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Is a house without a bathtub hard to sell?

July 10, 2013
My husband wants to get rid of the only bathtub in the house and put in a large shower instead. I've always thought that for resale you should have at least one tub in the house. We're not planning to sell, but someday it will have to be sold. I'm going to take a poll. Let me know what your opinion is and why. Thanks in advance.
You will never sell that house without a tub.
Tubs are not that big of a deal. It'll be fine to put in a shower.

Comments (180)

  • Nancy Travisinteriors
    M3459. Very sad. Because adding a tub is no big deal!
  • Lorraine Skoglund

    I don't have a tub and got multiple offers from people with young children within one week of listing my house.

  • mtlmayhem
    My friend doesn't have a tub in her condo and has a 2 years old who showers.

    It's not a big deal for everyone, though it is true you're probably limiting your pool of candidates, the right buyer won't mind. Ultimately depends who you're marketing towards...
  • dnjk86

    My personal opinion is that when deciding to get rid of the only tub in the house you should take a few things into consideration. Most importantly, how long do you plan on staying in this home? If you are planning to sell soon, then I would say it would probably to be best to install a tub since that leaves the option for one to take a bath or a shower. There are people that find long soaks relaxing and a way to pamper themselves. My son, who plays a lot of sports loves to soak with epsom salts after a hard game. For some sitz baths are health requirements.

    If you are planning to live in the home for the next ten years-indefinitely, then I would say, put in whatever best suits your needs and wants. In 10+ years it will probably be outdated anyway and the new owner would probably want to update. It really does come down to personal preference and considerations as to how long you will reside in the home.

    A bathtub leaves the option to take a shower should you so desire, a shower alone leaves no option should you want/need to take a bath/soak. Most people like options.

    I hope this helps. It is an issue I encountered myself. I wish you well. Enjoy your new bathroom!

  • PRO
    KHB Interiors

    Keep one tub for resale.
  • charintx (z 8b, central Texas)

    We are in the process of building a new home. I took the tub out of the master suite and put a huge curbless shower in it's place. I have my 82 yo mother and in her suite I also removed the tub and put a shower in. The third bath, I left the tub/shower combo. So it covers all the bases.

  • dnjk86

    Charlotte, that sounds like a very practical and smart solution. I'm sure it will be appealing to the masses. As you said, "it covers all the bases".

  • staabt

    I remodeled a 20 year old home. The master bath tub was never used. the replacement 60" shower is used daily and the tub is not missed ...EVER! A hot tub, swimming pool, and other swimming allows us to submerge. With that being said the people who take baths are well "bubble blowers". The need to have a bathtub in a house with very young children? Well if they are really small it was a bathtub they loved! Bubble Blowers.

  • PRO
    Atlas Custom Cabinets Ltd

    No, it all depends on the preferences and choices.

  • Susan

    Thanks for all your comments, folks. We're finally gonna do it. We'll be bathtub free very soon.

  • cgmatlga

    We have four bedrooms, three baths and are renovating. We are redesigning the guest bath, which has the only bathtub, with a large shower, several shower heads and a bench. My husbands dream bathroom. I have a friend, in her thirties, that fell getting into a hotel tub/shower combination and she actually broke her neck. Watching the multiple surgeries that she underwent convinced me that tubs weren't worth it. Especially since we haven't used ours in over 20 years. I'm in my late sixties and very athletic, (horse trainer), and I really don't need a broken body part just in case the house doesn't sell quickly down the road. If it's that important I'll just give the buyer a $5,000 or so redecorating allowance. That should entice them!

  • Ruth Anne Mak

    We have one bathroom now that needs remodeling badly, but we are using the back section of a long third bedroom to add a master bathroom. There is no way I would ever put a tub in there. I kicked the top of the tub side getting in a few years ago and messed up my toe...had to have toe surgery. And now I have a bad knee from a beach incident, so climbing into that old tub is awful. Then add that it needs resurfacing and is so slippery that it's hard to stand for long, and I am so ready for my nice big shower I can hardly wait. Frankly when we remodel the present bathroom I wanted to put in a big shower there as well, but my tweens want a bathtub too, so we will replace that one. If they didn't that sucker would be out of here.

    Oh, and my master bathroom shower will have a nice comfy bench across it so I can sit to wash my hair and use the handheld spray to rinse. My leg won't hurt standing in the shower and I can sit on the bench and finally enjoy the bath experience without hurrying to get out from standing. We start the project at the end of May, I am really looking forward to it. I care about resale several years possibly down the road, but I have waited years for that shower and bench, and if the house didn't have a tub I would still just put in the shower.

  • Bev

    Most adults that I know only take showers. We will eventually be getting rid of the only bathtub that is in my house to turn it into a big shower.

  • lydiawilder

    I have read this whole thread. Love all of the input. I'm 70 and live in a little bungalow with 2 bedrooms and one bath. It has a fiberglass tub and shower deal. I'm thinking that a cool subway tile shower with glass door would be much more appealing to any future buyers and certainly better for me. That's most important, right? How I want to live in my house every day.

  • c w

    We are remodeling our bathrooms right now. We started with the master shower. We took out an outdated, leaking, cultured marble shower stall and bumped the wall back a foot into the closet. This gave us room for a bench.

    We also have a large garden tub/ shower combo in the master. Hubs wants to keep the shower capability, I wanted to put in a pedestal tub. I did go back and forth with tearing out the tub and doing a really big shower, and making the shower into a linen closet and using the kids "tiny" tub. But the shower is done now and I just really like my tub! I'm a once a week soaker... For a good two hours with the right book :) As a wedding planner, I also work 15hr days on my feet, which is why I like the long soak. I need it. So, for me, no tub would be an issue. Even having to resort to using a small tub in the kids bath would give me pause in considering a home.

    Our sons are all showering themselves at 18/14/10yrs, but even they take the occasional hot bath for soreness or comfort. And I don't know about this baby showering business! Mine bathed until about 5 or 6yrs old. The older guys maybe even a little longer because it was more convenient to bathe them with younger brother.

    My newest thought, would removing the tub from the kids bathroom to put in a nice shower and leaving the only tub as a garden tub in the master, be a bad design choice?

    Partial of master shower below. Big enough for two, though cozy. Haven't ordered the door yet. Tile wil continue on walls and a black/ white hex on the floor.

  • Sandra Parson

    I have been discussing our small family bath reno with my husband for years now. I feel we need to keep the smaller bath with shower and pivoting glass door in there for families. We do have a large soaker tub in the master bath which I felt was needed but we never use it.It takes ages to fill. We are in Ontario in a 4 bed house and I am thinking solely of who we will appeal to when we sell.If there are any realtors reading this in Kingston Ontario who have any comments I would be pleased to hear what you think?


  • PRO
    John J. O'Brien | Inspired Living, by design

    If a home has more than one bath, plan on one tub to satisfy those who cannot imagine life without one—and make sure it is practical for all demographics.

    In a Bangkok project, we retained a tub in a guest bath with ample room for a surround to display a beautiful (huge) Celadon vase. The tub has not been used in years, but it is a beautiful room that serves its purpose in marketing to overseas visitors who don't realize that a refreshing shower is where it's at in hot and humid Bangkok! The other three bathrooms were converted to glass enclosed showers. The master was large by North American standards, but it was another guest shower that was my favourite—big enough for full on yoga.

    In a project for a Russo-Canadian couple, we sourced an amazing red egg of a tub at the owners request. At the end of the day, however, there was not a willingness to plumb for the waterfall to fill it. As a result, this sculptural piece takes an hour to fill. This is an example of what happens when there is an attachment to a "idea" that is well supported in the initial budget but not provided for when unrelated construction delays cause a nervousness around expenses.

    In my own home we have ditched baths altogether. It is easy to get caught up in the beauty (see Urbana's sunken tub above) but practical use, residents' needs and resale (last) should dictate. I miss the occasional tub bath with a good book (and a good red) but am very happy with a long bench in our steam/shower.

  • meg613

    I know this is a rather old thread, but I appreciate all the comments. I am looking to remodel a 52 year old upstairs bathroom. The house is a mid century modern home with 4 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms. The master never had a tub; remodeled the shower to accept a teak platform, so that my elderly mom could just walk in without any barriers. Now I am setting my sights on the upstairs bathroom.

    This room has an alcove tub/shower combination. Previous posters have gone on at length about how grand it is to soak in a tub, but how long are your tubs? Mine is 60 inches long and 14 inches deep. There is nothing grand about soaking in a tub that small. I could go with a cheaper acrylic tub that is deeper, but then it would be hard to bathe children, if one is considering the whole issue of future resale. There is also the safety issue of getting in, and especially out of a tub, especially a deeper tub. I grew up in this house, and remember as a teenager almost slipping several times while stepping out of the tub after showering; youth and flexibility saved me from a nasty fall.

    Now I am older and reconsidering just pulling out the tub altogether. I could have a generous shower with a low threshold teak floor. Someone from Australia mentioned water usage. I live in Southern California, where we have had a 5-year drought. Saving on water is always a good idea. If I had room for a 72 inch long tub, I might think differently. I plan on staying in this home indefinitely, so I am going to revisit the idea of removing the only tub in this house. As far as resale, I think Fred S. put it eloquently: location, location, location. I live in a beach city, so I don't think I will have trouble selling this house when the time comes.

  • PRO
    RemodelWerks LLC

    Depends on who you are selling to. Some people could are less. Some people love tubs. It is all a matter of preference. Since you may be excluding some buyers, it may take longer to sell.

  • meg613

    Always a possibility RemodelWerks. I can't predict the future, but mid century moderns are hot, I live a mile from the beach, and whatever I do will be outdated in 10 years anyway. Might as well make it work for me.

  • Fred S

    "Since you may be excluding some buyers"-

    You would be excluding the other 50% that don't want the large dust collector and waste of real estate if you do put in a tub.

    That is the most obtuse, bias, and self centered arguement I have ever heard.

    BTW, all of the various poles on Houzz for this subject are close to 2-1 against having a tub, which suggests you would loose more potential buyers with a tub than without.

    You can say the same thing about swimming pools, hot tubs, 4 car garages, elevators, 20 acre lots, and a gold mine in the basement, if you want to add all the wish lists in the world... and price everybody right out of the home trying to throw everything and the kitchen sink at it.

  • meg613

    Got rid of the swimming pool too, Fred S! One of the happiest days of my life!!! That energy sucking eyesore was going to cost $50,000 to bring up to code, and cost $6,000 to bury. Considering the legal liability of having an "attractive nuisance" on the property; the cost of filling it with water in severe drought conditions; the heating and electrical costs; burying the monster was a bargain.

    Some home items are more tradition than useful.

  • PRO
    Gerety Building and Restoration

    Not having a tub may lose a few buyers, but it certainly wouldn't be impossible to sell without.

  • marjie1059

    Key words: "I plan on staying in this home indefinitely."

    So I just have to ask--for whom is this bathroom--you or some unknown buyer decades down the road? What would serve you the best? That answer is, I think, what you need to do. If resale is probably way off in the future, then perhaps it should not be a major concern for you.

  • meg613

    Exactly marjie1059. This bathroom is for me. As I said before as a teenager growing up in this house, I almost slipped and fell getting out of that shower/tub on several occasions. Now I am older, and a fall could be devastating. I'm remodeling this house for my needs; the next buyer can do what they want.

  • staabt

    To meg613: An Engineering concept that is most pragmatic is "Form follows function". Logic follows. Having a larger shower makes sense for most. Evaluating the alternative choices such as cost and consumption rates (usage) is a viable way to make a decision based on the theory in economics called "opportunity cost". Opportunity cost in this case is measured by the next highest value when considering how and when the item will be used. The choice to replace an aged bath tub based on the how and when is known as evaluating the causative factors and arriving at a mediating variable such as 'usage'.

    In this case if you will use a larger shower while living in the house it makes sense to install something that is deemed as a "refit". I was faced with this dilemma. Quoted over ten grand for a beautiful stone enclosed shower with all the stuff did not make sense. Rather a refit shower basin and doors was installed and we have never looked back at the decision.

    There are two main stress relieving factors, also know as the outcome variables which showed up. First the ten day rule applied. The ten day rule is ten days from now will it still bother you? --probably will have forgotten about it or is never looked at again. Many times we are to focused on the bug and need to pull back and see the plant and pull back again and see the garden, etc. Decisions based on opportunity costs are smart and offer options for future improvements. Personally I grow tired of things quickly and need a change and someday we will all live in different structures rather than these bank owned stick built bug infested liabilities we have been sold as a major investment. One might ask why is all that so and do it have to be that way with modern engineering and solar power etc.

    Finally do not worry about the next buyer. Fit the environment which makes the most sense for your consumption needs. If they desire a bathtub they have choices. Do not live your life contingent upon the next home owners choice in usage. Use the home for its intended purposes--to facilitate your health and harbor.

  • cgmatlga

    Ok, checking back in, months since my last comment. The shower alone is 5 X 8 with one side rain head, bench underneath and the other side with six body jets and separate shower head. I've had people want to buy the house just because of that shower and it's in the guest bathroom. There are no bathtubs in any of the three full bathrooms and nobody has noticed or cared. Actually, when I point it out they all seem thrilled not to have one anywhere. Again, if it's an issue, just give them a decorating allowance. I think they'd rather have that.

  • meg613

    Yep, the tub goes!!! Thanks to everyone. Ain't Houzz grand.

  • Frank Johnson

    All good comments and didn't read all but if you took your bathtub out and wanted to sell your house couldn't you just put one back in or just knock off a couple of thousand for what you were asking for the house? Just sayin.......

  • meg613

    Frank Johnson, sure I could put in a tub before resale or knock off some money on the asking price. It's not like the plumbing is going away; drain and water supply will remain in place, if someone wants to add a tub. And my experience is that people buy a house and redo everything to their own liking anyway. I have a new neighbor with the exact same floor plan as mine. He completely gutted the bathroom in question, moving the bathtub perpendicular to the original position. This allowed him to have a 66x32x16 inch tub. That is a great solution: a tub that is long enough, that the shallowness does not prohibit a good soak; and at 16 inches deep, is not as treacherous climbing over for showering. But I suspect moving major plumbing elements will make the remodel a lot more costly. Eventually I will sit down with the contractor and hammer out these details. It's not that I dislike bathtubs, it is just that some of my constraints are making me think outside the traditional (bathtub) box.

  • cgmatlga

    Chris here again. I'm still fending off people that want the house just for the bathroom with the 5x8 shower. It's gotten even more attention because of the environmental concerns with filling up a bathtub. I thought I should let you know that it's a good idea to point that out. Again, if it's that important, give them an allowance.

  • PRO
    J Design Group - Interior Designers Miami - Modern

    For resale value it’s almost best to have a tub.

    Young families always look for that for the children for their baths

    J Design Group
    225 Malaga Ave
    Coral Gables, FL 33134
    Ph: 305-444-4611

  • Alexandra Sasha Pasternak

    I am a shower person and think that bathtubs are good only for bathing children, therefor if you have a little house go for it BUT if you have a big house I wouldn't remove the bathtub.

    Sasha - www.NestingJourney.com

  • dsach
    I have 3 young children. Until each reached the age of 1, we washed them in a baby tub inside of the larger tub. This served 2 purposes; it contained the baby and supported them while there were seated. This type of plastic reservoir can be bought online or at any child store, is inexpensive and can be used in a shower stall or tub. It also saves on water - think filling a 5 gallon reservoir versus even 1/3 of your tub. Once the kids can stand 1-1.5 years, using a hand held wand makes the process so much more efficient. Because the wand can be installed in a shower, the tub is less efficient (consumes more water); more dangerous (all three children have slipped in the shower) and is ultimately more difficult for children to enter and exit. In my opinion if you want a shower, put one in and forget what the realtor says.
  • petlover

    Personally, I wouldn't buy a home unless it had 1 tub. Used them for my own young kids, now for my young grandkids plus it's so relaxing to just soak after a long day. (we've converted our tubs to showers except one we'll always keep).

  • Brandi Morgan

    I love this thread! I have an old ranch home with 1.5 baths. I’m working on a renovation of the main bath and currently has the alcove tub/shower. I was going to update it now I’m ripping it out and doing curbless with curved shower door to add a little more room and comfort. I cannot wait. I added a hotsprings hot tub in my backyard right outside of my bedroom so why on earth would I want a bathtub!? So glad I stumbled on this. A friend of mine remodeled her multimillion dollar home and never uses the tub. I think they are becoming prehistoric.

  • staabt

    Brandi Morgan has it right imo, Tubs can be construed from anything. It makes absolute sense to shower for cleanliness, even after a bath, swim or hot tub experience. Bath tubs can be portable too. I do think the idea of re-conceptualizing the homes ability to provide a cleaning tub is insightful. There are many reasons why tubs or basins are still practical (e.g.-medicimal baths for backs, sunburns, babies, dogs etc.) however, having the ability to create an environment conducive to an Engineers epitaph is paramount to our future renovations. Engineers should sustain that "Form follows function!", and if a shower is all one needs then a bath tub is like holding ones false teeth in the toilet to clean them fast by flushing, or blowing ones nose on ones own t-shirt because they are of the belief that clothes washing machines clean everything; thus the bathtub in my opinion is recycling dirt from one part of the body to the next. Moreover, Concessions are a way of life in buying and selling homes. Use it in a grand way and the next home owner will want to understand what you were able to make of the land and use.

  • Neeharika Vinod
    It all depends on:
    1. How much you hate a bath tub; I dislike it a lot. First order in a new place is to get rid of the tub
    2. How big is the condo/home. Small condos in large metros should be good candidates for shower-only baths
    I bought a 2 bed 2 bath condo in Chicago, got rid of the tub in master bath and replaced it with a big shower including body jets. Guest bath is too small to have a tub. Haven’t had a problem renting it, potential tenants actually love the master bath. I recently got a 1 bed condo in SF and considering doing the same. I have taken 2 baths in my entire life, both in spas.
  • HU-36321516

    Come on people. Live a little! I am in the process of doing a full renovation of a 1 bed and 1 bath condo and am replacing the original tub with a jacuzzi spa tub. It is a luxury to experience a whirlpool bath... you remember the saying "Calgon take me away!" My wife wanted to ditch the tub in favor of the now very popular glass enclosed shower stall but I wanted the option to relax in a jacuzzi and also be able to take a shower. Options are great folks. It's not about resale value but having a choice. Also I did not want to be a slave to cleaning grungy grout lines and glass shower doors. My acrylic tub cleans to shiny brand new with just a sponge and a few light swipes. No scrubbing required. It's very low maintenance. And for those people who say they can just use their outdoor spa or swimming pool, one word: chlorine... yuck. My spa experience uses fresh water every single time. Do yourself a favor and ditch the tub for a jacuzzi, not a shower!

  • Ruth Britt

    it depends on your community... if you‘re market is predominantly adult (e.g. young professionals &/or 55+) you can probably get away with the shower.... if a lot of your potential buyers are families, you’ll have more luck attracting multiple potential buyers with a tub.

  • marjie1059

    I have several children, and one of the most onerous tasks was to bathe young children while "great with child". I would have soooo loved to ditch the tub. Sure, the kids had fun playing in the tub, but I think to not have the tub would have been lovely.

  • sm m
    I used a shower for my kids when they were little and loved it! I also liked it for safety
  • that_tile_girl

    I know this post is old now, but as a realtor/designer I can say your house will sell just fine with or without a tub - this question comes up quite often. You can keep in mind that if a buyer really wants a tub it is usually not a deal breaker - but they will take that into consideration when they make an offer, usually reducing it by a couple thousand dollars that they will consider necessary for them to remodel that bathroom.

    What did you end up deciding on?

  • Neeharika Vinod
    Resale depends on market, not bathtub vs not. I have condos in Chicago and San Francisco, both markets where apartments having been sell fast. Both condo sizes are better suited for young professionals, at most with one baby. This demographic would rather prefer shower than tub. I’ve been renting the apartments out as well with no issues at all. People actually appreciate the large, beautiful marble showers in place.

    In short, all depends on the market your property is in.
  • cjdo123
    I noted in this space about 3 years ago that I almost didn’t buy a condo because it didn’t have a shower, only a giant tub. All I could think of was $$$ to remove it. Finally pulled it out after using small tub/shower combo for a few years (very unsatisfactory, I might add) and am about to enjoy a good big shower! Tubs are too dirty, too dangerous, too unhealthy (uti’s anyone?) and too hard to clean!
  • ljruble1074

    Personally I like to have both options--showers for quick cleaning and tubs for long soaking, especially in my older years when arthritis makes my joints really ache. Or after a long session of physical labor. I wouldn't have bought any of my houses if they hadn't had a tub in at least one bathroom. Just my own personal choice. But I think whirlpool tubs are a total waste of space. And a real pain to clean!! (I have one now and I hate it!!!) Hot tubs are also a waste, having had one at my first house. After the initial novelty wore off, I rarely ever used it. A waste of space and electricity!!!

  • LK Boken
    HU-36321516 have you a had a jacuzzi recently? They are a pain in the butt to keep clean. I don’t even use ours anymore; it’s disgusting. And it is newer. AND I clean it often!! And what flows through it after the junk comes out of the pipes.... fresh water it is not. I’d never get one again.
  • ljruble1074

    The junk in the pipes really turned me off too. What a horrible design flaw!! I'd never get one again either!!!

  • PRO
    Lou Vaughn Remodeling
    I suggest interviewing listing agents if concerned. They should have the data to help answer the question.
  • PRO
    Lou Vaughn Remodeling
    I suggest interviewing listing agents if concerned. They should have the data to help answer the question.

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