Does a walk-in tub add value to your home?

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If you’re considering a walk-in bathtub, it’s essential to understand its immediate benefits and how it affects the future resale value of your home. Even the most basic model will run you around $3,000, and additional features or installation costs can send the price tag up to more than $10,000.

So, will you recoup this money down the road when you sell your home? Unfortunately, there isn’t a straightforward answer. We’ll review the most common considerations when you’re looking at the pros and cons of installing a walk-in tub and how it affects the value of your home.

What to consider when selling a home with a walk-in tub

Maybe you’ve already installed a walk-in tub and are looking to put your home on the market, or maybe you’re debating whether installing one is the right choice. Wherever you stand, there are a few key questions to ask yourself.

Who’s likely to buy your home?

You know your neighborhood best. Are there lots of older residents and retirees, or is it mostly young families? A walk-in tub is more likely to appeal to older buyers and less likely to appeal to younger buyers, especially those with children — a walk-in tub's depth can make it difficult to bathe young children.

Does your home have other bathtubs?

If your home only has one bathroom and a walk-in tub, this could be seen as a negative to homebuyers. However, if you do have a second bathroom with a standard tub, the walk-in tub may actually turn into a selling feature.

Do you have a separate shower or shower attachment?

Many people prefer taking showers for their day-to-day bathing. Installing a shower attachment or having a separate shower in another bathroom could be convenient for buyers who don't want to consistently use a walk-in bathtub.

Will the installation be part of a larger bathroom renovation?

Bathrooms often need to be renovated to accommodate a walk-in tub, and you should consider updating other features while this is happening. Newer fixtures, flooring or tiling all help rejuvenate your bathroom and make it more appealing to buyers.

Did you opt for additional features on your tub?

Even the most basic models of walk-in tubs offer therapeutic benefits, but if you’ve opted for add-ons like whirlpool jets, massage features or chromotherapy, these all might entice a buyer to put in an offer.

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Walk-in tub alternatives

Walk-in tubs cost several thousand dollars or more, so consider how long you plan on staying in your home before committing to buying one. If you think you’ll move in the next couple of years, it’s probably a good idea to hold off since there's no guarantee you’ll recover your costs in the sale price.

If this is your situation and you still need bath safety modifications, consider these alternatives.

If you're planning on moving soon, it may be more cost-effective to install shower grab bars and other safety measures.
  • Walk-in showers: Stepping into and out of a walk-in shower is considerably safer than stepping in and out of a bathtub, especially for those with mobility issues. However, think twice before you remove your home’s only bathtub — this may lower its resale value since most homebuyers want at least one bathtub.
  • Grab bars: Grab bars are an easy and cost-effective way to increase the safety of your current bathtub. They’re simple to install, and most homebuyers won’t consider them a sticking point when deciding whether to put in an offer.
  • Bathtub/shower chairs: A shower chair can make bathing safer and more accessible for seniors and people with disabilities. Plus, they’re removable, so there’s no risk to your resale value.
  • Bathtub transfer benches: A transfer bench helps ensure you can safely enter and exit your bathtub. Transfer benches straddle the side of the tub and create a bridge that lets you move in and out of the tub without the risk of falling.
  • Other alternatives: As we get older, it’s important to modify our homes with products to better help us age in place. Even simple fixes like installing a hand-held showerhead or anti-slip mats inside and outside of the bathtub can help.

Bottom line

If you’re planning to list your home, you’ve likely been preparing for all the home improvements you’ll need to accomplish, from painting and landscaping to updating rooms and appliances. And, while having a walk-in tub isn’t going to be a selling feature for every homebuyer, with a little foresight and planning, it doesn’t have to be a deal-breaker either.

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