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violetsnapdragon

Would you pass on a one-bath house?

violetsnapdragon
2 months ago
last modified: 2 months ago

We have a house in a economically-challenged county of NY, near the Delaware river (two minute walk), but not riverfront. It's a big fly-fishing area. The property values are not great. This is our fishing house, not where we live. Question: The house has one bathroom on the first floor off the kitchen. So, the two larger bedrooms are on the second floor. Is this a deal-breaker at selling time (we are not looking to sell in the near future). We are thinking we should invest in a small bathroom upstairs, maybe we can only fit a 1/2 bath. I'm looking for opinions about whether it's a total dealbreaker for a buyer to have the current bathroom arrangement and if adding only a half-bath to the second floor is probably not worth the investment. Thoughts?


EDIT: I guess I should mention that there are two small bedrooms on the first floor (one twin bed in each) but the double and queen bedrooms are on the second floor.

Comments (32)

  • PRO
    HALLETT & Co.
    2 months ago

    I own three 2/1 houses in Maine. We talked about converting the largest one into a 2/2 and it just didn’t make sense for the market. The fact that we have closets sets ours apart from half the comparables! (19th century fishing village)

    violetsnapdragon thanked HALLETT & Co.
  • Einav B
    2 months ago

    Do you know any realtors in the area that can chime in on that?

    To HALLETT & Co.'s point: Do you have any features in the house that may positively differentiate it from other properties in the area (which may make the only-one-bathroom issue tolerable by potential buyers)?

    Looking at this in isolation - you have a 4 bedroom house (that can house 5+ people, theoretically?) spread across 2 floors, with only one bathroom at the lower floor. This would likely be a deal-breaker for me, as I'd want at least 1 bathroom on every floor, ideally a full bathroom:

    • Stumbling down the stairs to go the bathroom in the middle of the night sounds challenging...
    • Better bathroom availability/sharing for the (potential) number of people in the house.
    violetsnapdragon thanked Einav B
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  • Rho Dodendron
    2 months ago

    YOU bought the one bath house--why wouldn't anyone else ever buy it?

    *I* would not because I told my husband when we were looking for our first house that I would never live in a home without at least two bathrooms so I would never have to wait in line.

    violetsnapdragon thanked Rho Dodendron
  • btydrvn
    2 months ago

    The bigger and better bathrooms will always serve …and sell …better..quicker…and if you can afford it ..I would solve these problems from the beginning…for yourself …and any future buyers..unless this is a very unusual situation most values will go up with time,in any case

    violetsnapdragon thanked btydrvn
  • Susan W
    2 months ago

    I have and would buy a 1-bathroom house. Then, for 18 months it was a 1.5 bathroom house, and in about another 3 or 4 months it will be a 2.5 bathroom house. We didn't hesitate to make the purchase when it had 1 bath because the price was right. And now, at the end of the day I'll have a house with bathrooms that I love.


    Every situation is unique.


    In my opinion a 2-bath house will always appeal to more and will always get more money, but a 1-bath house will sell.

    violetsnapdragon thanked Susan W
  • marmiegard_z7b
    2 months ago

    I think one question is, is it structurally challenging to add an upstairs bathroom—half or full—or just expensive at going rates, or of course $$$$$ can overcome that. Because some buyers would also be thinking, “hmm, I can see that adding a bathroom is feasible …”.
    Then be thinking whether you’re planning to keep the house for many years, & would YOU really enjoy having the upstairs bath, & which version, so, do you want research costs on that , apart from resale.

    violetsnapdragon thanked marmiegard_z7b
  • ShadyWillowFarm
    2 months ago

    I’d totally add the half bath. 6 people with only one toilet is less than ideal and would add value.

    violetsnapdragon thanked ShadyWillowFarm
  • kevin9408
    2 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago

    stagnated property values in an economically challenged area,

    Have a realtor compile 2 lists of strong comps recently sold not far into the past of one bath fishing shacks and another with two bath shacks is the first step. Compare the two and see if the difference will justify the expense.

    If the house is in Delaware County the population has remained about the same for 150 years with only small percentage changes up and down. But the last 14 years it's had the largest population loss (8%) in those 150 years and even higher than the great depression. The per capita and median income is very low and made up of small and even smaller towns, and don't see the area with any up and coming potential. These are some of the things to consider because the market determines the value and not an extra bathroom.

    Looking at the population trend, income levels and the housing trend including sales data for the county I personally would say it's a bad Idea to add a bathroom just to sell it, and chances are you wouldn't recoup the cost. Adding an extra bathroom to live in the house would make sense without value considerations and mainly for the convenience of living, so let the next owner decide on a bathroom.

    violetsnapdragon thanked kevin9408
  • palimpsest
    2 months ago

    In my current house, there was 1-1/2 baths, both in bad condition, on the second floor of the house. Planning to redo them, we added a full bath in the otherwise unfinished basement, that was meant to act as the temporary full bath while the others were remodeled, which, with my contractor I knew would take a year plus. The main stack cracked then, which required removing 100% of the existing plumbing for both bathrooms, since they were cobbled anyway and we were redoing them. So, for a couple of years, as it turned out our only bathroom was two floors down in the basement. There was however a toilet by itself in the empty raw space of one of the future bathrooms except for a short period of time. It was very tedious to have to go down two flights of stairs at night to use a toilet. I got a feeling what it was like to live in a tenement where the toilet was in a locked closet down the hall.

    Cut to nine years later, probably 7 years after bathroom #1 was finished and 6 years after bathroom number 2 was finished. Of course the upstairs toilets get used all the time. But no one has ever taken a shower in the one bathroom, and the shower/tub in the other bathroom has only been used a few times. We got very used to using the basement bath and shower (which is where the laundry is, too.) It's actually very convenient even though it's two floors away. We actually run the showers upstairs periodically, kind of like running a car that you never use. We joke that when we sell the house it's going to be like one of those weird time capsules where no one used the kitchen or bathrooms (we do use the kitchen).

    That's a long story, but my point is, I would 100% put a toilet and handwashing sink upstairs somewhere if possible so people didn't need to trek downstairs, but taking a bath or a shower in a different floor is probably something that is easier to get used to, especially if it is more standard for the neighborhood.

    violetsnapdragon thanked palimpsest
  • morz8 - Washington Coast
    2 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago

    A two bed one bath weekend house would be totally doable, but what you are describing is 4 bedrooms and space that could possibly sleep 6. One bathroom only would be that deal breaker for me even for weekend getaways. The second bath wouldn't have to be a full bathroom but I'd insist on at least a powder room - a toilet and someplace to wash faces, brush teeth at least. I can wait in line for a quick shower. At this age I am not willing to compromise on someplace for other personal basics ..😊

    violetsnapdragon thanked morz8 - Washington Coast
  • Theresa Peterson
    2 months ago

    Thoughts:

    - Who uses this house? How often is it used? How long do you intend to own this house? All that'd affect my thoughts on bathrooms.

    - I'd much rather the house you describe have an upstairs bath, even if it's just a half-bath.

    - You say the value of homes in this area is low. So putting in even a half-bath is a risky move financially. How does your house stack up against other houses in the area? Would an improvement like this make your house "the best on the block"; thus, brought down by the surrounding houses?

    - You say you have two small bedrooms downstairs ... could you possibly combine these into one good-sized bedroom, which is near the existing bathroom? Then leave the upstairs rooms for the kids?

    violetsnapdragon thanked Theresa Peterson
  • Missy Bee
    2 months ago

    My husband’s family has a very plain two story three season cottage on a lakeside hill with each floor a single open room. It was built during WWII by hand by his granddad and his brother-in-law. There was just one toilet on the first floor and no shower or tub until the early 1990s when a tub was added.. Through most of those years it was simultaneously used by two sets of parents, sometimes grandparents, and three to four children who grew up and brought their children and weekends it was filled with at least three couple and several adult children and a couple of kids. It all seemed to work as a casual carefree vacation house…..and surprisingly one toilet was not on issue…although the septic system was another story.

    violetsnapdragon thanked Missy Bee
  • Missy Bee
    2 months ago

    I neglected to mention the second floor room contained six double beds in a dormitory like atmosphere….

    violetsnapdragon thanked Missy Bee
  • morz8 - Washington Coast
    2 months ago

    Yes, Missy, but that was then. DH was raised in a 4 bed (small, all of them) farm house, one full bath and one of 10 kids. He doesn't remember any fights over the bathroom. He does remember not always having clean laundry when he wanted it and would pay his sisters to wash, dry and iron for him 😊

    That house now has been completely redone to a three bed two bath home with a third bathroom - shower, toilet, sink - in the detached heated garage. Nephew is raising two small children there.

    violetsnapdragon thanked morz8 - Washington Coast
  • eld6161
    2 months ago

    Yes to adding the half bath.

    violetsnapdragon thanked eld6161
  • summersrhythm_z6a
    2 months ago

    Add a half bath on the 2nd floor if your budget allows.

    violetsnapdragon thanked summersrhythm_z6a
  • palimpsest
    2 months ago

    If this could be added immediately above the other plumbing it would be great.

    Since this is a half bath it could be extremely utilitarian. It doesn't need tile walls, it doesn't need any waterproofing, it could literally be a closet with a toilet and sink in it.

    Actually I have looked at a number of old houses that have something like that. We considered a house that had a toilet in a closet that cantilevered over the staircase on the third floor. For the people who lived in the house I am sure it beat walking down several flights of stairs.

    violetsnapdragon thanked palimpsest
  • violetsnapdragon
    Original Author
    2 months ago

    Thanks for taking the time to respond. I think the winner is "half-bath." The bathroom is definitely a combination of convenience for us (nothing like staggering down through the kitchen first thing in the morning where there is a tableful of fisherfriends breakfasting in order to use the only bathroom) and also an eye on the future re-coup on the project. It's not worth the extra expense to add the shower (especially since the space for the bathroom is already at a premium).

  • mxk3 z5b_MI
    2 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago

    Would I pass on a one-bath house? Not necessarily. If a one-story, one bathroom wouldn't be a deal-breaker, but if it were a multi-story, then lack of bath upstairs would be a no-go.

    My first home was a one-story with one bath, and it was a terrific starter home. We eventually did have a half-bath put in the basement and that was well worth the investment for the convenience factor, and the emergency factor if the main bathroom was otherwise occupied.

    I did own a tri-level that had a half-bath on the lower level and two full baths on the upper level where the sleeping quarters were. There was no toilet on the main level, but there was a kitchen. There was no kitchen (nor room for even a small set-up) on either the lower or upper levels. So if one of us were to become disabled we'd be screwed. I told DH multiple times I absolutely did not want to grow old in that house. DH thought my concerns were complete BS and I was just hankering for a change until he busted up his knee and had to navigate those stairs in a brace...

  • John 9a
    2 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago

    I'm a little "floored" that someone would build a two-story home with TWO bedrooms upstairs and not have a bath for the upstairs bedrooms. I'm currently remodeling a house with ONE upstairs bedroom and a downstairs bedroom (where the downstairs bath is) but the upstairs room is more a bonus room than full-time bedroom.

    I just sold a home with THREE bathrooms and one bath was upstairs. I told folks that the problem with more bathrooms is there will be more plumbing problems....three times as many problems and I really don't like the concept of upstairs plumbing since the mess will be huge if you have upstairs plumbing problems.

    I don't think this applies to a northern state but, for more temperate climates, an outdoor shower is cheaper to add and can take some of the load off of the in-house bath. That also doesn't resolve the middle-of-the-night trip down and back up the stairs.

  • Missy Bee
    2 months ago

    My twenty something daughter is house hunting. Not much out there in her price. One bathroom homes are only being considered if it would be reasonably easy to add second bath or half bath at some point I. The future.

  • btydrvn
    2 months ago

    A second bath never detracts ….and always comes in handy…as a retired couple we like having our own bathroom..if we had a second floor or basement …we would also have a bath on those levels…(not necessarily full baths)…as well..who wants to run up or down stairs to use the bathroom?…

  • elcieg
    last month
    last modified: last month

    My friend has a beautiful, small house right on the water. She is very talented when I comes to decorating. She needed at least a toilet upstairs, so an extra closet held the toilet (second floor so she had a solar tube installed for daylight) and put the sink right in the bedroom on the wall right next to the toilet closet. She had a pocket door installed, as well.




    Then her builder put closets on the headboard wall. The whole room is so great!

    violetsnapdragon thanked elcieg
  • PRO
    Joseph Corlett, LLC
    last month
    last modified: last month

    I grew up in a two-bedroom house with one first floor bath between the bedrooms. Four boys, one girl, and my parents. It worked out fine, although I do remember my indignance when I was no longer allowed to take a bath or sleep with my sister and had to bunk upstairs in the "dorm" with my older brothers. I was bewildered; my little sister and I had done everything together since we were born. Mom's timing was perfect.



  • Kendrah
    last month

    @Joseph Corlett - Wonderful picture!


    I'd get estimates for a half bath on the second floor. I think it would make the place much more attractive to buyers in the future. Even as a fishing cabin, if you have a lot of people staying at once, it is nice to be able to use the john upstairs while someone is in the shower downstairs. It is also nice if you don't have to go back down the stairs in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom. If the rooms upstairs were small twin rooms, I might feel differently but sounds like adults will be staying upstairs.



  • Missy Bee
    last month

    So many of us grew up happily in one bedroom houses with parents who had lived through WWII. Americans weren’t so spoiled then….i wonder how many today would be able to pull together and sacrifice so much for a great cause or will we be too concerned about next years trend, having a bathroom for every bedroom and a bedroom for every child plus guests, multiple ovens, and this year’s color scheme….

  • Missy Bee
    last month

    One bathroom….

  • violetsnapdragon
    Original Author
    last month

    John-LOL--should have mentioned it is a Civil War era home. The first floor bathroom was added in the 1960s or 70s and the outhouse is still standing in the yard!

  • PRO
    Joseph Corlett, LLC
    last month

    vsd:


    You need to find out if adding a bathroom cost effectively is even possible.

  • mxk3 z5b_MI
    last month

    Agree Missy Bee!

  • nancylouise5me
    last month

    Yes, I would pass on your house. A 4 bedroom house with only one bathroom...No thanks. You would need another full bath to accommodate all the people filling those bedrooms.

    violetsnapdragon thanked nancylouise5me