bathtub vs walk in closet
November 7, 2016 11:56 AM   Subscribe

We are planning a remodel our master bath and need some advice on likely buyers' preferences. Currently the master bedroom has two 6-foot-wide single depth closets. The bath has a soaker tub, separate shower, double sink vanity and toilet. We would make one of the closets a walk in by expanding it into the bath at the expense of not including a bathtub in the new design. What will buyers consider more important, a walk in closet or a bathtub?

Our house is a 4 bedroom, 2 story colonial near Gurnee IL We are working to position the house as fairly upscale. It has solid hardwood floors throughout and a newly remodeled kitchen.

The guest bathroom has a 1 piece tub/shower combo.
posted by grahahw to Home & Garden (24 answers total)
We recently sold our house (central Mass) after having redone both full baths.... basically, what you did, converting the master tub into a master shower-only, leaving the only tub in the house in the guest bath. As far as I know, not one person commented on the lack of a master tub, and we sold the house in 9 days. (We already had a walk-in master closet.)

I say go for it, especially if it's your preference to have the walk-in closet.
posted by neilbert at 12:01 PM on November 7, 2016

In my experience, people care more about the closet space. Big bathtubs sound good in theory, but a lot of people end up rarely if ever using them, while closet space is always appreciated.
posted by tocts at 12:02 PM on November 7, 2016 [4 favorites]

I will rarely use a tub that does not have a built-in shower. I'd go for using the space as a big closet in the bedroom, and/or a linen closet in the bathroom.
posted by aimedwander at 12:06 PM on November 7, 2016 [1 favorite]

Another vote for closet space over a master bath tub.

A house with no tub would turn off families with small kids (or who might have small kids in the future), but one tub is plenty.
posted by Kriesa at 12:06 PM on November 7, 2016 [1 favorite]

I think as long as you have a tub in the house, you're ok. People with small kids want A tub, not necessarily in the master.
posted by vunder at 12:06 PM on November 7, 2016 [5 favorites]

I'm someone who loves to soak and I still would choose the walk-in closet. Everyone needs closet space. Not everyone even uses bathtubs (mostly people with small kids, and they don't want big soaker tubs, particularly not in the master) and you do have another one in the house in case you get buyers who need one.
posted by fingersandtoes at 12:07 PM on November 7, 2016 [1 favorite]

As long as there is a tub somewhere, go with the closet.
posted by dpx.mfx at 12:07 PM on November 7, 2016

I am the reverse and would rather you bought a new house than take out soaker tubs, which are hard to find, as a sense of cosmic justice, but if it is just a numbers game then sure. But a crappy tub/shower combo is not the same as a soaker.
posted by dame at 12:10 PM on November 7, 2016 [5 favorites]

(And by crappy I mean shallow, which the standard combos inevitably are.)
posted by dame at 12:10 PM on November 7, 2016

Personally, I think a nice bath is really important. Especially for bathing more then one kid at a time. Or just having a relaxing soak with a glass of wine.

I would also make sure you will actually end up with significantly more hanging space for clothes. The walking/empty space in a walk in actually ends up being a lot of wasted space (in my opinion). You can end up with a similar amount of actually hanging space as traditional closets.
posted by daffodil at 12:20 PM on November 7, 2016 [12 favorites]

For me, personally, a master tub would be more important (especially with two master closets already). This was actually a deal breaker when I bought my current house a year ago (I didn't look at houses that didn't have soaker tubs in the master bath - buyers markets rock). I considered houses that had master tubs and single depth closets, but ended up with one that has a walk-in because of other factors.

My (amateur) hunch is that people are going to recognize that the master bath is missing a tub (and that the only tub in the house is kind of crappy*), and this feeling of something missing will be stronger than the feeling of not having a walk-in closet (since the bedroom does have two decently sized single-depth closets).

Logically, I know that that I use my closet everyday and my bath maybe 2 times a month, but knowing that I have that sanctuary to retreat to when I need it is part of the power of having it.

*on a re-read: you say the guestroom has a shower/tub combo -- what other bathrooms are present in the house? Is there a third bath that's shared with the other two bedrooms (kid's bathroom)? If that has a tub I might modify my hunch (but probably not... if I were a parent and had to share my sanctuary tub with my kids, it would not be a sanctuary).
posted by sparklemotion at 12:27 PM on November 7, 2016 [3 favorites]

I wouldn't buy a house without a nice tub for bathing. I also think 2 six foot wide closets are sufficient and if appropriately organized are much nicer than your standard walk in closet. I am probably not the target demographic in Gurnee though and I think you should ask a few realtors in the area their opinion.
posted by sulaine at 12:28 PM on November 7, 2016 [4 favorites]

After doing a few remodels, I vote for making the change you prefer. I just think resale depends largely on the market and the biggest factor for resale is location and price. If your only goal is to maximize resale, then what is cheaper to put in? Pick that option and make it as nice as possible. But if you're updating the bath for you, then do you want a walk in closet or a tub?
If you're moving right after the remodel, then call a few realtors and ask them specifically what sells best in your market. If you redo the shower, consider making it a no threshold shower.
But if you just want personal opinions, I think I'd personally buy the house with a great tub. You could hedge your bets by installing nice closet organization in the existing closets.
posted by areaperson at 12:34 PM on November 7, 2016 [2 favorites]

I bet you are 1 or 2 degrees separated from a few real estate agents that serve your area; find them and ask their professional opinion.

My vote is go for the closet; I can count on one hand the number of baths I've taken in the last 10 years.
posted by TomFoolery at 12:34 PM on November 7, 2016

I just did this -- huge shower, walk in closet, no tub. One guest bath has a shower the size of a builder's tub and the other has a combo tub/shower. Our designer concurred with all the advice above that one tub is sufficient. We are very happy with the decision.
posted by karbonokapi at 12:44 PM on November 7, 2016

I would not do this: I'd leave the tub. (Closet/cabinet space in bathrooms is for linen storage, things like extra towels and toiletries, rather than for clothing.)
posted by easily confused at 12:53 PM on November 7, 2016 [2 favorites]

As long as you already have one tub, if you really want to take the other tub out, go for it. It's ultimately your enjoyment, since you're stuck with it, and it only takes one buyer. (I don't get if you're trying to sell this immediately or just trying to keep that in mind while remodeling.)

However, I personally would not buy a house without at least ONE tub in it.
posted by fiercecupcake at 1:08 PM on November 7, 2016 [2 favorites]

I'd go with the walk-in closet but consider upgrading the tub in the guest bathroom a bit if it's the standard shallow tub/shower combo.
posted by rpfields at 1:39 PM on November 7, 2016 [2 favorites]

In a cold climate you need more closet space, period. So do people with executive type jobs. So my answer depends on whether you live someplace weather and culture wise that a potential buyer would need two or three complete wardrobes or not.
posted by fshgrl at 2:47 PM on November 7, 2016

What will buyers consider more important, a walk in closet or a bathtub?

For what it's worth, I'll offer option number 3 - a shower big enough for two grown-assed adults to shower in together, and if it's already plumbed with two shower heads, hallelujah, I don't care what the condition of the rest of the house is.

We're buying next year, and a big enough shower for the two of us or space to put one in is the number 1 thing on the list, and I like baths.
posted by joycehealy at 2:49 PM on November 7, 2016 [5 favorites]

We have one shared shallow 4' closet and a tiny shower in our "master suite." I can store my clothes in the guest bedroom closet. I'd kill for a good deep bathtub.
posted by instamatic at 3:19 PM on November 7, 2016 [2 favorites]

Here in drought-ridden California EVERYONE in a relatively new build has a soaker tub and NO ONE uses them. They use the smaller tub to wash the kids. So soaker tubs are an absolute waste, here at least.

We did the big shower that joycehealy mentioned and we love it. We take the kids in there sometimes rather than into the tub, so the extra space really is nice.

You didn't mean leaving the walk-in closet open to the shower/restroom, right? Because in any house.that I've been in where just the linens were stored in the same room as the shower, they were mildewy and the person who lived there was immune to the smell, but it was noticeable and gross. God forbid your whole closet should become mildewy and you were immune to the smell and walking around grossing out your coworkers and other people too polite to say anything.
posted by vignettist at 9:21 PM on November 7, 2016 [1 favorite]

I'm someone who loves to soak and I still would choose the walk-in closet.

Soaking in the walk-in closet will not end well. Just sayin.

I'm on Team Bathtub.
posted by flabdablet at 7:51 AM on November 8, 2016 [2 favorites]

I like a nice bathtub and probably wouldn't buy a house without one, but I would if the master bath had a steam shower? (my parents and my brother both recently renovated to add steam showers in their houses and I am jealllous.)

could you convert your master shower to a steam shower? If so, then I'd take the closet and the steam shower, but otherwise I'd take the bath.
posted by euphoria066 at 12:23 PM on November 8, 2016

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