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What Is a Half Bath and Do They Add Value to a Home?

After waiting on your spouse or roommate to get out of the bathroom for 25 minutes, you probably think the more bathrooms the better. But is adding a half bath worth it? Will it bring more value to your home in the long run?

After waiting on your spouse or roommate to get out of the bathroom for 25 minutes, you probably think the more bathrooms the better. But is adding a half bath worth it? Will it bring more value to your home in the long run?

It’s not so surprising that bathrooms can be a point of contention within a household, especially with a full house. Timing out when you can use the bathroom before someone starts pounding on the door, not-so-gently letting you know your time is up, can feel like an elusive balancing act.

And as much as you may not like to think about it, we all spend a fair amount of time in the bathroom — and frankly, not just for the necessities.

How many times have you escaped to the bathroom during an awkward dinner party at your boss’s house, managed some quiet respite away from the kids, or simply lost track of time playing a game on your phone?

At this point, you may think the more bathrooms the better. Sure you’ll avoid those daily family arguments, but is adding an additional bathroom, such as a half bath, going to add any financial value to your home when you sell? Is it worth the cost?

What is a half bath?

When perusing listings you’ll notice a number of bathroom amalgamations ranging from full baths and three-quarter baths, to quarter baths and half baths and every combo in between.

And because some homeowners may play fast and loose with the definition of what these types of bathrooms truly mean, hoping to add value to their home, you may be left wondering what a half bath actually entails.

To clear any confusion, a half bath simply contains a toilet and sink. Depending on the square footage available, some half baths may also add in a vanity mirror or have cabinet space available under the sink. In comparison, a full bath will have a toilet, sink, shower, and bath.

Typically, your half bath won’t be your main bathroom. Rather, the half bath usually lives on the main floor to accommodate any guests complete with the fancy soap and nice towels. But, if you need to go and someone else is occupying the upstairs bathroom you can use the half bath in a pinch. (Though, you may get yelled at if you mess up the fancy towels.)

Does a half bath add any value?

The honest answer is, it depends. There are a number of factors that can impact the value of adding a half bath to your home including what your home already contains, the housing market in your area, and how much you’ll have to shell out to add the new bathroom.

Number of Bedrooms Is Key

Bedrooms and bathrooms are two major components for potential buyers especially when it comes to the bedroom/bath ratio. According to a study by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), buyers aren’t particularly keen on homes with more bedrooms than baths.

Buyers like homes that either have the same number of bedrooms and baths or more baths than bedrooms. In the study, the NAHB found that if you have a home with an equal number of bedrooms and baths, adding a half bath will increase your home’s value by 10%.

If your two-bedroom home contains one bathroom, adding a half bath can increase your home’s value by 11.5%. With a three-bedroom home, the half bath will increase the value by 12% and with a four-bedroom home the addition will add 12.5% more value.

You’ll also want to factor in the other homes in your neighborhood. If they all have more bathrooms than you it may be a smart choice to add a half bath. However, if your home is comparable or already has more baths and amenities, adding another half bath may not return as much value.

Do you have the space?

Adding a half bath that’s shoved into a corner where the door hits the toilet when you open it and you have to hold in your stomach to squeeze in, may not add that much value to your home. In fact, it can make your home’s layout less desirable actually taking away value.

Half baths need to meet certain codes and have access to plumbing, electricity, ventilation and preferably sound insulation for privacy. If you don’t have a spot in your home already conducive to these conditions, you may be spending far more on the remodel than you’ll reap in return.

How much of your costs will you recoup?

When considering if your half bath will add any value, you’ll want to look at how much you’re spending versus how much added value you’ll see on your home. Don’t get your hopes up too high. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), you’ll see a 52% of added value with a new bathroom.

Keep in mind the NAR also reported that adding or renovating a bathroom ranks high for appealing to buyers, and a new bathroom also ranks above remodels to the master bedroom, new floors, and a finished basement.

To keep costs down and add more value to your home, first try to convert an already existing space in your home, such as a nook under the stairs or an oversized closet. Renovating an existing room will be much cheaper than creating a brand new addition to your home.

Work with an Experienced Real Estate Agent

To help you decide whether you should add that half bath, first partner with a Clever Partner Agent who will use their expertise and experience to advise you on the best option and what remodels will ultimately sell your home for more.

And to help you cover your renovations Partner Agents work for a flat fee rate of $3,000 or 1% if your home sells for more than $350,000 saving you thousands on commission. Connect with a Partner Agent who will help you through the entire selling process and sell your home for the best price possible.



Jamie Ayers

Jamie is the Director of Content at Clever Real Estate, the free online service that connects you with top real estate agents and helps you save thousands on commission. In the past, Jamie has managed columns for clients in a variety of leading business publications, including Forbes, Inc., CEO World, Entrepreneur, and more. At Clever, Jamie's primary goal is to provide home sellers, buyers, and investors with the information they need to successfully navigate the ins and outs of the real estate industry.

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