What happened on Halloween night that caused the increase in bathrooms across St. Louis?

Woman in a bathtub

St. Louis buyers who are closely monitoring homes for sale may have noticed that many homes had an increase in the number of bathrooms on November 1.

No, there wasn’t a rash of construction projects in the last few weeks resulting in dozens of bathroom additions.

Mid America Regional Information Systems (MARIS) operates the St. Louis area’s MLS system. On October 31, MARIS implemented an upgrade to the MLS which affects how bedrooms and bathrooms are reported.

In the past, agents manually entered the number of bedrooms and the number of bathrooms. In another section of the listing, agents could list how many full and half baths were located on the main, upper and lower levels of the property. Listing agents could also identify the size, type of flooring and level of each room in the house.

MARIS apparently decided that agents simply weren’t filling in the information accurately enough. Rather than go after agents with fines for incomplete or inaccurate information to try to get them to provide better disclosure, they changed the system to make it happen.

The new system requires listing agents to identify the number of bedrooms and bathrooms on each level, and then the system generates a total.

So how did the system change increase the number of bathrooms?

In the past, agents would list a home that had 2 full baths and 1 half bath as having 2.5 bathrooms. The new system upgrades shows the same house as having 3 bathrooms (2 full 1 half). Though the change initially makes it appear that homes have more bathrooms, showing the total count is a much better way to fully disclosure information to the public.

And it solves a big problem for me. I wasn’t sure how I was supposed to describe my new listing that has 3 full baths and 3 half baths under the old system. Saying it has 6 bathrooms was the best we could have done, but 6 bathrooms in the old system really meant 6 full bathrooms.

How Does the System Upgrade Impact Home Buyers?

In addition to giving more accurate information on the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, buyers will be able to select homes based on where those rooms are located.

The system upgrade allows agents to create searches that can specify the number of bedrooms or bathrooms on specific floors.

This new feature will come in really handy in areas with older homes that were not built with master bathrooms. Bathrooms sometimes get added in the strangest places. I’ve seen homes where a full bathroom is in the middle of an unfinished basement.

Often the place where a bathroom can be easily added is nowhere near the bedrooms. Instead of simply searching for a 3 bedroom/2 bathroom home, now buyers can search for a home that actually has 2 full bathrooms on the same floor as the bedrooms. A home that has only 1 bathroom upstairs but has a 2nd bathroom in the basement wouldn’t show up on their search results.

In addition to helping buyers zero in on the best possible matches, it will also allow agents to more accurately pinpoint the appropriate listing price on homes. By searching for homes that have a similar number of main/upper floor bedrooms and bathrooms, homes that lack the main floor features won’t get mixed in with the ones that have everything a buyer would want.

I’m a big fan of any changes to the system that allows agents to create more targeted searches for their clients.

This change was a good one.