An updated bathroom is often a must-have for potential homebuyers, so it's something you should certainly consider for your own properties as a real estate investor. Depending on your budget, your upgrade might feature a simple upgrade of fixtures, a redo of the shower, or perhaps an addition of a bathtub. All of these will add value to your home, but some would argue that the last one -- the tub -- is not an optional upgrade.
Should you upgrade a three-quarter bath (also known as a 3/4 bath) to a full bath? It depends on your target buyer. Let's dig in.
The tub vs. shower debate
A bathroom is defined by its utilities: sink, toilet, shower, and tub. Each of these is counted as one quarter, so a full bath has all four utilities while a three-quarter bath has everything but the tub. As far as getting clean goes, a three-quarter bath certainly does the trick. But is it enough to woo sellers or renters?
Here's the bottom line: If your property only has one bathroom and it has a shower, not a tub, you run the risk of losing homebuyers with young children. Little ones need a tub for their baths, so even the most beautifully tiled shower straight out of a five-star resort just won't cut it for that demographic.
Now, a three-quarter bath as the only bath is not a deal breaker for all properties. Perhaps you have a studio or one-bedroom condo that's best suited for a couple or a single homeowner. In this case, no tub is no problem. (Sorry, bubble bath lovers.) And of course, if you have multiple baths in the house, they do not all need to be full or even three-quarter. Ideally, at least one of them should be a full -- and preferably in a good location in the house.
For example, having the only full bath on the first floor of a two-story home probably doesn't make things too convenient -- unless there's also a three-quarter bath on the upper floor closer to the bedrooms. Is there an ensuite master bathroom? If you're investing in the luxury market, then a full bath (soaking tub, anyone?) could make a splash with homebuyers.
The cost and value of a bathroom addition or renovation
Like other big house projects, the cost to redo a bathroom will range greatly depending on the size of the bathroom, the extent of the work, and the level of finishes.
According to HomeAdvisor (NASDAQ: ANGI), the average price tag on a bath remodel is around $10,000. However, this price does not reflect extensive upgrades or large bathrooms. For bigger renovations, expect to pay $15,000 or more, with master baths exceeding the $50,000 mark.
Remodeling's 2019 Cost vs. Value report breaks it down a bit further in regard to the size and scope of the upgrade. For a midrange bath renovation, you'll pay around $20,420 with a 67.2% return. For an upscale renovation, you'll pay around $64,743 with a 60.2% return. Adding a bathroom is naturally pricier. For a midrange addition, you'll pay around $47,427 with a 60.6% return. For an upscale addition, you'll pay around $87,704 with a 58.1% return.
The attraction for homebuyers
A 2018 report by the National Association of Home Builders indicated that bathroom remodeling projects edged out kitchen remodels (81% and 78%, respectively). An upgrade to at least the main bathroom in a home would be a welcome sight for potential buyers.
For obvious reasons, a bathroom is one of the most important rooms in a house. A newly renovated one gives homebuyers peace of mind that they can move into a house with one less major project to take on.
The bottom line
A single three-quarter bath is fine for condos and apartments, but if you're looking to rent or sell a house with just one bathroom, it's better to make it a full bathroom. Not only will that help you compete with other houses on the market but you'll also be a hit with house hunters and their kiddos.