Bedroom Issues

6 Replies

After conversations with an appraiser, my city building inspector, and my lender, I have discovered that all 3 have different definitions of what is a bedroom.

My question: If I list the property for sale, can I use my own (reasonable) definition of what a bedroom is when I determine the # of bedrooms/bathrooms? Are there any real estate rules/conventions, or does the real estate agent decide the number?

@Donald M.  generally goes by what the assessor calls it. International Building Code for existing dwellings could help as well. In general a bedroom must have a door of its own (not be a walkthru to another room) have a closet and a secondary means of egress (window usually will suffice) ceiling height and square footage of room also come into question but can vary by age of home and other local rules, ect. 

@Donald M. If you list with an agent, the MLS probably has a guideline for this. Here, a bedroom does NOT have to have a closet, but it has to have a door, and an alternate egress (window large enough for a person to get out of). I believe the ceilings have to be at least seven feet.

So we are up to 5 definitions! If there is not clearly a real estate or MLS rule, then I am going to decide the number of bedrooms and see if the real estate agent or MLS contests. It is obviously impossible to reconcile 5 different definitions.

@Donald M.  

Your Real Estate agent will know what is considered a bedroom in your area. In Chicago we have to have a closet and either window or open space towards light - hence the lofts.

MLS has it's own rules and the agent will have to follow those rules when listing the home on the website.

Good luck to you!

Another factor in some areas is septic.  If you have a 3 bedroom septic and you have 2 more rooms that look like bedrooms it cannot be sold or advertised as a 5  bedroom.  I have seen that become an issue in NJ ,  and PA.  In Boston I hope its not an issue because septic wouldn't be an issue but just wanted to add that in case someone later finds it relevant.

The one I have seen problems with is the local inspector causing issues about  extra bedrooms, either in the renovation or occupancy.

Whatever the city, which issues the occupancy permit, says is a bedroom s the correct answer. MLS can say what it wants. You and I can talk and come up with our own criteria. At the end of the day the city/town makes and enforces the rules.

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