Real Estate Agents Say These 9 Bathroom Features Are Hurting Your Home’s Value

Thinking of selling your house? The bathroom is a crucial space that can make or break a potential buyer’s decision. While a spa-worthy bathroom might seem like a selling point, some features can actually detract from your home’s value.

Understanding what buyers are looking for in a bathroom can help you avoid costly renovations down the line and ensure a smoother sale. Here are 9 bathroom features that real estate agents say might be hurting your home’s value:

1. The Outdated Everything: A Blast from the Décor Past

A bathroom stuck in a time warp with dated fixtures, finishes, and flooring can be a major turnoff for buyers. Imagine walking into a bathroom with tired wallpaper borders featuring seashells or dolphins, brass faucets that have seen better days, or that floral patterned shower curtain straight out of the 90s. 

Buyers today want a bathroom that feels modern and updated, even if it’s not the height of luxury.  A bathroom that screams “retro” can feel outdated and raise concerns about potential maintenance issues with aging fixtures and finishes.

Solutions: Refresh Without Breaking the Bank

Updating your bathroom doesn’t have to mean a complete gut renovation that rips out everything and starts from scratch.  A fresh coat of paint in a neutral color can do wonders for brightening up the space. 

Replacing outdated hardware with brushed nickel or chrome finishes adds a touch of sophistication.  Installing a new shower curtain and bath mat in a modern pattern or color scheme can instantly elevate the look and feel of the bathroom. 

Consider timeless materials like subway tile for the shower or backsplash, or neutral-colored countertops for a clean and modern aesthetic.

2. The Lack of Storage: A Battle Against Bathroom Clutter

Bathroom clutter is a universal foe. If your bathroom lacks sufficient storage space, potential buyers will likely envision their own overflowing bottles of shampoo, tubes of toothpaste, and other toiletries crammed onto every available surface.

Ample storage is essential for keeping the bathroom organized, visually appealing, and functional.  A cluttered bathroom can feel cramped and uninviting, making it a negative factor in a buyer’s decision.

Solutions: Maximize Every Inch for Organization

Consider installing additional shelving or cabinets above the toilet, around the sink, or even built-in options to utilize unused wall space.  Installing a medicine cabinet with a mirrored door offers additional storage while saving space on the vanity. 

Utilize wall-mounted towel racks or hooks to free up floor space and prevent towels from being piled on the back of the toilet or shower door.  Under-sink storage solutions like organizers or pull-out drawers can help keep cleaning supplies and other essentials out of sight but easily accessible.

3. The Bathtub Dilemma: Rethinking Bathing Preferences

While some buyers might still value a bathtub, especially if you have a multi-level home with young children or those who prefer baths, their absence isn’t necessarily a deal-breaker in today’s market.

However, an outdated garden tub or jetted tub taking up valuable real estate in a smaller bathroom can be a negative.  These bulky tubs can feel dated and impractical, especially for younger generations of buyers who might prioritize a spacious walk-in shower instead.

Solutions:  Adapt to Modern Bathing Preferences

If your oversized garden tub is rarely used and taking up precious space, consider removing it and replacing it with a larger walk-in shower. This will create a more modern feel and cater to buyers who prioritize showering over bathing. 

Walk-in showers are also easier to access for individuals with mobility limitations, making your bathroom more universally appealing.  If keeping a bathtub is important, ensure it’s a standard size in good condition. Opt for neutral-colored tile surrounds and a simple shower curtain to avoid a dated look.

4. The DIY Disaster: When Good Intentions Go Wrong

While DIY projects can be a great way to save money and personalize your living space, poorly executed bathroom renovations can be a major red flag for potential buyers.

Uneven tile work with crooked grout lines, leaky faucets that spray every time they’re turned on, or mismatched fixtures that look like they came from a discount bin scream “potential problems” and might lead buyers to question the overall quality and maintenance of the house. 

A poorly done DIY bathroom renovation can raise concerns about hidden water damage, faulty plumbing, or electrical issues, potentially leading to costly repairs for the buyer down the line.

Solutions: Professional Help for Lasting Results

If you’re handy and confident in your skills, tackle smaller DIY projects like painting the bathroom walls or replacing cabinet hardware.  For larger renovations involving plumbing or electrical work, leave it to the professionals. 

A licensed plumber or electrician can ensure the job is done correctly, up to code, and avoids future headaches for both you and the buyer.  Getting professional help might cost more upfront, but it ensures quality work and peace of mind.

When potential buyers see a professionally renovated bathroom with proper permits and inspections, it instills confidence and avoids the worry of hidden issues.

5. The Inadequate Lighting: Shedding Light on a Dingy Space

A dark and dingy bathroom can feel cramped, uninviting, and even a little scary. Harsh overhead lighting might be functional for basic tasks, but it doesn’t create a spa-like atmosphere that many buyers desire. 

Poor lighting can also make it difficult to apply makeup or shave properly, creating frustration for potential buyers who envision themselves using the space daily.

Solutions: Brighten Up the Bathroom for Added Appeal

Incorporate additional lighting sources beyond the standard overhead light.  Sconces on either side of the mirror can provide task lighting for grooming and makeup application. Recessed lighting in the ceiling offers a more diffused and modern look. 

Consider installing dimmers on the light switches to allow for adjustable lighting depending on the mood or activity.  Natural light is always a plus, so ensure your bathroom window allows ample sunlight, if possible. 

If your bathroom lacks a window, consider installing a venting skylight to bring in natural light and help with ventilation.

6. The Poor Ventilation: Combating Moisture and Odors

Nobody wants a bathroom that feels stuffy or damp. Inadequate ventilation can lead to a number of problems, including mold growth, unpleasant odors, and potential structural issues caused by moisture buildup.  Mold not only looks unsightly but can also pose health risks, making it a major concern for potential buyers.

Solutions: Ensure Proper Airflow to Prevent Moisture Problems

Make sure your bathroom has a functioning exhaust fan that vents outside the house, not just into the attic.  An exhaust fan helps remove moisture-laden air after showering or bathing, preventing mold growth and mildew buildup. 

If your bathroom lacks a window, consider installing a venting skylight to allow for moisture to escape and prevent problems with dampness.  Regular cleaning with mold-killing products and maintaining good ventilation habits are essential for keeping your bathroom fresh and healthy.

7. The Jetted Tub Extravagance: A Luxury of the Past

While jetted tubs were once a luxury feature, their popularity has waned in recent years. They can be difficult to clean and maintain, requiring special cleaning products and regular upkeep to prevent jets from clogging. 

Jetted tubs can also be expensive to repair if they malfunction, and their bulky size often takes up valuable space in a smaller bathroom.  Many younger buyers might prioritize a larger shower stall or a luxurious soaking tub over a jetted tub.

Solutions: Update the Bathing Experience for Modern Preferences

If your jetted tub is rarely used and causing problems, consider removing it and replacing it with a larger walk-in shower. This will free up space and cater to a wider range of buyers.  If you decide to keep the jetted tub, ensure it’s in good working condition and looks well-maintained. 

For a more timeless look, opt for neutral-colored tile surrounds and a simple shower curtain instead of dated whirlpool jets.

8. The Carpet Catastrophe: An Unsanitary and Unattractive Choice

Carpet in the bathroom is a breeding ground for moisture, mold, and unpleasant odors.  It’s not only unhygienic but also visually unappealing.  Carpeting can trap moisture, leading to mold growth and potential mildew problems, especially around the toilet and bathtub. 

The damp environment can also contribute to the growth of bacteria, making carpet a poor choice for a bathroom floor.  From an aesthetic standpoint, bathroom carpet can look dingy and worn down easily, creating a negative first impression on potential buyers.

Solutions: Opt for Water-Resistant and Easy-to-Clean Flooring

Replace bathroom carpet with a water-resistant and easy-to-clean material like tile, vinyl flooring, or laminate.  These options are more durable, easier to maintain, and create a cleaner and more modern look. 

Tile comes in a wide variety of styles and colors, allowing you to customize the look of your bathroom to your taste.  Vinyl and laminate flooring offer water-resistant properties at a more affordable price point.  Choose slip-resistant options to ensure safety when the floor is wet.

9. The Mismatched Menagerie: A Clash of Colors and Styles

A bathroom with an eclectic mix of fixtures, finishes, and colors from different eras can look disjointed and visually unappealing. 

Imagine a bathroom with a pedestal sink from the 90s paired with a rustic-looking medicine cabinet and a dated brass faucet.  This lack of cohesion can make the bathroom feel cheap and outdated, even if the individual components are functional.

Solutions: Create a Cohesive and Modern Look

When updating your bathroom, aim for a cohesive look that feels unified and intentional.  Choose fixtures and finishes that complement each other in terms of style and color.  For a timeless appeal, opt for neutral colors like white, beige, or gray for walls, countertops, and flooring. 

Brushed nickel or chrome finishes for faucets, showerheads, and hardware add a touch of sophistication.  If you want to incorporate pops of color, do so sparingly with towels, bath mats, or artwork. 

Keep the overall palette neutral and avoid busy patterns or overly trendy styles that might quickly go out of fashion.

Bonus Tip: Enhance the Experience with Small Touches

While major renovations can significantly improve your bathroom’s value, don’t underestimate the power of small touches.  Fresh towels in a neutral color and a stylish shower curtain can add a spa-like feel. 

A scented candle or essential oil diffuser can create a pleasant aroma.  Greenery, like a small potted plant on the windowsill, can add a touch of life and vibrancy.  By paying attention to these details, you can create a bathroom that feels inviting, comfortable, and appealing to potential buyers.


By addressing these common bathroom features that might be deterring buyers, you can ensure your bathroom is an asset, not a liability, when it comes to selling your home.

Remember, a well-maintained and updated bathroom with a modern aesthetic and functional features will leave a positive lasting impression on potential buyers and help you achieve a smooth and successful sale.

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