What’s A Bedroom? Or a Bedroom by Any Other Name Remains the Same

What’s A Bedroom? Or a Bedroom by Any Other Name Remains the Same

Topics: Residential Real Estate

Markets: Lake Martin Area, Lake Martin - Waterfront Only

Imagine for a moment that you’re a real estate agent. 

Yes, allow yourself to fantasize about the typical agent’s glamorous life of buying car magnets, getting woken up by text messages at four in the morning, and sweeping the floors in a home you don’t own or even have listed. Heady stuff. 

Now imagine that you have just listed a home for sale and it’s time to enter the home’s data into the Multiple Listing Service. Here’s where you have a chance to describe the home to prospective buyers and other agents. You have many questions to answer. One of the seemingly easy ones is, “Number of bedrooms?”

That should be simple, right? Maybe not, I say.  I have shown plenty of homes around Lake Martin whose floor plan doesn’t exactly match up with the number in the “Bedrooms” field in the MLS. 

One example that I often hear from buyers is when a bedroom lacks a closet. Some go even as far as to claim that it is state law in Alabama (or their home state) that a room must have a closet in order to be called and advertised as a bedroom.  Maybe that is so in other states, but I know of no such regulation in Alabama. In fact, most of the time rules about home sale advertising are created and regulated by the local MLS, not the government. This means you have different rules in different areas within each state. The definition of a bedroom might differ from city to city.

Besides - what if the mom-closet room has an armoire? Does that count? An armoire can store extra socks and the trolling motor battery just as well as a closet. 

Another one I hear is that a bedroom has to have windows. Really? I’ve seen plenty of houses that are built over two stories or had basements finished out. Often times some extra space is found and a room is finished out that is the interior of the floor plan. Without windows of any sort, these rooms are probably the darkest and quietest and easiest sleeping rooms in the home. Call me crazy, but it sounds like a bedroom to me. 

Plenty of homes around Lake Martin have been added to over the years. Seeking space, homeowners have enlarged their homes in unique ways. Some of these homes’ bedrooms are only accessed by walking through other bedrooms. That’s right, there are four walls and maybe a couple of beds and night stands. But if you have to walk through one bedroom to get to it, does it count as a bedroom? It’s a gray area, I think. 

So maybe a bedroom is just simply where people sleep, regardless of how you get there or if there’s a closet or not. In that case, converted screened porches count. You see this especially in older cabins. Desperate for sleeping space, guests (usually the kids) get relegated to sleeping on couches or futons in an area that used to be a screened porch. For that matter, I know plenty of Lake Martin homeowners who still sleep on their outdoor screened porches, weather permitting. 

In my view, when looking at a lake home, the question, “How many bedrooms does it have?” is much less important than, “How many people will it sleep?” I’m more interested in how many friends and family can pack in for a fun long weekend. Just how many bodies can enjoy a Fourth of July barbecue there? Because that’s what the lake is about.  It’s not for each person to be able to retreat into their own four walls and stare at a screen.  They can do that back home in the city. 


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John Coley is a full-time real estate agent specializing in waterfront property on Lake Martin, Alabama. He is the Broker and Owner of Lake Martin Voice Realty and has a website called Lake Martin Voice where he blogs about Lake Martin real estate and area information. This article originally appeared on Lake Martin Voice.

Copyright Information:

All analysis, charts, and statistics in this article are the property of John Coley, Broker, Lake Martin Voice Realty, 8424 Kowaliga Road, Suite A, Eclectic, AL, 36024. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog's author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to John Coley and LakeMartinVoice.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.