What Is a Better Investment: A Tub or a Shower?

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On average, the money spent updating a bathroom results in about an 84 percent return. This is higher than money spent on almost any other room, with only the kitchen coming close to this amount. This is true whether you install a bathtub or a freestanding shower; however, the exact amount of return may vary depending on which one you choose.

One and Only

  • The effect of installing only a shower and leaving out the bathtub on your home's resale value depends in great part on whether or not there is another bathtub available in your home. If you remove the only tub in your home, you risk eliminating a group of buyers who might otherwise have shown interest in the house. The fewer buyers available, the greater the risk you will have to reduce your final selling price.

Who's Buying?

  • Buyers have individual tastes and requirements, but tend to fit some general patterns that can affect sales value. Older retired buyers generally prefer a walk-in freestanding shower so they don't have to worry about stepping over the edge of a tub or slipping and falling. Buyers with young children, on the other hand, usually require a bathtub for bathing young children. Families with older children may be looking for luxury and ease of maintenance. The most likely type of buyer for your home helps determine whether a bathtub or shower is the best investment.

In the Neighborhood

  • You don't need to turn your home into a replica of others in the neighborhood, but offering features similar to those nearby can help you compete in the sales market. For example, if yours is the only home without a bathtub -- or alternately, without a spa-like shower -- potential buyers may be dissuaded. Choosing the bathroom fixture that keeps your home competitive with others nearby protects the resale value.

Time, Time, Time

  • Resale value is one way of looking at the investment in a bathroom remodel, but personal preference and the enjoyment you will receive from the new bathtub or shower is another way of considering the investment. Unless you plan to sell your home right away or within about five years of the remodel, consider your personal preference and use of the room to determine whether a bathtub or shower is the best investment. In addition, remodeling trends come and go, and choosing a fixture based on a current trend rather than personal preference may not pay off if you do not plan on selling the house right away.

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