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 Just Call 408-252-8900 Luxury Homes in Top Silicon Valley Schools-San Jose, Cupertino, Saratoga & Palo Alto
Family Helping Families Buy & Sell Homes 40+ Years
Just Call 408-252-8900 Lynbrook Homes Cupertino KW

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

July 16, 2013 09:15 PM
Lloyd Binen
Silicon Valley R since 1976;408-565-8177
Certified Realty Services

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.

July 16, 2013 09:31 PM
Michele Peterson
Sellstate Realty First
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!

July 16, 2013 09:58 PM
Gerard Gilbers
Your Marketing Master
Stingray Performance Marketing

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

July 16, 2013 10:06 PM
Nancy Ortega
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!  

July 16, 2013 11:22 PM
Christine Donovan
Broker/Attorney 800-610-7253 DRE01267479 - Costa M
Donovan Blatt Realty
Jennifer -I've found that if the bedroom count doesn't match the expectation, they are often frustrated.
July 16, 2013 11:28 PM
Paddy Deighan JD PhD
Paddy Deighan J.D. Ph.D
Aston McLaren Inc

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

July 17, 2013 12:27 AM
Rich Arnold
Realtor - Tempe, Chandler, Mesa, Gilbert, Phoenix
Keller Williams Realty East Valley

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.


July 17, 2013 12:28 AM
Suzanne Otto
Your Montgomery County PA home stager
Six Twenty Designs

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.

July 17, 2013 03:01 AM
Nina Hollander
Your Charlotte/Waxhaw/Fort Mill Area Realtor
RE/MAX Executive Realty/Charlotte, NC

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.

July 17, 2013 03:10 AM
John F Muscarella
Broker/Owner, Plymouth County / Cape Cod, MA

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

July 17, 2013 03:36 AM
Tim Maitski
The Agent Who Uses "Watermelon Tough" Sign Posts
Atlanta Communities Real Estate Brokerage

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?

July 17, 2013 03:49 AM
Kevin Henry
Henry Realty

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

July 17, 2013 04:47 AM
Gita Bantwal
REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel
RE/MAX Centre Realtors
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.
July 17, 2013 05:06 AM
Sharon Tara
New Hampshire Home Stager
Sharon Tara Transformations

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

July 17, 2013 05:07 AM
Edward Gilmartin
Boston Homes

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

July 17, 2013 05:16 AM
Andrew Mooers
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.

July 17, 2013 05:30 AM
Wayne and Jean Marie Zuhl
The Last Names You'll Ever Need in Real Estate
Hallmark Realtors

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.

July 17, 2013 05:42 AM
Liz Wallace
Broker C21 Sherlock Homes, Rockville Centre, LI, N
Century 21 Sherlock Homes

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.

July 17, 2013 05:59 AM
Charles Buell
Seattle Home Inspector
Charles Buell Inspections Inc.

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.

July 17, 2013 07:09 AM
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Jennifer Fivelsdal

Mid Hudson Valley real estate connection
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