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The New York Times

Will Removing a Bathtub Affect the Value of My Apartment?

By: Ronda Kaysen
Published: 11/20/2016Source: The New York Times

Featuring agent Darren Kearns:

Q. My husband and I live in a 1,000-square-foot Junior 4 in the Riverdale section of the Bronx. We have one bathroom and are considering replacing the shower-and-tub combination with just a shower, because we almost never take baths. Without a tub, the bathroom would feel more open, but would removing it affect our resale value? And is this something we should worry about even if we do not plan to sell for many years?

A. For those of us who prefer a nice hot shower to a long soak in a pool of tepid water, a bathtub can seem like an outmoded fixture. If your tub is nothing more than a tripping hazard blocking your way to the shower, why keep it?

You are hardly the only one whose tub goes unused. “The majority of people never take a bath,” said Erin Carlyle, an editor and writer for Houzz, a home-remodeling website. The site’s 2016 bathroom trends study found that 56 percent of respondents never spent time soaking in a tub.

But before you dismiss your tub altogether, consider its virtues. Nothing helps an aching back like a good soak. Babies and toddlers are known to be bath-takers; even if you do not have children, a youngster might pay you a visit and need a bath. And if you ever own a dog, you might find another good use for that tub. Also, “what happens when you sprain an ankle and need an Epsom-salt soak?” Ms. Carlyle said.

You might not like the idea of keeping the tub, but if you lose it, you will probably be in the minority. An October survey of Houzz readers with only one bathroom found that 77 percent of responders had a shower-tub combination.

Although you are not planning to sell your apartment anytime soon, you will probably eventually sell it. And replacing the tub is not as easy as removing loud wallpaper when you’re getting the apartment ready for sale. But without it, many buyers might dismiss your apartment entirely. Darren J. Kearns, an associate broker for the Corcoran Group, estimates that 75 percent to 80 percent of buyers want an apartment with a shower-and-tub combination.

To retain an open feeling in the bathroom, consider getting a tub with a glass enclosure rather than a curtain. “That way it feels open,” Mr. Kearns said, but you won’t be closing off your options.

Copyright © 2016 The New York Times Company. Reprinted with Permission. Otto Steininger/The New York Times

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