Does a Bedroom Require a Closet?

Does a bedroom require a closet? Does it require a window? Along with issues and questions regarding square footage (living area) of homes, room count and room designations are other “hot topics”. Agents often work listings to make them as attractive as possible to a potential buyer – which is what they should do. However, there’s a fine line between exploiting the gray area and misleading buyers. The comments below are based upon my appraisal experience and they are reasonable to use when evaluating a home. Most homes will be evaluated by appraisers as part of the closing package; all parties should be familiar with how they will consider the property.

What constitutes a bedroom? Among other things that depends on the age of the home, location of the home, and how comparable homes like it are viewed. There are neighborhoods scattered all over Atlanta and the outlying markets that are comprised of homes built prior to the 1940’s. These homes often have bedrooms with no closets; old central heating systems often lacked ducts in each room. Rather than take space with closets that would lack air circulation, clothes were often stored in armoires, cedar closets, or some similar manner. As a small child, we lived in a “railroad” apartment in Brooklyn, NY. There were no doors; you entered in the small kitchen and walked through two “bedrooms” back to the living room. Talk about functional obsolescence….but that floor plan was (and still is) common in that market. Applying current standards to these older homes is impractical as consumer demands have changed. This is a perfect example of why it’s critical to use accurate comparables.

It is reasonable to expect the following in “modern” bedrooms:

  • a closet
  • a window
  • a ceiling height of 7’ or more
  • a dedicated, securable entry with no “thru” traffic
  • area enough to accommodate a small bedroom set

This list isn’t exclusive; common sense will come into play. One big question in the Atlanta real estate market are “bonus” rooms being called bedrooms. Typically located over the garage, these rooms can work as bedrooms, offices, play rooms, media rooms….use depends on your needs. Consider dormers; many cape style homes have ceilings than angle under 7′ but these are still functionally bedrooms.

Last, consider finished basements – or terraces as they’re called in many areas. These are either fully or partially below grade, not considered in living area but certainly functional. While a basement bedroom might not “count” on paper, many homes have and use them just as an above grade one.

In the end, what you call a room is less important than how you use it.

Questions? Maybe we should talk.

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