When you look at a listing that boasts a “full bath,” what do you envision? A sink, toilet, shower and tub? Or does a sink, toilet and shower suffice?

  • The definition of a "full bath" depends on the market, and agents have to know their market to avoid false advertising.

When you look at a listing that boasts a “full bath,” what do you envision? A sink, toilet, shower and tub? Or does a sink, toilet and shower suffice?

The members of Lab Coat Agents parsed the issue and found that the answers were not quite as varied as Baskin Robbins’ 31 flavors — but there were at least five different ways a home’s number of baths might be tallied based on state, region, buyer, seller, the MLS and your math skills.

1. You’re all in with toilet, sink and shower

New York Realtors Billy Rugen and Lauren Fernandes say a bathroom can have a toilet, sink and shower and still be considered a full bath.

Fernandes pointed out that defining what a “full bath” is in New York City can be difficult, especially since there are plenty of older structures with layouts that are no longer used.

“In New York City, a shower definitely counts as a full bath,” she said. “There are old buildings here where the bath is in the kitchen!”

2. Tub or bust

Lissa Demnie, who handles listings in Massachusetts and New Hampshire, said a bathroom with a sink, toilet and shower would be considered a three-quarter bath in New Hampshire, but a full bath in Massachusetts.

3. Dealer’s choice (agent)

The full-bath debate varied state-by-state or even city-by-city, and oftentimes agents pointed out that their MLS doesn’t have a three-quarter bath designation, so it’s up to them to decide on what a bath is.

“I call [sink, toilet and shower] a three-quarter, but our MLS only accepts one or 0.5 (half),” Dutch Revenboer says. “Dumb.”

4. Dealer’s choice (buyer)

Besides the issue with MLS options, Lucila Garcia says the issue may come down to a buyer’s preferred terminology.

“It depends how you say it,” she says. “‘I’m going to take a shower,’ versus ‘I’m going to take a bath.’ I would write it in as a full bath but explain it in the remarks section.”

5. Count your water outlets

But for Nevada agent Sarah Tortolini, the issue is neither.

“In Nevada, technically it’s about how many water outlets there are,” she says. “So a sink, tub and shower spouts is full (four), anything less (no tub = three) is three-quarters, or (sink and toilet = two) is one half.”

There wasn’t a consensus on what a “full bath” is, but each agent agreed about learning the standard in your market and working accordingly so you don’t misrepresent yourself and your listings.

“It’s regional,” Sandy Valenzuela Hermes says. “My current area just calls three-quarters a full bath, but when I sold in San Diego, we would have considered it false advertising!”

So what is a “full bath” in your market? Tell me in the comments below. 

Email Marian McPherson.

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