# What is a .25 bathroom?

[photopress:9t.jpg,thumb,alignright]Nine times out of ten when someone asks me this question, the house does not actually have a .25 bath. The mls here in the Seattle area requires us to count bathrooms in a specific, and somewhat outdated manner, causing many homes to appear to have a .25 bath that do not.

[photopress:5t.jpg,thumb,alignright]I will shortly be listing a two bedroom condo in Kirkland at the north end of Lake Washington for about \$200,000 that has 1.25 baths. While many homes show 2.25 baths or 3.25 baths, these homes do not actually have a .25 bath at all. A .25 “bath” is one extra fixture, usually not housed in a separate room at all. The 1.25 bath condo I will be listing has a sink and vanity area located in the master bedroom between the full bath (with jacuzzi) and the walk in closet. You enter this dressing area from inside the master bedroom. This is the best example of a real .25 bath. It is an area inside the master bedroom, just outside the full bathroom, where one can shave or put on their make up while the other is in the bathroom taking a shower.

Most homes that show 2.25 baths actually have 3 “bathrooms” involved that total this configuration. The most common setup is one “full bath” plus one “3/4 bath” plus one “1/2” bath, that totals 1 + .75 + .50 = 2.25 total baths. The 3/4 bath is most often attached to the master bedroom and has a shower stall and no tub, making it a toilet + sink + shower stall = 3/4 bath (3 fixtures – no tub). The full bath is usually located off the main hall and is used by the persons in the “other” bedrooms and has a tub (with shower in it) + toilet + sink equalling one “full” bath. A 1 3/4 bath home would normally be a rambler style on a single level, with the full hall bath doubling as the “guest bath”.

A 2.25 bath home would normally be a two story home with a 3/4 in the master, a full bath in the hall and a half bath on the main level, with a toilet and a sink only, so that one does not have to go up to the second floor to go to the bathroom. On the East Coast this is called a “powder room” from the old days when women pretended to be “powdering their nose” as opposed to relieving themselves 🙂 A 3.25 bath home would be similar, but might have four bedrooms rather than 3 with both a hall bath and a “Jack and Jill bath”. A “Jack and Jill bath” is a term used to describe a bathroom set between two bedrooms that can be accessed from either bedroom, but not from the hallway. I had one once, though in my case it would have been more aptly called a “Jill and Jill bath”, but I do not recommend it. The occupant of the bathroom enters from their bedroom and locks the door to the other bedroom from inside the bathroom while bathing. They are supposed to remember to unlock that door when they leave, but often don’t, causing the occupant of the other bedroom to be locked out from their side of the bathroom.

Another example of a .25 bath seen in some very old homes with basements, is a “below grade” toilet only, usually in the basement and sometimes called a “service toilet”. It is a stand alone toilet or a toilet in the washer and dryer area near the “utility sink”. It is often just sitting out in the open in an unfinished basement area used by a guy who is working on his car or in his workshop area in the basement, saving him a trip up the steps to the main bath.

I say this system is “antiquated” because housing trends have expanded, but the mls method of counting fixtures has not expanded with the times. For example, my master bathroom has a separate enclosure for the toilet area, a jacuzzi tub, two separate and distinct sink areas, and a large two headed shower stall. Technically that equals six “pieces” 2 sinks plus 2 showers plus jacuzzi tub plus toilet equals 6. But the mls makes no distinction between that type of elaborate master bath and a “full” bath. That is why you will often see the term “five piece bath” in the marketing remarks of a home, meaning there is a single head shower stall and a separate tub and double sinks. The “uitility sink” located in the washer and dryer area is never counted as a “fixture” when totalling up the bathroom fixture count.

So when you see a home listed as having 2.25 baths or 3.25 baths, stop looking for the .25 bath. It generally does not exist inside that home. Instead, expect to have a 3/4 bath with no tub in the master and a .50 bath on the main level with a toilet and sink only.

This entry was posted in General and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , by ARDELL. Bookmark the permalink.

ARDELL is a Managing Broker with Better Properties METRO King County. ARDELL was named one of the Most Influential Real Estate Bloggers in the U.S. by Inman News and has 33+ years experience in Real Estate up and down both Coasts, representing both buyers and sellers of homes in Seattle and on The Eastside. email: ardelld@gmail.com cell: 206-910-1000

## 19 thoughts on “What is a .25 bathroom?”

1. I ran an MLS in Minnesota for a decade or so; when we did a data re-design in ’00, we broke up the bathroom field.

First, we said something counts as a bath only if a toilet is present. This is the sine qua non of a bathroom. (Other rooms, like bars, workout rooms, etc., could have sinks and showers.) We then required brokers to indicate how many each of full, 3/4, 1/2, and 1/4 baths there were. We then totaled the number of rooms with bathroom characteristics. So, a home with a master bath with tub and shower, two guest room baths each with shower only, and a powder room (toilet and vanity only) off the entry, would appear in the system has having 1 full, 2 three quarter, and 1 half bath, and 4 “total baths.” This prevents the problem of two “three quarter baths” adding up to “1.5 baths.”

Then we provided a large multiple choice field that allowed brokers to specify things like, “upper level bath,” “private master,” “walk-through master,” “basement 1/2,” “separate shower and tub.” Theoretically, that list could contain many helpful characteristics that would then be searchable in MLS. Practically speaking, agents rarely searched on more than a couple of them.

The MLS still uses this approach in slightly modified form, though I have long since left. You can see the input form they use here: http://www.northstarmls.com/forms/SFBW3.pdf.

2. I ran an MLS in Minnesota for a decade or so; when we did a data re-design in ’00, we broke up the bathroom field.

First, we said something counts as a bath only if a toilet is present. This is the sine qua non of a bathroom. (Other rooms, like bars, workout rooms, etc., could have sinks and showers.) We then required brokers to indicate how many each of full, 3/4, 1/2, and 1/4 baths there were. We then totaled the number of rooms with bathroom characteristics. So, a home with a master bath with tub and shower, two guest room baths each with shower only, and a powder room (toilet and vanity only) off the entry, would appear in the system has having 1 full, 2 three quarter, and 1 half bath, and 4 “total baths.” This prevents the problem of two “three quarter baths” adding up to “1.5 baths.”

Then we provided a large multiple choice field that allowed brokers to specify things like, “upper level bath,” “private master,” “walk-through master,” “basement 1/2,” “separate shower and tub.” Theoretically, that list could contain many helpful characteristics that would then be searchable in MLS. Practically speaking, agents rarely searched on more than a couple of them.

The MLS still uses this approach in slightly modified form, though I have long since left. You can see the input form they use here: http://www.northstarmls.com/forms/SFBW3.pdf.

3. Brian,

Thank you for your comments. As agents inside the mls system, we can see a better breakdown, by floor level, of the bathrooms. It is the public feed sources that generally only show the total as 2.25 or 3.25 without a breakdown.

So when consumers ask me the question “What is a .25 bath?”, they are referring to the Public Site data, which does not give the full mls description that we as agents can access.

4. Brian, That counting system seems so much more accurate. I wish our area would do that.

Ardell, Excellent explanation of “bathrooms.”

As with NWMLS, I’d assume many other MLS “insiders” can see more detail if they have direct system access. So as you alluded, the issue is not wholely the MLS, but also the numerous presentation systems.

These systems include the “built-in” local MLS data sites and also the IDX website providers. With many of the services I’ve worked with, they only offer one field for bathrooms. So we’d have to get them to upgrade their software as well.

If all of us wheels could squeak in loud unison, the industry might change quicker. But until then, a big thanks goes to educators like you. 🙂

5. We just have only full and half baths in Central Ohio… in the CBR MLS anyway. A 3/4 bath is a full bath to us. There is no distinction…I sometimes wish there was a distinction in our MLS between 3/4 and full baths. Usually the real full bath is described in the comments. Recently a REALTOR® in my office announced a 3 1/2 bedroom home at our sales meeting. Some heard it as 3 1/2 baths… it would have been priced great if it was 3 1/2 baths…but the listing agent cleared that up…. which then begged the question what is a 1/2 bedroom? The house is a 3 1/2 bedroom with 2.25 baths but I believe it is listed in MLS as a 3 bedroom 2 bath home. The 1/2 bedroom is I believe listed as a den.

6. Maureen,

Thanks for bringing up the bedrooms. As agents, we can see where the bedrooms position in the home as in one on the upper level, one on the main level and two in the lower level. This would be a very important feature for people with small children who want the bedrooms all up with the master suite. It would save buyers a lot of time, if they could see where the bedrooms are located when using the public sites.

7. Seeing where are the bedrooms are and the exact location and nature of the bathrooms (two up, 1/2 on the main, 3/4 in the basement) would be really helpful for homeowners. When I’ve bought homes my agent has showed me those reports, and they’re really helpful in making quick judgments, but I can’t see them when I surf the Internet listings on my own. Why is that?

Take my home for example: It has what I would call two bathrooms upstairs, a half bath on the main floor, and bathroom downstairs. But because two of the bathrooms are 3/4 baths, the “total bathrooms” is only 3. If I were to write some text to describe my house I’d say it has 4 bedrooms and 3.5 baths. This would certainly confuse buyers.

My definition of a “bathroom” is one where you can shower (at least). I’m fine with the 3/4 bath distinction for the details, but as far as counting baths it should just be 1/2 bath and full bath. Perhaps if there was also a 1 1/4 bath (for bathtub and separate shower) it would be more fair 🙂

8. Seeing where are the bedrooms are and the exact location and nature of the bathrooms (two up, 1/2 on the main, 3/4 in the basement) would be really helpful for homeowners. When I’ve bought homes my agent has showed me those reports, and they’re really helpful in making quick judgments, but I can’t see them when I surf the Internet listings on my own. Why is that?

Take my home for example: It has what I would call two bathrooms upstairs, a half bath on the main floor, and bathroom downstairs. But because two of the bathrooms are 3/4 baths, the “total bathrooms” is only 3. If I were to write some text to describe my house I’d say it has 4 bedrooms and 3.5 baths. This would certainly confuse buyers.

My definition of a “bathroom” is one where you can shower (at least). I’m fine with the 3/4 bath distinction for the details, but as far as counting baths it should just be 1/2 bath and full bath. Perhaps if there was also a 1 1/4 bath (for bathtub and separate shower) it would be more fair 🙂

9. I would guess that your master bedroom is upstairs with a 3/4 bath, you have a hall bath upstairs with a tub that serves two other bedrooms that are upstairs and your 4th bedroom with a 3/4 bath is downstairs below the main living area.

Why public sites are not more descriptive goes back to whether the internet is an information source for homes or an advertising source. As an “ad”, the info should be enough to get you to come and see it. As an information source it should give you enough to eliminate it.

Agents and owners do not want the public to have enough information to decide to NOT come and see it. If we are moving to an age where people can actually select property better online, we also give consumers enough information to reduce the number of showings. While that would be a great timesaver for prospective buyers and put them in a better position to select property without an agent, it would not necessarily be a step forward for home sellers.

10. I would guess that your master bedroom is upstairs with a 3/4 bath, you have a hall bath upstairs with a tub that serves two other bedrooms that are upstairs and your 4th bedroom with a 3/4 bath is downstairs below the main living area.

Why public sites are not more descriptive goes back to whether the internet is an information source for homes or an advertising source. As an “ad”, the info should be enough to get you to come and see it. As an information source it should give you enough to eliminate it.

Agents and owners do not want the public to have enough information to decide to NOT come and see it. If we are moving to an age where people can actually select property better online, we also give consumers enough information to reduce the number of showings. While that would be a great timesaver for prospective buyers and put them in a better position to select property without an agent, it would not necessarily be a step forward for home sellers.

11. I have a bathroom downstairs with tub and shower and enclosed with glass mirror and a curtain, plus a toilet and a sink and a mirror and a medicine cabinet. Do you consider this a full bath?

12. Faith,

Yes, if it has a tub, it’s a full bath. If it has only a shower stall, it’s a 3/4 bath.

13. Hi, i have a bathroom in my garage with a permit as a 2/3 bath the permit was issued in 1942. Is a 2/3rd’s bath a toilet only currently it has a toilet and a shower.

14. Al,

I wouldn’t worry about it. If you ever sell your house, your agent will deal with how to show that extra 3/4 bath. A 3/4 bath in a garage is like a 3/4 bath in a cabana where you shower when coming from the pool.

I expect it would be worth something, but not as much as a 3/4 bath attached to a bedroom or located near a bedroom.

15. Al,

I wouldn’t worry about it. If you ever sell your house, your agent will deal with how to show that extra 3/4 bath. A 3/4 bath in a garage is like a 3/4 bath in a cabana where you shower when coming from the pool.

I expect it would be worth something, but not as much as a 3/4 bath attached to a bedroom or located near a bedroom.

16. Ardell, thanks for the reply but the city wants me to get ride of the shower part of the bathroom and im trying to see if they have a valid reason, for making me tear the shower out. I don’t know what a 2/3 bath is i’ve never seen it written that way i’ve heard of a 3/4 bath that’s a full bathroom minus the tub.

17. Unique, interesting, and valuable article. Thanks. Now I know about something I would have never thought existed – a .25 bath.

18. In the Chicago Area MLS, the bath count is expressed as X.Y where X is the number of full baths (a sink, toilet, and tub or shower) and Y is the number of partial baths (toilet only, toilet and sink). So, a home that is described as having 2.1 baths is two full baths and 1 half bath. Most likely it would be a master bedroom full bath and another full bath for the other bedrooms and a powder room on the main level with only a toilet and sink.) A home described as 2.5 baths means two full baths and 5 half baths (or reflects an agent who has made an error!) Other fields describing the master bedroom and the basement amenities will reflect if a bath is located in the master suite or in the basement. It’s been a pretty simple straightforward approach that strikes me as simpler than the discussion of .25, .75, and adding/subtracting fractional baths.