Q. We own a 2 double-bedroomed apartment in Galway City which we let. It was built in the 1960s & the bathroom is dated (avocado coloured suite!). We plan on renovating it but instead of replacing the bath, we are thinking of installing a large shower unit & shelves in that area. However, a friend has said that parents with babies/young children use a bath very often & an apartment without a bath limits your market for tenants. What do you think?
A. In my experience tenants with children are reluctant to rent apartments as they are more restrictive in size, may be located on the upper floors where access is poor, have limited if any outside areas and the noise associated with young children can frequently cause problems in multi occupied developments where you are in very close proximity to neighbours. If the apartment is located on ground floor it may be considered more user friendly and accordingly you may be able to attract family type tenants.
The fit-out of any investment property needs to cater for the needs of your tenants and the best guide in this instance is to consider the profile of the tenants that you may have attracted already. If they are mostly students or young professionals then most certainly a large shower is going to be more attractive to them and may increase the demand for the property. If however, you have and expect to attract families with young children (below 5), then a bath is certainly more appealing.
There is of course the possibility that you could try to cover both markets by installing a wall mounted shower within a bath rather like most hotels do. This would seem to me to be a good compromise and would appeal to both families and the younger market.
From a practical point of view large baths require large volumes of water and you may need to consider the size of your hot water cylinder. Equally some modern showers require a pump which can add substantially to the costs of installation.
Gerard O'Toole - vice-chair of the western region of the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland