hot tubA client recently posed this question, "Do you think if we got rid of the hot tub it would help?" Translation: Would getting rid of our hot tub make our property more attractive to buyers?

The client suggested she freecycle the hot tub. In fact, she thought she'd have no problem getting rid of it by the weekend. I don't know a lot about hot tubs (I've never owned one) but I wondered how she'd get rid of it so quickly if it was so undesirable. Afterall, it was already Thursday when she made the suggestion. Then again, that hot tub (see photo) wasn't looking so hot. It actually made her newly refinished deck look a little shabby. Then she mused, "I don't think anyone even wants a hot tub anymore. It costs a fortune to keep it running in the winter and what's the point of having one in the summer? On the other hand, if it would help to repair it and get it up and running, we could do that too."

So in puzzling that over we couldn't help but think the hot tub looked pretty darn uninviting. We even thought about staging the area to look romantic but somehow neither one of us was convinced that getting naked in front of the neighbors (albeit without them knowing) while they relaxed on the deck in their back yard was all that compelling an idea. In fact, it seemed a laughably bad one. 
My client went on to explain that, with kids, having a hot tub is actually a huge turn-off since it's arguably a safety hazard. Kids can accidentally get in there if it's not locked, the lid quickly shuts, and disaster strikes. Kids are naturally curious and busy adults can easily forget to lock a hot tub. Maybe having to lock a hot tub is just one more way to complicate one's life? And finally, what are you supposed to put in place of the hot tub once it's been removed? I mean, won't there be an ugly indentation on a deck that once held a hot tub? So if we do decide to remove it, we're hoping the area beneath the hot tub is level and even rather than sunken in. As far as the electrical hookups go, that's another potential eyesore but at least the hookups will be there if anyone wants a hot tub in the future.

I gotta admit, in six years I've never had a buyer get excited about a hot tub being included in the sale. The usual comment is "I wonder if they can remove that prior to closing" followed closely by "I wonder what that thing did to the deck - I bet we'll have to redo it". In only one case have I ever seen a buyer excited about the prospect of a house already having a spot for his hot tub (i.e. a concrete pad or separate area of the deck dedicated to a hot tub). And in that case, the buyer was so wedded to his own hot tub that he didn't even want the one included in the sale!

So what do you think about outdoor hot tubs? Are they a selling point or a major turnoff? Are they worth the higher utility bills or nothing more than a maintenance headache? If you remove one, what do you put in its place? One thing's for sure: remove it and you'll have to strip and re-finish the decking (or expect negative feedback from prospective buyers). In your opinion, is it preferable to leave the hot tub in place and hope the next owners are fans or willing to get rid of it - or is it better to have the hot tub removed and not include it in the sale?

Please log your comments below. We want to hear what you think!

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Posted by Jolenta Averill on


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Hi Jolenta!

I was cruising through the REW forums, and I came across one of your comments. I followed your sig and just wanted to compliment you on your awesome site. This website is absolutely beautiful, and you have some excellent content! :)

Anyways, to add to the conversation, I think a hot tub could be a selling point, but not likely. Most people just want a good deal, and a hot tub means more maintenance. I guess you would just have to feel out each individual on what their own needs are. Excellent post.

Posted by Lisa Udy - Logan Realtor on Friday, September 11th, 2009 at 2:22pm

I actually think having a hot tub raises the interest in a house. Imagine (for those who want them) being able to escape into an oasis rife with jets ready to massage all of the kinks caused by a long and hard day of work. Can't imagine anything better. Cheers,


Posted by Andy Donovan on Friday, September 11th, 2009 at 9:07pm

Hot tubs are a thing of the past--very '80s. If you keep it you should probably have disco music playing in the background and one of those mirror balls installed over the hot tub :) No really, they are expensive to maintain in the winter to keep them warm and what would be the point in the summer. I agree that they are a safety hazard if you have small children. If your kids are older and you have a bad back and can get one cheap--OK, might be OK (although I still can't stop hearing ABBA's Dancing Queen in my head while I am typing this). Personally, with the age of my neighbors, I would prefer to see them with their clothes on--even a skimpy bikini or Speedo would do everlasting damage and I would have a hard time talking to them over the fence. . .I stay stick to the jetted tub in the privacy of your own bathroom and spare your neighbors. Besides--this thing is UGLY. Now what would really look nice there (especially since it is already wired for a hot tub) is to get rid of the hot tub and use that great space for one of those cool new outdoor kitchens!!

Posted by Karen on Sunday, September 13th, 2009 at 5:48pm

I watch a lot of HGTV.....A LOT..... It thoroughly turns my stomach to see someone looking at a house get in a hot tub. (or indoor tub...ewwww!) Now according to my family I think a great many things are "gross" but really, it makes me want to wash their clothes. Unless it were ABSOLUTELY pristine and private I would consider it something I would have to have removed. I vote for the outdoor kitchen idea above!!!!!

Posted by Leanne on Monday, September 14th, 2009 at 7:05pm

Hot tubs are fun for about the first 6 months then they are old news. Then when one part breaks, it cost lots of money to have it fixed. Hot tubs just seem to be a big money pit!

Posted by Ashlee on Monday, September 14th, 2009 at 8:20pm

no,i don't like them..

Posted by rachel on Wednesday, September 16th, 2009 at 7:21am

Hot tubs are like pools, you either like them or you don't. I think most buyers have decided shortly after entering the front door if the home is for them, by the time they get to the backyard the hot tub will be a bonus, or an easily removed eyesore. I think it would be a good idea to re-stain, but not sure I would take the effort to remove at this point.

As Ashlee points out, after the having one for a few months most people don't use them, however I have Clients that love and use them daily.

Posted by Jeffrey Douglass on Thursday, September 17th, 2009 at 4:08pm

Same as pools. Ashlee is my wife and we have a pool. It became old news after a few months

Posted by Mike in Dallas on Friday, September 25th, 2009 at 9:38pm

if it's not working, definitely get rid of it. if it is working, keep it. what i've noticed is that it's not a major factor as long as it's functional but a very big factor if it's not.

Posted by Janet on Friday, October 2nd, 2009 at 12:01pm

We have a hot tub and I have to say...we love it! Yes it's work, but really not that much if you keep up with it. We love to use it year round and especially in the colder months. Why wait to go hot tubbing until you take a vacation to the Dells or Colorodo when it is right here in your backyard. We have had a pool in the past and, wow, that was alot of continuous work, whereas a hot tub TAKEN CARE OF PROPERLY, becomes a quick and easy chore I include with laundry, cleaning house, etc. I just add it to my list. During the chilly months and during a snow fall is the best time to take a hot tub with friends. In the summer you can purchase a floating fountain and the atmosphere becomes inviting with excellent visual and sound. Finally, staging a hot tub is exciting, I consider it a part of a garden. Call me! 608-212-9151 p.s. If you have teenagers, you will have no problem having the kids come to your house. Don't worry about where they are going to hang out - it will be your place!

Posted by Cathie Quandt on Wednesday, October 14th, 2009 at 9:55pm

I just bought a house with an outdoor hot tub. It hasn't even been a couple months and I am already getting sick of it. Do you know if anyone come and Haul it for free?

Posted by tina on Sunday, June 9th, 2013 at 7:04am

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