That’s a Bedroom?!?

Buyers often narrow their on-line search for homes by specifying the desired number of bedrooms.  So when is a bedroom not really a bedroom?  It’s not unusual to see an MLS listing proclaiming that the featured house has “X” number of bedrooms but the less prominent text reveals that the existing number of bedrooms is actually “X-1”. 

People (and building codes) differ on whether it’s proper to count a room as a bedroom if it :

  • lacks a closet and/or an egress window; or
  • was structurally converted to a dining room but could become a bedroom again; or
  • lacks a heat source (yep, that disclosure was found in a Minnesota listing.)

In general, sellers want to count the potential bedrooms while buyers mainly care about the actual bedroom count.  Being the practical sort, I report the number of existing bedrooms for the key MLS categories.   The long description of the property features is where I would point out the “theoretically possible” additional bedrooms, along with the deficencies that need to be remedied. 

On the other hand, I would count a room being used as a home office as an existing bedroom as long as it had a closet and egress.  So much for easy black-and-white rules.

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