What Qualifies a “Bedroom”?

We all know what a bedroom is, right? At first glance it might seem like an obvious, common-sense piece of information for any Realtor or real estate expert. But if you look deeper into state real estate laws, you might find some conflicting opinions.

NAR’s Code of Ethics

First let’s look at what Realtors go by and work our way through a digital snapshot of the ethical and legal implication of a bedroom, an incredibly valuable asset to property value. According to the NAR’s code of ethics, a Realtor might consider a room a bedroom if it has two means of egress and a closet. Typically, this means a door, a window, and a closet. The benefits? Having two means to exit the room under dire circumstances keeps the bedroom safer for its inhabitants. The downside is that a Realtor might not consider a room a “bedroom” because it was built without a closet for whatever reason (i.e. when armoires were popular).

Surprisingly enough, most state laws do not require the closet to fit the definition.

The Basic Definition of a Bedroom

To qualify as a bedroom here’s what a room needs:

  1. At least 70 square feet of space, measured at least 7 feet in any given direction.
  2. Two means of egress (escape), usually a door and window. There are some arguments to be made here for outside doors and skylights, but the window is more traditional.
  3. A 7-foot ceiling, but again this depends on state codes of safety.
  4. Heating/Cooling

Realtors face this fight on occasion, where a room that would otherwise be a wonderful bedroom doesn’t “qualify” because of a lack of closet space. The workaround is usually a description noting the “flexibility” or “multipurpose use” of the room.