Profile picture for unbelieve

Realtor said I don't need a closet to call a room a bedroom.Will this kill a deal?Is it true?

  • July 24 2010 - US
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Answers (17)

Profile picture for Melody91
As previous people have commented, it depends on how old the home is. I once converted a prior Dining Room from maybe 100 years ago, & sealed off the archway, giving it a door. Since it had 3 windows, but had no closet, I purchased a large & deep, Wooden 'armoire-type' closet, & placed it in an appropriate, while conspicuous place, in the room.

When the official Inspector came then, it was he who counted the windows & mentioned need for a closet. When he spotted the large wooden one, he said something like, "Oh, this piece has plenty of space to hang clothes.
It'll DO as a closet. And, yes, this is definitely now a bedroom."

I am not sure he knew it HAD been a Dining Room previously.

So, if it CAN serve as a bedroom, I do know from personal experience, that a free-standing closet can be counted.

For whatever it is worth, in Europe & many other parts of the world, already built-in closets,drawers & dressers are built into walls. Yes, this IS the USA, however, my experience did indicate that a portable closet that can store as much as a regular closet IS a way of making a room a viable closet, UNLESS it is really too small, & is a large closet itself!

Being 'Truthful' is the most important.
If a room can easily be a bedroom, with (nowadays) an IKEA or other type closet...then 'be creative and do it,' especially if large enough, & it has a window or more. Good Luck!
  • September 03 2010
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Many homes built prewar do not have a closet in the bedroom..in many cases the closet for the bedroom may be located just outside the room so...no you do not need a closet in a room for it to be called a bedroom ....however I would look at the original purpose of the room. Was it a former den or L shaped living room or possibly a dining area that someone thought big enough to be a bedroom? If so you would be pushing the term bedroom and buyers would be put off. In that case it would be better to call it something else....den...office, bonus room etc that c/b used as a bedroom.
  • September 02 2010
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Most buyer's I have worked with would not consider a room with no closet a bedroom. Best to list as a study and in remarks section mention additional bedroom as a possible use.
  • July 26 2010
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Depending on where you live and the age of the house, a closet is not always a prerequisite for a room to be considered a bedroom.
As an example, many homes built in the 1700s and 1800s did not have closets, but instead had a wardrobe  or other similar type of furniture in the room. Those rooms would be considered bedrooms in that circumstance.  Typically a  room should be above grade have a window and should NOT  be a pass-through to another room to be considered a bedroom.  Another consideration is the size of septic system, if applicable.  For instance, one could have 4 rooms which would have closets and appear to be bedrooms may not all be able to be considered as such if the house is served by a 3 BR system. Check with your local health district if you have a septic system.

  • July 26 2010
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I agree with most responders that the necessary characteristics are a closet and a window to officially be counted as a bedroom.  If neither are present, I'd go with office or bonus room as your description.
  • July 26 2010
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Profile picture for SoCal Engr
Would anyone offering "what they remember" and "what MLS requires" care to provide an authoritative reference (i.e., a link or reference to building code)? What you "think" or "remember" doesn't mean squat. If I were in the RE business, I would make it a high priority to know how the local/regional building codes affect how a property can be marketed.
  • July 25 2010
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Profile picture for Melody91
My recall (at least in Massachusetts) to be considered a 'legal bedroom,' the room, even if relatively small, must contain a window, and a closet. The closet can even be a built in or one that is free-standing. It must also be heated, & have a door, plus sufficient electrical outlets to meet the code of the year for which the code was last obtained. It must also contain a smoke detector either within it, or nearby, and a carbon-monoxide detector on that floor of the house. The smoke detector's batteries must be checked either every 6 months or replaced once a year.
  Does anybody know otherwise or better?
  • July 25 2010
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Profile picture for Georgia Kapsalis
In Michigan, a room must have a closet to be a bedroom
  • July 25 2010
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Profile picture for My NCHomes Team
I have practiced real estate for almost 25 years in several states and the legal definition of a bedroom has alwasy been the same regardless of where I've been. A room with a door and a closet. Today's codes also require egress (i.e. a window or door) to the outside in cse of an emergency. Pretneding a room is something it's not is simply deceptive and your Realtor sounds like they don't know what they are talking about.
  • July 25 2010
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In the Orlando Florida MLS a room must have a closet to be considered a bedroom. You can always say in marketing remarks that a room could be converted to a bedroom. It is best not to give buyers inaccurate room counts.
  • July 24 2010
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I should also check the county records and see how they describe the property.  Do no declare a room something that is not on the county records.  By matching the county records you have something verifiable to hang your hat on.
  • July 24 2010
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Profile picture for SoCal Engr
"Whether a room can be considered a bedroom likely varies by MLS."

I believe the local building code would be the authoritative source, not the MLS.

I did a quick check of the California Building Code, and bedrooms must have a minimum of 50 sq/ft and window egress to a public area (i.e., the room must have an exterior wall). I did not find (or look hard enough) anything on the requirement for a closet.

However, there are also local codes that appear to elaborate and expand on the California code. So the smart money is "check the local codes".

As to "Will this kill a deal?", if the house is being priced on "bedrooms" that will not qualify under local code, then it may affect the appraised value. Whether this kills the deal or not is up to the seller.

@ REAs - As the "local expert" in the deal, shouldn't you all be able to provide both authoritative answers to these types of questions, as well as sources?
  • July 24 2010
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Profile picture for Steve Roake
Whether a room can be considered a bedroom likely varies by MLS.  A closet is not necessary for it to be a bedroom.  I've seen many sellers (REALTORS) claim rooms to be bedrooms that most people would not consider using as a bedroom.  Even if it has a closet, it doesn't necessarily make it a bedroom either.
  • July 24 2010
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There can be verbiage on MLS that says 'non conforming third bedroom'. That way if the potential buyer sees a room being used as a bedroom they have the understanding that it is non conforming (or in some cases not legal) for use as a bedroom.

Non conforming bedrooms are those without closets, with windows that are too narrow to provide egress in the case of fire or bedrooms in basements that have no egress window. While you can't advertise these rooms as bedrooms there is nothing to prevent new homeowners from using them as a bedroom.

Note: Never ever use a room as a bedroom where the room lacks the ability for someone to escape in the event of a fire.
  • July 24 2010
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I agree with the hick, and it does not matter what anyone calls anything if the appraiser does not count it as a BR if no closet.  
  • July 24 2010
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Profile picture for the_country_hick
I have seen houses for sale that say something like

"2 bedroom with the potential for 3" (or 4)

That means you list the actual number of rooms used and set up as bedrooms, but also add the fact that more space could be used as a bedroom if needed.
  • July 24 2010
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Profile picture for the_country_hick
I have read that to legally be considered a bedroom it has to have a closet.

Forget the legal part. It is far less important than what a buyer thinks.

How many buyers would see a room with no closet and say "Hey, that's a bedroom!!!" ?

Not many. The truth is that the closet is really what sets a bedroom apart from, say a dining room. If there is no closet it does not fit what almost everyone considers a bedroom. Perhaps if you had a closet alternative like a portable upright box used as a closet it could be considered a bedroom, but even that would not be a good selling point.
  • July 24 2010
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