“What features must a room have to be called a bedroom when describing a home for sale?” W.O., Lafayette, CA
It is a common misconception that any room can be called a bedroom if it is currently used for that purpose. Sellers might even feel justified in calling the room a bedroom because it has any or all of these features:
- Interior door
- Electrical outlet
Building codes typically require most of these features in their design criteria for a bedroom, but just having them still does not make a room a bedroom. So, what’s the answer to this week’s question? To be an official bedroom, it must have a building permit that identifies the room as a bedroom. If it isn’t permitted as a bedroom, marketing materials should identify the room based on how it is currently permitted.
Why do cities and counties that issue building permits care about how many bedrooms are in a home? They often use the number of bedrooms in a community to estimate population density and the required capacity for public services, such as water and sewage.
Why are home sellers constrained to properly identify the permitted use for each room in their home? Truth in advertising. Also, buyers need to know if they may have problems in the future if they try to add more bedrooms or remodel a bedroom that is not properly permitted. Cities that have reached maximum capacity for existing infrastructure may be slow to issue building permits that add bedrooms.
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NOTE: Real estate questions are answered within the scope of real estate broker expertise and no legal or tax advice is provided. Contact a qualified legal or tax professional for questions regarding those specialties.
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