Fact or fiction: does having a bath impact the value of a property?

The bath versus shower debate is one that has long divided the nation, with the British population either leaning to the fast rinse right or long soak left.

In fact, a 2019 study by Victoria Plumbing found that the majority of people prefer showers (57%) over baths (32%) because they are quicker and leave them feeling cleaner.

If you’re preparing a property for sale or rent, however, you’ll need to put your personal washing preference to the back of your mind. Figuratively speaking, you shouldn’t throw the baby out with the bath [water] or you could risk devaluing your home and putting off prospective residents.

So, unless you are in your forever home, you should think twice – or about two things in particular – before ditching the bath in favour of a shower.  

  1.       The type of property

When deciding whether to keep a bath, you should consider the type of property and what kind of people might want to buy or rent it.

A family home will be marketed as suitable for families – even if there are only two bedrooms – and therefore most likely attract people with children. According to the research by Victoria Plumbing, 37% of parents find it easier to get their children to have a bath, so this could be a priority for them when property hunting.

With a bungalow, future buyers or renters may be looking at such a property because they suffer from limited mobility or are thinking ahead to their elderly years. While long-term, they might be thinking of converting a bathroom into a wet room, the immediate future might require a relaxing bath that they can sit in comfortably rather than a tiny corner shower they can barely stand up in.

A flat, on the other hand, is often best suited to singles or young couples who, even though they might favour a bath, will possibly be more open to not having one. This is particularly the case if it’s their first step onto the property ladder – or they are living by themselves – as they are probably more willing to make a compromise.

  1.       The size of the property

Space certainly comes at a premium these days, with many new builds being much smaller than properties built 50 years ago and bathrooms being the first to be downsized (or en-suites completely removed) in house-to-flat conversions.

If you are lucky enough to own a property with two or more bathrooms, then you could absolutely remove a bath in one. Those with an enviable amount of space could even look at having a free-standing bath as well as a contemporary shower unit in the same bathroom.

Properties with one main bathroom and a large downstairs cloakroom could think about whether the ground floor space could accommodate a stylish corner shower in addition to a WC and basin.

In properties where there is only one bathroom, replacing the bath with a shower is frowned upon for resale or rental purposes. An alternative is to have a shower over the bath and if you want more space in your bathroom, there is a wide range of sizes available.

Where there is such limited space in a bathroom that leaves no choice but to only have a shower, the impact will be negligible. The likelihood is that these properties will be smaller generally, which will be reflected in the overall price and will attract home movers with a specific budget and lower expectations. On the other hand, an expensive Japanese bathtub  would not look out of place in the smallest of properties in a premium location and could easily have a shower head installed above.  

The ultimate question is, will not having a bath devalue your property?

Like most features of a property, the presence or lack of a bath is very subjective. Not having one could be a deal breaker for one potential buyer or tenant, whereas another might not care at all.

The difference with a bathroom compared to colour schemes, for example, is that it’s more costly to rectify. This is why it can sometimes impact the property value.

A property without a bath will potentially limit the types of people it will appeal to, leaving the property on the market for longer and therefore leading to a drop in asking price. Having said that, it all comes down to demand and your urgency to sell or rent.

The best advice – keep a bath if you can, especially if you’re planning to move on in the short to medium term.