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Is It a Bedroom?

By
Real Estate Agent with HomeSmart Stars TX #0552717

The following discussion relates to what is or is not considered a bedroom in Texas.

There is not a legal definition of what constitutes a bedroom, but there are some minimum requirements. The International Code Council publishes a set of standards for public safety and welfare and this code, the International Residential Code (IRC), was adopted in Texas in 2001. Local jurisdictions in the state can adopt amendments to add to the requirements.

The IRC requirements include:Bedroom

  • a floor area of at least 70 square feet, with not less than 7' in any one dimension
  • a minimum ceiling height of 7'
    • if there is a sloped ceiling, at least 50% of the ceiling must have a minimum height of 7'
  • a means of egress for emergency escapes and rescues (window or door to exterior), which is at least 20" wide, 24" high, and the bottom of the sill no more than 44" off the floor

Whether a room needs a closet to be considered a bedroom isn't spelled out by the IRC or the Texas property code. Think back to the days when no rooms had closets - people used armoires and chifforobes to hold their clothing. 

Homes built prior to 2001 are not required to comply with the IRC standards, but may be required to comply with the International Property Maintenance Code, the International Fire Code, or with local building codes. Some jurisdictions may require a heating source. FHA and VA appraisers may have their own definitions for what constitutes a bedroom.

In just the past few days, I have run into this question twice.

  • In the first instance, one home has a bedroom that is only accessible by walking through another bedroom, then through a jack-and-jill bath, through a shared closet, and finally entering a room currently used for storage. It's large enough to be a bedroom, the ceiling is tall enough, there is a window for egress.  Is it a bedroom?
  • In the second instance, in another home, what was once a bedroom now has no door. The current owners use it as another living area and do not have the door that was removed. Is it a bedroom?

I'd like to hear your thoughts!

 

 

Posted by

Lorrie Semler, REALTOR
HomeSmart Stars

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Comments(15)

Joan Cox
House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373 - Denver, CO
Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time

Lorrie, this is excellent information to share with the public.   In CO there is no rule about the square footage.

Jul 11, 2023 02:29 PM
Kathy Streib
Cypress, TX
Home Stager/Redesign

Hi Lorrie- very interesting question. I remember viewing a home that had a layout similar to one you described. You had to go through one of the secondary bedrooms and shared bath to get to the other bedroom. 

Jul 11, 2023 05:31 PM
Lorrie Semler, REALTOR® in the Dallas area. Call/text 972-416-3417

Kathy Streib I've shown several like this but never listed one before.

Jul 12, 2023 06:36 AM
Myrl Jeffcoat
Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Realtor - Retired

Here in California, closets are expected to be included in bedrooms.  It is interesting however, several years ago, I traveled to London.  I stayed in an older home that didn't have a built-in closet, but had a piece of furniture that acted as a wardrobe/closet.  It was really quite charming.

Jul 11, 2023 08:50 PM
Lorrie Semler, REALTOR® in the Dallas area. Call/text 972-416-3417

Myrl Jeffcoat Back in the "olden days" there were no closets.

Jul 12, 2023 06:39 AM
Myrl Jeffcoat
Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Realtor - Retired

CONGRATULATIONS Lorrie, on having this blog FEATURED in the Old Farts Club group!  

Jul 11, 2023 08:58 PM
Wayne Martin
Wayne M Martin - Oswego, IL
Real Estate Broker - Retired

Good morning Lorrie. View some loft conversion apartments in buildings that were once factories in downtown Chicago and one man's dream is another man's nightmare! Enjoy your day.

Jul 12, 2023 04:40 AM
Lorrie Semler, REALTOR® in the Dallas area. Call/text 972-416-3417

Wayne Martin We've got some 1 BR condos here with the loft bedroom - no walls, no door, just a room at the top of the stairs. But they do have closets!

Jul 12, 2023 06:38 AM
Kat Palmiotti
eXp Commercial, Referral Divison - Kalispell, MT
Helping your Montana dreams take root

Good morning! I think the bedroom without the door is still a bedroom but the one that has to be accessed through three different rooms, maybe not....

Jul 12, 2023 05:39 AM
Dorie Dillard Austin TX
Coldwell Banker Realty ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
NW Austin ~ Canyon Creek and Spicewood/Balcones

Good morning Lorrie Semler, REALTOR® in the Dallas area. Call/text 972-416-3417 ,

A good question to ask with no legal definition of what constitutes a bedroom, however there are some minimum requirements. Accessing a bedroom through three different rooms leaves me shaing my head!

Jul 12, 2023 09:16 AM
Lorrie Semler, REALTOR® in the Dallas area. Call/text 972-416-3417

Dorie Dillard Austin TX It would make a great nursery or room for exercise equipment.

Jul 13, 2023 05:47 AM
Kathy Streib
Cypress, TX
Home Stager/Redesign

Jul 15, 2023 06:45 PM
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Pasadena And Southern California 818.516.4393

Hello Lorrie - I can't put a number on the times I have heard from prospective buyers "what is this room?" while showing a property for sale.  The clarification you share about the definition of a bedroom may help some "sleep" better knowing this information.  🛌🐏🐏🐏🐏🐏🛌

Jul 16, 2023 06:17 AM
Lorrie Semler, REALTOR® in the Dallas area. Call/text 972-416-3417

Michael Jacobs That's one reason I like staging!

Jul 16, 2023 06:58 AM
Ed Silva, 203-206-0754
Mapleridge Realty, CT 203-206-0754 - Waterbury, CT
Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally

In our state to be a bedroom it must have a closet as well as a door and a window.  

I don't believe the walk through everything is a bedroom so much as an extended storage space converted to a bedroom.

Th second example can be turned back to a bedroom once the missing pieces are replaced.,'

 

Jul 16, 2023 08:24 AM
Sheri Sperry - MCNE®
Coldwell Banker Realty - Sedona, AZ
(928) 274-7355 ~ YOUR Solutions REALTOR®

Every state can have a variation of what is called a bedroom.  I think it really matters what the buyer thinks the room should be.  Where it can get confusing is in the MLS description.

Jul 16, 2023 09:46 AM
Lorrie Semler, REALTOR® in the Dallas area. Call/text 972-416-3417

Sheri Sperry - MCNE® It's definitely confusing in MLS when you're in a house and can't find one of the bedrooms!

Jul 17, 2023 06:27 AM
Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543
Realty ONE Group Advocates 484-237-2055 - Downingtown, PA
Selling the Main Line & Chester County

Interesting questions, I know appraisers here are changing how they measure square footage and also maybe counting bedrooms. In our market it needs a window, I do not believe we consider size at all, and most agents would say it would need a closet of some sort to be a bedroom. Many agents do not like bedrooms to be below grade, but they are often counted as such.

Jul 17, 2023 02:29 PM
Lorrie Semler, REALTOR® in the Dallas area. Call/text 972-416-3417

Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543 We don't have many basements here, so below grade isn't an issue. As long as there was a way to get outside for safety reasons, I think a below grade room could be considered a BR here as long as the size and ceiling height requirements were met.

Jul 17, 2023 05:34 PM
Leanne Smith
Dirt Road Real Estate - Golden Valley, AZ
The Grit and Gratitude Agent

Egress to the outside is essential for safety purposes. If there are windows, that is the question to be answered.

Jul 17, 2023 04:38 PM
Lorrie Semler, REALTOR® in the Dallas area. Call/text 972-416-3417

Leanne Smith A window for egress is just one of the questions that has to be answered in Texas.

Jul 17, 2023 05:32 PM
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

Egress to the outside is really probably most important any I agree. We can’t forget any of that..

 

Lorrie Semler, REALTOR® in the Dallas area. Call/text 972-416-3417 

Jul 20, 2023 08:50 AM
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

There’s some thing about just being able to sleep or you want to, and all of the bedroom stuff:) ….

Jul 28, 2023 08:38 PM