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Does FHA require bedrooms to have closets?

Based upon FHA requriements does a bedroom have to have a closet to be considered a bedroom?
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March 04 2011 - Los Angeles
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Answers (26)

Profile picture for sunnyview
Coerced how? Not sure if you can do anything or not. It would depend on what you signed and whether you or someone else besides you was responsible for verifying the number of bedrooms. Since it was a Habitat house did you get an appraisal with the number of bedrooms listed on it?

Appraisers often include a "bedroom" count in their report as part of the process for the lender. In many places, the legal definition of bedroom includes a separate door (not a walkthrough room), window of a certain size in case of fire and a closet.

If what you bought did not qualify as a bedroom in your area, you would need to seek legal advice for your options.
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June 07 2013
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I was cohearsed into purchasing a 3 bedroom 2 bath town house from habitat for humanity (with bukus of HOA rules and regulation) but once we closed on the house we never saw before we found out it only has 1 closet.
Is there anything i can do?
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June 07 2013
In the state of CA a bedroom must have a closet to be considered a bedroom.  Otherwise it is considered a den. 

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May 18 2013
Profile picture for user7362841
we are looking at a house that does not have a finished closet.  The room contains a cedar closet and a second closet space complete with a door that houses the heating and a/c units.  However this closet is not finished out.  It has no ceiling and the rafter are visable.  Is this against the IRC?
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May 13 2013
Hi Timothy...

I do not think HUD has a "what is a bedroom" requirement for a loan,however, there will be an appraisal contingent that might cause issues. A room without a closet is considered a den (not a bedroom). This will effect the appraisal value of the property and in that way...might effect the loan.

 The general rule for "what is a bedroom" is,you need a Closet AND a Window to be  considered a bedroom .

Hope this helps!
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July 29 2012
Most buyers won't consider it a bedroom unless it has a closet.
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July 21 2012
Correct Simon. But I think the question is more about the appraisal, if there is a question at all.
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March 08 2011
Is there more to this question?  Even if the room without a closet is considered a den the FHA will still insure the loan.
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March 08 2011
National appraisal standards dictate that a room cannot be considered a bed room unless it has a closet and 2 full access exits (window that is accessable and large enough for the average adult and a door way.
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March 07 2011
In my experience FHA requires a bedrooms to have closets.
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March 07 2011
Interesting comments.  In today's market, I really don't need to access the FHA Mortgage letter to know that most lenders are going to have their own over lay that would not accept the room as a bedroom with ingress and egress (doors and window) and a closet.  

Of course, this does not mean that FHA will not insure the property.  All that would be impacted in the value because a "den or office" is not going to improve value to the same degree as a bedroom.

Just an fyi:  I have spent many years in wholesale mortgage banking and none of the companies I have worked for would consider a room without a closed as a bedroom.  And, I am going back  as far as 1994 in that assessment.  There are exceptions, of course; I can only answer for companies that I personally represented as an AE, loan officer or manager.
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March 06 2011
No but in some areas the appraiser will consider a room without a closet a den.  A closet sure does help to support a value.  Depends on the area.  Sometimes its acceptable to have a Wooden cabnet as a closet.
Hopefully that helps
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March 05 2011
On Vince's link the responses are dated from 2002 to 2006. They  may still hold true. But, I still think you will be hard pressed to count this as a bedroom in today's market, or have a lender not challenge an appraisal that lists a closetless "bedroom." Might have been able to get by with that when only 3-photos of interior rooms were required. Now, it's every room.

Happy funding, Rudi
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March 05 2011
Profile picture for Pasadenan
In older homes, it was a "wardrobe"; a piece of "furniture".  For skilled nursing and similar "medical" bedrooms, an 18" wide 1/2 height cabinet with clothes rod meets the present building code requirements.  Structures that were grandfathered in under prior building codes without built in closets do not need to have a built in closet added to allow the room to continue to be used as a bedroom.  The occupants can continue to use a wardrobe.  But heating source is required, and a second egress is required, which is usually satisfied by a window, and fresh air possibility is required, which is also usually satisfied by a window.  7ft 6inch minimum ceiling height is required for it to be considered "livable space" but there are conditions where if built prior to the mid 1920's that even the ceiling height may be grandfathered in as an "existing non-conforming condition".

Basement rooms without a window for egress and without heating are rarely considered legal bedrooms.

Smoke Detectors are required for Bedrooms, and now CO2 sensors are also required in many states.

The issue for FHA is that it be able to obtain an occupancy permit without having code violation and safety issues.
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March 05 2011

The closet requirement may be a Fannie Mae or ANSI requirement, but not FHA. I think the key for FHA is window egress, but ultimately market perception would determine whether a room is considered a bedroom or not assuming that the room meets minimum requirements. A lot of older houses (in my area, typicaly over 80 years old) may have very few built-in closets in any of the rooms, but that may be customary for the area in which it is located. Conversely if you consider a newer residence with a room that has no closet, and it is customary for a bedroom to have a closet, the room may not be perceived as a bedroom by the segment of buyers that would be defined as the market for that home.

haha - I must give credit to this post over at AppraisersForum.com

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March 04 2011
This is my opinion. I think you will find appraisers will agree with my opinion. One of the items FHA Lenders base their decision on is the appraisal. You don't need to admit you are wrong. I admit I'm done with this conversation.

Happy funding, Rudi
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March 04 2011
Rudi,

You're not answering the question either. The question is about what FHA will or will not insure. There is no exception. HUD has no guidelines on if bedrooms have to have a closet or not in order for FHA to insure the mortgage. Period. 

If I'm wrong someone PLEASE post the Mortgagee letter. I will admit I was wrong.

Greg
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March 04 2011
Greg heritage homes may be an exception. On all others, regardless of FHA or not, to be considered a bedroom it must have a entrance door, a window and an enclosed closet.
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March 04 2011

I had a couple ask me if I could finance a home without a kitchen, they wanted to build a new home but evidently neither of them cooked. They ate out every night.

This was back before HVCC so I just wanted to see what my appraiser would say, AHHH, no, she would not accept the assignment. How funny, they wanted three bathrooms but no kitchen, must have a phobia about public restrooms.

http://www.hud.gov/offices/hsg/sfh/ref/sfh1-17a.cfm

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March 04 2011
No one is giving an actual answer to the question. You may have experiences but none of them are directly attributable to an FHA guideline. Please show us somewhere in the 4155 guidelines, or a subsequent HUD Mortgagee letter,  that states a bedroom has to have a closet in order to be insured by FHA.

I will gladly admit if I am wrong, but I don't think that guideline exists.
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March 04 2011
Sean is right and from my own experience FHA financing does require bedrooms to have closets.  Last spring I was working with some buyers who decided to use FHA financing to purchase their home.  The home had 4 bedrooms but only ONE of the bedrooms had a closet!  The appraiser had a hard time finding comps to justify the purchase price for a ONE bedroom home.  Thank goodness they had an appraiser who worked bery hard and were able to buy the home.
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March 04 2011
Sean below is right!  Building and Safety Codes require a legal bedroom to have a window and a closet.  Most lenders go by this standard, including FHA.
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March 04 2011

Having financed real estate in Florida and Michigan I say Yes, you have to have a closet.  The APPRAISER is the one who would count that room as a "bonus room" or "den" and not a bedroom.  I have ran into this many, many times.  Sean is also on the ball with the window too.  I have had that issue come up as well.  The appraiser is going to be your key as what they report is.....what it is!!!!!!

PS: If you did this yourself and county records don't match the appraisal you could have it come up later.  Keep that in mind too.   

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March 04 2011
Yes, If it is to be considered living space as a bedroom it will have to have a closet and a window.
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March 04 2011
Actually yes, in certain areas under certain condition. If the property is proposed, under construction or under 1 year old all bedrooms must have a closet to be considered habitable living space.

If the property is older, it must conform with properties in the surrounding area. As Greg pointed out, in California it is common with older properties not to have closets in bedrooms...this would be considered acceptable and common for the area. Now, if you were in Utah, it would drastically affect the marketability of the property in this area and would create a non-conforming situation.
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March 04 2011

No. FHA wouldn't have any say on that. Although this is quite uncommon in California, there are a lot of (older, think late 1800's - early 1900's) homes with bedrooms that don't have closets in some areas.

It would be state/local real estate guidelines that would define a bedroom. Per California building code a closet is not required in a bedroom but there may be more local ordinances that define a bedroom. I would check with a local Realtor on that but to answer you question about FHA, no, a closet is not required.

Hope this information helps!

Sincerely,
Greg

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March 04 2011
 
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