What makes a bedroom?

Real Estate Broker/Owner with JFIVE Home Realty LLC | 845-758-6842|162 Deer Run Rd Red Hook NY 12571 10491201242

A bedroom should be more than about a closet

Over the years I have dealt with home sellers who count the number of bedrooms based on a closet in the space.

So should a room be classified as a bedroom because it has a closet but is not big enough for a regular size bed?

How do buyers react when they see a room like this?

bedroom collage 300x183 What is a bedroom? It should be more than about a closet

Here are my observations.

For a room to be classified as a bedroom it should be large enough to fit a bed and other furniture; having a closet is not a sufficient criteria.  Actually, it could be a bedroom without a built in closet.

  A  bedroom should also be private and have ways to escape for example in the case of a fire; a full window would meet such a requirement.

I know home buyers feel the same way because on occasions when I have run into such a situation the buyers where always annoyed. I would get questions such as;  where is the 4th bedroom?…. you’ve got to be kidding?… that is a bedroom?  I couldn’t fit a full size bed in it.

When a  buyer starts going down this road, other things are then questioned.   Not to mention that the  buyers are annoyed  that their time was  wasted.

Could such a bedroom count affect the sale of your home?

Yes it could, since you might be marketing to the wrong pool of clients, and doing this will be a reason your home will stay on the market longer.

Since most of the homes in our area use a septic system, you can know how many bedrooms are approved for your home by the Board of Health Approval.

So, if you are selling,  stick with the facts as to how many bedrooms are in the house.

Originally by Jennifer Fivelsdal at:What is a bedroom? It should be more than about a closet


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Michelle Carr-Crowe-Top 1% Diamond Certified Real Estate Team Sells Cupertino San Jose Homes-Just Call 408-252-8900
Get Results Team...Just Call (408) 252-8900! - San Jose, CA
Family Helping Families Buy & Sell Homes 40+ Years

In Silicon Valley a bedroom needs to have its own door, window/door to outside, and closet to fit the criteria.

Jul 16, 2013 02:15 PM #24
Lloyd Binen
Certified Realty Services - Saratoga, CA
Silicon Valley Realtor since 1976; 408-373-4411

Any legal room with a closet may be counted and deemed a bedroom in my marketplace.  To be "legal" per building codes a room must be at least 80 sq. ft., within the perimeter of the foundation, a 7' or 8' ceiling, I forget which, a window of certain size within a specific height from the floor, and I think that's all.

Jul 16, 2013 02:31 PM #25
Michele Peterson
Sellstate Realty First - Roseville, CA
Sellstate Realty First

Great post on identifying a true bedroom.

In this crazy market in Northern California, i have several buyers where we are shopping for a possible bedroom

that could be made anywhere - dining room, office, den, loft, ...Trying to make a 4 into a 5 bedroom or a 3 into a 4 is as big of a challenge as getting an offer accepted.

We are in it to the move in date!

Jul 16, 2013 02:58 PM #26
Gerard Gilbers
Higher Authority Markeing - Asheboro, NC
Your Marketing Master

I have a problem with a room large enough to be a bedroom but has no access directly. 

Jul 16, 2013 03:06 PM #27
Nancy Ortega
RE/MAX GOLD - Fresno, CA
Nancy O.

In my area, that is the case as well.  The room must have a closet to be counted on as a bedroom.  I agree that a bedroom should be able to fit the basic necessities that complete a bedroom.  And a window should be in place as well!  

Jul 16, 2013 04:22 PM #28
Christine Donovan
Donovan Blatt Realty - Costa Mesa, CA
Broker/Attorney 714-319-9751 DRE01267479 - Costa M
Jennifer -I've found that if the bedroom count doesn't match the expectation, they are often frustrated.
Jul 16, 2013 04:28 PM #29
Paddy Deighan JD PhD
TimeshareLawyers.pro - Vail, CO
Paddy Deighan J.D. Ph.D

I haev a home in Vail, CO and they define a bedroom as a room with a closet..seems like a petty distinction to me but a line has to be drawn and that is not a bad start

Jul 16, 2013 05:27 PM #30
Richard Arnold
Keller Williams Realty East Valley - Tempe, AZ
Realtor - Tempe, Chandler, Mesa, Gilbert, Phoenix

I agree that just satisfying the technical requirements is not enough.  A bedroom should pass the smell test.

I have seen these examples listed as "bedrooms".  I would call them bunkers or prisons.

- A storage room outside the main house, behind a carport, the size of a jail cell with a tiny window

- Half a garage walled off and a door put in the wall.  May have a "window" to see the rest of the garage or outside.  I've seen very finished work on this kind of dungeon room.  It's still in the garage no matter how much lace you put on the wall.

- A large laundry/utility room with the appliances and water heater put behind sliding doors to create a "closet".  The water heater was inaccessable.  A wall would need to be torn down to replace it.

- A patio area enclosed and a closet built around the space where the fuse box and water bib were outside the house - and they are still functional.  Is this a water closet or an electrical closet or a disaster in a box?

...and the coup de grâce...

- A horse shed alongside the house with a shower, a gas range, and a sleeping loft.  Entry is by sliding the "wall" like opening a large closet - the outer wall was the two shed doors that hung on tracks.  The wall was kept in place with a padlock.  Yes, there was a window, a ceiling light, and a "living room" about 5'x6'.  Enjoy.


Jul 16, 2013 05:28 PM #31
Suzanne Otto
Six Twenty Designs - Lansdale, PA
Your Montgomery County PA home stager

Totally agree. What kind of bedroom is it if you can't fit a bed?

My friend recently had an appraiser come to her house and he classified it as a two bedroom instead of 3 because the third bedroom wasn't fully above ground level. It even had two windows and a closet. Now that's a new one.

Jul 16, 2013 08:01 PM #32
Nina Hollander
RE/MAX Executive | Charlotte, NC - Charlotte, NC
Your Charlotte/Ballantyne/Waxhaw/Fort Mill Realtor

In NC, you can call a room a bedroom so long as it has a door, window, and closet. But I must admit to getting very irritated when agents list homes counting rooms without all three of those elements as a bedroom.

Jul 16, 2013 08:10 PM #33
John F Muscarella
Broker/Owner, Venice, FL, Florida's Suncoast

I agree with your premis.  Here in MA a bedroom just needs a closet and a door.

Jul 16, 2013 08:36 PM #34
Tim Maitski
Atlanta Communities Real Estate Brokerage - Atlanta, GA
Truth, Excellence and a Good Deal

Once you are there at the house and see it, does it reallly matter what name you put on it?  I've had buyers spend a great amount of times discussing what is or isn't a bedroom.  I say, it is what it is.  I don't care what you want to call it.  You see what it is and it either works for you or it doesn't.  Sure, it is annoying,  but are you going to report a seller to the bedroom police?

Jul 16, 2013 08:49 PM #35
Kevin Henry
Henry Realty - Fort Wayne, IN

Most sellers are trying to push it to the limit and make the home sound a little better then what it is.

Jul 16, 2013 09:47 PM #36
Gita Bantwal
RE/MAX Centre Realtors - Warwick, PA
REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel
I have had listings where sellers wanted me to describe it as having an extra bedroom . I tell sellers that I do not like to exaggerate as buyers will find out when they come anyway and will not buy it if it does not suit their needs.
Jul 16, 2013 10:06 PM #37
Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
New Hampshire Home Stager

Congrats on the Feature!!!  Honesty is the best policy when it comes to bedrooms!

Jul 16, 2013 10:07 PM #38
Edward Gilmartin
CRE - Boston, MA

Closet,  full window and adequate room seems to define a bedroom

Jul 16, 2013 10:16 PM #39
Andrew Mooers | 207.532.6573
Northern Maine Real Estate-Aroostook County Broker

On a boat the bedrooms, any space is tight and limited. Some homes are too. With waterfront, a loft bedroom can be dinky but the rules are different and it is a temporary long weekend, vacation. But you see hall bedrooms, walk in closets made into bedrooms...especially in college towns with students renting and just needing some private space to well, you know what happens when the courting sparking, lovey dovey happens.

Jul 16, 2013 10:30 PM #40
Wayne and Jean Marie Zuhl
Samsel & Associates - Clark, NJ
The Last Names You'll Ever Need in Real Estate

Our MLS says a "bedroom" must have a closet and poses no size requirement - it's not a bad idea to verify the sizes of the bedrooms before making a visit.

Jul 16, 2013 10:42 PM #41
Liz Wallace
Century 21 Sherlock Homes - Rockville Centre, NY
Broker C21 Sherlock Homes, Rockville Centre, LI, N

In the Village where I do most of my business some of the homes are froom the 1800's and so not always a closet in the bedroom and actually a lot of them have tandem bedrooms.  You disclose that on the MLS so it might say 4 bedrooms but we add that one is a tandem.

Jul 16, 2013 10:59 PM #42
Charles Buell
Charles Buell Inspections Inc. - Seattle, WA
Seattle Home Inspector

I recommend forgetting what the MLS says about bedrooms.  If something bad happens because it is not a "legal" bedroom (proper size, headroom, egress, light, ventilation, heat etc) the listing information will not save anyone being sued.  When the home is listed, whoever makes the decision about what is going to be called a bedroom should be "legally" accurate in my opinion.  I have seen sales blow up because the house was priced on its being a 4 bedroom house when it was "legally" only a 2 bedroom house---even according to the apparaiser.

Jul 17, 2013 12:09 AM #43
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