Bedroom or Closet? What qualifies a room as a bedroom?
One of the first question realtors will ask a new buyer is…you guessed it! How many bedrooms do you need?
Gone are the days of bunk beds and sharing one tiny bathroom between a family of 5. And believe me, realtors know that.
We’ve all been in a property that is listed as a 4 bedroom and we’ve walked in and out and up and down and we just can’t find that 4th bedroom anywhere. Is it that tiny room we walked through to get to the master bedroom? Who knows?
Why is that, you ask? Because the definition of a bedroom is actually pretty loose and many listing agents will stretch that to make their property seem more appealing to buyers.
That said, however, there are a few things a bedroom must have, even though the exact definition can change from one municipality to another.
elements that define a bedroom
SQUARE FOOTAGE: A Bedroom must be at least 70 square feet in size.
HORIZONTAL MEASUREMENT: A room must be at least 7 feet in one direction. This excludes long skinny rooms, like hallways.
HEATING AND COOLING: A bedroom must have a permanent source of heat, such as electric baseboard, but a space heater won’t work. You don’t need A/C for cooling, but you at least need to be able to open a window.
CEILING HEIGHT: The ceiling must be at least 7 feet high in a bedroom, though only 50% of the room must be this height. There can be lower portions, such as the case in a converted attic room where the ceiling slopes.
ELECTRICITY: A bedroom must have a source of electricity. (No, you cannot run an extension cord from the main part of the house).
CLOSETS: Trick answer! A bedroom does not necessarily need a closet, but most buyers and lenders are going to expect one, especially in newer homes.
EGRESS: A bedroom must have two means of egress. Typically that is a door and a window. I mean, how the heck are you getting into this room if it doesn’t have a door?
Ok, I have one egret…I just need one more to make this a bedroom.
OMG, stop it! I can’t stand these puns anymore. I egret ever writing this caption!
Here are some tips from HGTV to help you decorate that tiny bedroom, so buyers can see how to use the space.
If you can’t meet all the criteria, call the room an office or bonus room. It still adds space and value to your property. If you are interested in other ways to add value to your property, read our post on that topic here.