, he encourages his clients to keep one tub somewhere to attract the interest of buyers with young children.

For owners of studios and small one-bedroom apartments, agent Jeremy Kamm of Coldwell Banker Warburg agrees that it makes more sense to maximize space in a small bath by replacing a tub with a stall shower. 

“Glass-enclosed showers with attractive floor and wall tiles can completely transform the look of a bathroom,” Kamm says, noting that tiny tubs often aren’t often used because they are too shallow for a good soak anyway. “Entering a stall shower is far easier for anyone who might have some difficulty stepping over a bathtub.”

Accessibility is certainly a consideration when it comes to ditching the tub, regardless of bathroom size. Showers, particularly walk-in ones, are easier to navigate for homeowners with disabilities or those wishing to age-in-place. 

“I have found a lot of people truly prefer a shower,” says Leslie Singer, a broker with Brown Harris Stevens in New York City. “I have clients that are thinking about longevity, and they don’t want to necessarily be stepping into a bathtub any longer.” 

Gerard Splendore, a broker with Coldwell Banker Warburg, kept the tub when he renovated his own place for better resale. But he doesn’t make that a rule for his clients. “Still, rarely is the lack of a tub a deal breaker with my buyers,” he says. “I feel that with global warming and awareness of being more green, showers are more popular, as they use less water.”

If you love your shower but are really worried about resale, Singer says you could always convert it back to a tub before listing. But if you’re not willing to shell out cash on a major renovation, then Singer suggests displaying a designer’s drawing at an open house to show how the bathroom might be configured with a future tub.

What’s the solution for your bathroom?

Beauty is in the eye of the bather — uh, the beholder — when it comes to bathroom design. However, not having a tub won’t necessarily make you take a bath (pun fully intended) at resale.

“If an owner wishes to do something that will improve how they enjoy their home without being detrimental to resale, then they should do so,” says Franco.  

Barbara Bellesi Zito

Contributor

Barbara Bellesi Zito is a freelance lifestyle writer from Staten Island, NY, covering all things real estate and home improvement. When she’s not watching house flipping shows or dreaming out about buying a vacation home, she writes fiction. Barbara’s debut novel is due out in early 2022.



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