Home remodel, question on questionable bedrooms

I’m going to be finishing one corner of my basement soon and I’m trying to figure out how much I should care about making sure I can classify the room as a bedroom. The house is currently a 4 bedroom, but the “master” is an addition that has the only downstairs bathroom. I mean, we use it as our master but if the house were empty people would assume it’s a family room until they realize that the upstairs master doesn’t have its own bathroom. That said, it’s clearly legally a bedroom.

The basement space will be 13x15, there’s one small window that probably wouldn’t work for egress but there’s also an exterior door, there’s a half staircase that leads to the outside and then another half staircase up to the house interior. I’m assuming that counts as my two exits so all I’d need is to make sure my ceiling heights are good to go, but that’s going to take some extra money in hvac rerouting. Is it worth being able to list the house as a 5 bedroom even though in practice nobody would use it as a 5 bedroom? It’s really a 3 bedroom house at its core.

It needs a closet to be considered a bedroom by realtors. Basement space varies in whether it’s considered living space whether or not it’s finished. I wouldn’t put the money into routing HVAC for some possible future sale. If it’s listed for sale as a 5 bedroom you might just be disappointing potential buyers. I’ve seen listings for 4-5 bedrooms or 4+ bedrooms, that might tend to attract the kind of buyer interested in that configuration.

Depending on your jurisdiction, you may not be able to legally advertise a space as a bedroom if it does not have an operable window and at least two means of egress.

To clarify, I’m 90% sure closet/egress/window are all sorted and would be in code, but there’s an HVAC duct running right through the “hallway” I’d have to build and it’d be only 6’ ceiling to floor, which as I read the regs in my area doesn’t suffice. I could reroute it but I’d be worried about disappointing potential buyers like TriPolar said, and if I’m not going to list it as a 5 bedroom I’m not sure I’d bother changing the ducting.

People in the market for a 5BR house are going to have some expectations on the rest of the house - dedicated laundry room, large pantry (maybe even a butler’s pantry), at least two and a half bathrooms, large eat-in kitchen with a big island that probably has a second prep sink, two- or three-car garage, a “great room” that can comfortably hold a dozen people, etc, etc…

If you just jam a fifth bedroom into a house that was built with the “infrastructure” of a three bedroom house, you may have a hard time finding a buyer, never mind recovering the investment.

Would this basement area be part of the “livable space” right now? … meaning you could list as a 4-bdrm 2,450 sq ft home rather than a 5-bdrm 2,450 sq ft home … because it will be the 2,450 sq ft number that brings in the potential buyers … if you’re planning on renting the house out, you can already call it a 5-bdrm home, federal discrimination laws are quite clear on the matter, as long as the room isn’t a kitchen, bathroom or closet … it’s a bedroom … 2 per “habitable room” … 5-bdrm, dining room, living room, den … you can’t refuse tenancy because the family has 16 members …

I believe the operative term is “bonus room” :smiley: If I wanted a 5-bedroom house, I’d be disappointed in what you’re describing, regardless of code.

You might want to check on the local property tax situation. Adding an extra “bedroom” might increase the valuation of the house without actually increasing the selling price. So you’d end up paying extra taxes for however long you own the house.