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If you have a room set up as a home office, should you list it as such in a real estate listing? Consider these two property descriptions for the same home:
- Four bedrooms, two-and-a-half bathrooms.
- Three bedrooms with spacious home office, two-and-a-half bathrooms.
Which do you think would make the home attract more attention from buyers, and most importantly, command the larger selling price?
It might seem like in the 2020 work-from-home economy that having a home office would add value to a property. While this is true, more bedrooms also add value. Before you choose to label a room as a home office or bedroom, here’s what you should keep in mind.
Can you call a room a bedroom?
One important consideration is whether you are legally allowed to consider a room a bedroom. While building codes vary by state, some basic requirements that typically need to be met, including:
- Closet: Bedrooms are required to have a closet. This is one of the main factors that generally prevents an assessor or appraiser from calling a room a bedroom.
- Egress: A bedroom generally must have two means of egress (ways to exit), which means it will need at least one window. This is a safety consideration, and the window generally needs to meet certain size requirements so a person could fit through the opening in an emergency.
- Size: Again, specific codes depend on where you are, but bedrooms typically need to meet a minimum square footage requirement (70 square feet is common) and have a ceiling height of at least seven feet.
In addition, bedrooms generally need to have installed smoke detectors. Newly built homes may have additional requirements, such as AFCI-protected electrical circuits.
My suggestion: If you aren’t 100% sure you can legally describe a room as a bedroom, ask your real estate agent or a licensed property appraiser.
Which will make your home more valuable?
While offices are certainly desirable, especially in today’s market where so many people are working from home with no end in sight, that doesn’t make them the most valuable. If you can describe a room in your house as either a bedroom or home office, you’re likely to add the most perceived value to the home by listing it as a bedroom.
Here’s the reason: Having another bedroom opens your home up to a larger group of potential buyers. If someone needs three bedrooms and a home office, they could simply buy a four-bedroom house and use one of the bedrooms as an office. On the other hand, a family who needs four bedrooms might not even consider a home whose listing reads “three bedrooms.”
Generally speaking, a bedroom adds more value to a home than a dedicated home office space. But this isn’t always true. For example, if you live in an urban area dominated by single residents and couples with no kids, a home office could be the way to list. The best course of action is to consult with a local real estate professional who knows your market well.