Real Estate 101: Bath Math

Dated: March 7 2022

Views: 177

Along with number of bedrooms, one of the most frequently filtered must-haves of online home searches is number of bathrooms. However, understanding how the number of bathrooms in a home is listed isn't as simple as two plus two. Thankfully, while your LW Reedy agents may not claim advanced statistics as one of their hobbies, they are masters of all the math needed when buying or selling a home, including figuring out how to decipher the unique way numbers of bathrooms are presented on listings. 

The Decimal ... Or Not

A listing for a home might, for example, state that it has 3.1 bathrooms. Fortunately for the homeowner, 3.1 bathrooms does not indicate three and one-tenth bathrooms ... Now that could be a difficult house to sell. 

Rather than acting as a decimal point, the period between the 3 and the 1 separates the number of full baths from the number of half baths, with full baths preceding the period. The home in the example that was listed as having 3.1 baths has 3 full baths and 1 half bath. A home with 4 full baths and 2 half baths would be presented as 4.2. A home with 1 full bath and 1 half bath would not appear on a listing as "bathrooms: 1.5," as that would indicate 1 full bath and 5 half baths. Instead, it would be listed as having 1.1 bathrooms. 

Defining Terms

Any good math teacher will tell you that before you start a math problem, you need to define your terms: in this instance, the difference between a full bath and a half bath.

While it might be more fun to imagine a full bath as a bathtub full of bubble bath and rubber duckies, the difference between a full bath and a half bath comes down to the number of components, which can include toilet, bathtub, shower, and sink. 

Any bathroom with 3 or 4 of these components qualifies as a full bath. In the past, a bathroom with only 3, for example, a standing shower but no tub, would have been called a three-quarter bath. However, current MLS standards state that "to qualify as a full bathroom ... the bathroom must comprise of at least three of the following components: a bath, a shower (showerhead or shower stall), a sink, [and] a toilet."

A half bath is officially defined as a bathroom with only 2 components, typically a toilet and sink. Also referred to as a guest bathroom or powder room, a half bath can usually be found on the main floor or in a basement or near another area, like a game room, that is not near bedrooms. Appreciated both for the convenience of guests and the privacy of homeowners, many potential home buyers consider a half bath a must-have. 

Extra Credit

While the number of bathrooms, both full and half, in a home can add value and attract interest, some bathroom features, like a master suite with a bathroom accessible only through the master bedroom, are considered especially appealing. Other trendy bathroom features include artistic elements like sculptural faucets, multi-head showers, door-less and curbless walk-in showers, stand-alone tubs, and thermostatic and steam showers.

Fortunately, you don't have to do the math for extra credit. Attractive and unique bathroom components will be shared in the listing's description along with outdoor living spaces and heated flooring. 

Whether you're looking for a home with 3.1 baths, selling one with 4.2, or simply ready to explore housing choices, your LW Reedy Realtor can help. Contact us today. 

Do you have ideas for our Real Estate 101 series? Email us at

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