When is a Bedroom Not a Bedroom?

In regard to home appraisals I have always recommended that Realtors meet the appraiser at the property just to fill in any blanks and also to potentially head off issues. The preemptive strike is the best defense in keeping a transaction rolling.

Even so, I receive many calls a week from Realtors with questions about appraisal reports and what they consider to be inaccuracies. We had a circumstance recently that the Realtor caught on site at a VA inspection regarding the value of the pool which was excluded by the appraiser. These items can sometimes be the breaking point for the deal. (And speaking of pools, if pool equipment exists, the pool needs to be operational.)

While VA inspections are a slightly different breed, there are consistencies that hold true for all loan types. The standard regarding bedrooms is not new news, it is still a question I receive with frequency.

What constitutes a functional bedroom to an appraiser?

The “existence of a closet” has always been the amenity Realtors reference. However, a listing agent recently had a home on the market as a 4/2/2. It was correctly assessed as a 3/2/2 at time of appraisal. And it wasn’t the closet in question in the fourth bedroom…it was the proximity of a bathroom.

Bedrooms and Appraisal Reports

  • In addition to having a closet, to be considered a bedroom, the space either needs to have  a bathroom attached to it or have access to one immediately down the hall.
  • If one needs to walk either through a common area (like a family room for example) or through another bedroom to get to the bathroom, then closet or not – it is NOT a bedroom.

Again, this is true of VA, FHA, conventional loans and is not a surprise a seller wants to get once a buyer has been found. At the end of the day, functionality constitutes reality.

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