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 Bedroom Definition? MLS Enforcement?

Created by:
Paul Kriewall, Real Estate Association Staff,  Tempe,  AZ

Date: August 25, 2008, Number of Replies: 16


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My MLS has never had a formal definition for bedroom.  Without a definition, the number of bedrooms displayed on a listing has never been enforced.  If someone reports a violation to us regarding misrepresentation of the number of bedrooms, they are currently referred to their local association (ARMLS is a large regional MLS made up of several Realtor(R) associations) to file an ethics complaint if they are so inclined.

If we were to have a definition I am unsure how we could enforce it as we will not go out to personally visit the properties.  It seems to be a he said, she said isssue.

Our MLS Committe is currently reviewing the bedroom issue and I am looking for any input on the matter.

Do any of your MLSs define bedroom in the Rules, and if so how is it enforced?

 

Thanks,

Paul Kriewall, Compliance Officer

Arizona Regional MLS, Inc,

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Robert Little Licensed Real Estate Broker,  Fontana,  CA

Date: August 27, 2008

We don't have any formal definition of a bedroom that I am aware of.  I have always considered that a bedroom must have a closet and a door (to the room, not necessarily to the closet.

When my house was built, I had the option of a 4th bedroom or a den.  The only difference was the bedroom had a door and a closet and the den has no closet and an double wide area framed where a double door would be if it was a bedroom.

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Dan Sutherland,  Nags Head,  NC

Date: August 28, 2008

My MLS has never had a formal definition for bedroom.

At the Outer Banks Association of REALTORS® we do not have a strict definition of Bedrooms; however, since the house has to be sized for the septic system. Therefore, the number of bedrooms is based on the information contained in the County Tax records.

Dan Sutherland

MLS and Special Projects Director

Outer Banks Association of REALTORS®

daniels@outerbanksrealtors.com

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John Hicks Real Estate Educator ,  Richmond,  VA

Date: August 28, 2008

From the desk of John Hicks


 

Our MLS Committee is currently reviewing the bedroom issue and I am looking for any input on the matter.

We do not have a definition in our MLS Rules and Regs, but I did contact a number of our members, and in particular our member Appraisers, to get a 'formal' definition of a bedroom, which we then published to our members in newsletters, training classes and online tips. Here it is:

A Bedroom Must:

1. Have a closet if the house was built after 1945. Before then armoires were common.

2. Have its own heat. You cannot heat it by leaving the door open.

3. Have its own door into the rest of the house, you cannot 'daisy-chain' bedrooms.

4. Its own window, usually at least 1/3 of the wall in most jurisdictions so that it can be used as an exit in an emergency.

5. Be large enough to hold a bed.

We don't have an enforceable rule, but we have made it an education and training item.

John Hicks, e-PRO

CVR MLS

Director of MLS Training and Outreach

Certified e-PRO Trainer

(804) 422-5035

Fax: (804) 422-5080

jhicks@rarealtors.com

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John Hicks Director of MLS Training & Outreach (804) 422-5035 jhicks@rarealtors.com


 

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Paul Kriewall Real Estate Association Staff,  Tempe,  AZ

Date: September 11, 2008

I am thinking that the issue needs to remain ambiguos as there are as many definitions as there are entities that deal with bedrooms.  About 90% of the definintions I have found, simply say (one way or another)  a bedroom is a room intended for sleeping. 

At most, I will recommend that if we do adopt a formal definition, that it be used only as a guideline and will remain unenforced by the MLS (I don't have the time or budget for field trips to enforce!).  If someone feels strongly enough that the property is being misrepresented by the listing agent, they can file an ethics complaint.

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Norman Tuttle Licensed Real Estate Broker,  Quincy,  MA

Date: September 19, 2008

Please copy and paste a portion of the post you are responding to in order for others to follow the context of the thread. (**then delete this line**)

...... am thinking that the issue needs to remain ambiguous.......
I think this is a basic element of a residential property and that it deserves and requires a definition which is an acceptable "standard" that an MLS should reasonably expect to be adhered to. If there is an enforcement event that arises it follows that the current "Ethics" complaint route would work.
It recollect that for a time HUD promulgated a definition & I may not have all aspects or those that I have may not be accurate but a minimum square foot of floor space and a closet were among the items and perhaps a cubic square foot measurement as well.....that appears workable, no?
Norman E Tuttle E-Pro,CRS,GRI
Granite Group, Realtors
Quincy, MA 02170-2702
617-429-7749




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Date: September 19, 2008

We do not provide a definition of what makes a room a bedroom. If an agent calls asking whether or not a room in a property they are listing is a bedroom, we suggest they contact the town where the property is listed. If an agent calls to complain about another agent's inaccurate representation of the number of bedrooms, we contact the listing agent and advise them to check with the town to make sure they are representing the property correctly. This has worked well for us.

Michelle Perino

Director of Member Services

New Jersey Multiple Listing Service, Inc.

201-387-1150 Ext. 513

www.njmls.com

www.newjerseymls.com

My MLS has never had a formal definition for bedroom. Without a definition, the number of bedrooms displayed on a listing has never been enforced. If someone reports a violation to us regarding misrepresentation of the number of bedrooms, they are currently referred to their local association (ARMLS is a large regional MLS made up of several Realtor(R) associations) to file an ethics complaint if they are so inclined.

If we were to have a definition I am unsure how we could enforce it as we will not go out to personally visit the properties. It seems to be a he said, she said isssue.

Our MLS Committe is currently reviewing the bedroom issue and I am looking for any input on the matter.

Do any of your MLSs define bedroom in the Rules, and if so how is it enforced?

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Date: September 21, 2008

My MLS has never had a formal definition for bedroom. Without a definition, the number of bedrooms displayed on a listing has never been enforced. If someone reports a violation to us regarding misrepresentation of the number of bedrooms, they are currently referred to their local association (ARMLS is a large regional MLS made up of several Realtor(R) associations) to file an ethics complaint if they are so inclined.
If we were to have a definition I am unsure how we could enforce it as we will not go out to personally visit the properties. It seems to be a he said, she said issue.
Our MLS Committee is currently reviewing the bedroom issue and I am looking for any input on the matter.
Do any of your MLSs define bedroom in the Rules, and if so how is it enforced?
 
******
 
I have been a realtor and investor for a number of years. When listing or rehabbing a property we have always followed the philosophy that a bedroom had to have a separate entrance door and a closet to qualify for a bedroom that was located above ground. If the room was to be treated as a bedroom and it was below grade (ground level) then it still had to have the closet and door, and "also" an egress window for escape from danger such as fire. When I am wearing the listing agent hat, I would prefer to be more cautious and simply identify the space below grade or basement as finished basement or finished lower level, especially in view of what a law suit happy world we operate. If I am representing the buyer, I would definitely caution them about use of rooms below grade and to check with local township or city building departments for building and zoning requirements. An additional thought would be is what does the local appraiser use for guidelines when determining the amount of bedrooms in a home. I also recall an appraiser once telling me that you cannot walk through one bedroom and into another room and call both a bedroom, that each bedroom had to have a separate entrance from a common area such as the hallway.
 
Bill Janiga
Realtor - Investor
RE/MAX Home Sale Services
1200 South Sheldon Road
Suite 200
Plymouth, MI 48170
734-564-2729
 
 
 
 
 
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Don Cook Licensed Real Estate Agent,  Plano,  TX

Date: September 21, 2008

 

RE: Number of bedrooms.
The definition I use (and all of the other agents I know is; A bedroom has a closet and a door to a hall or common area. It cannot be used as a corridor or only entrance to another room or area.
Don Cook
ABR, GRI, e-PRO®
Plano, TX
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Date: September 22, 2008

We do not provide a definition of what makes a room a bedroom. If an agent calls asking whether or not a room in a property they are listing is a bedroom, we suggest they contact the town where the property is listed.

Reply: According to the housing shows on HGTV, a room has to have a closet to be considered a "bedroom"….

Beverlee C. Beers, AE, Downeast MLS, Ellsworth, ME., AE@downeastmls.com

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Paul Kriewall Real Estate Association Staff,  Tempe,  AZ

Date: September 23, 2008

Thank you everyone for the great response. 

It looks like ARMLS is going to try to define several things including bedroom.  The definitions will serve as guidelines to our suscribers.  The items will more than likely not carry fines for straying from the definition, as many of the items will be near impossible to enforce. 

It seems the bedroom issue varies greatly from not only state to state, but between cities and even neighborhoods.

Thanks again for the wonderful participation.  Let's take on year built next.  Its not cut and dry as many would think.  But alas that is for another day and another thread!

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Robert King Licensed Real Estate Broker,  Saint Petersburg,  FL

Date: September 29, 2008

 

I have to laugh just to keep from crying?
"According to the housing shows on HGTV, a room has to have a closet to be considered a "bedroom"…."
I always thought a bedroom was defined by having a bed to sleep in, a night stand for a clock/radio and lamp to read by and a closet to put your stuff in?
Maybe I'm old fashioned, but that's what my bedroom looks like.  Maybe people could sleep in the hall we could call that the bedroom or we could get real creative and move the bed to the garage and call that the bedroom.  I remember one time I sold this 7 room house to a family of 5.  For all intents and purposes it really had 2 bedrooms with a closet in each.  It also had an enclosed porch with closets and enclosed garage with closets. If I recollect the baby didn't need a bedroom. They made do.  It also came with the usual suspects a bath, kitchen and living room with closet, where uncle Nick used to come over and sleep on the couch after beating his wife. For all intents and purposes they turned that 2 bedroom house into a 5 bedroom house with closets coming out the Yazoo.  I got real creative with these prospects; I painted this pictured of a 5 bedrooms house for the price of 2.  What a bargain in the early 80s.  That's all they could afford I needed the sale! Interest rates were already at 16% I had to lock'm in or let them "think about it"!  Can you imagine 7 rooms, 5 of which they slept in all under 1000 sq.ft.  No dead air in that house.  Talk about utilizing every square inch.  You gotta get creative when it comes to counting bedrooms and finding a workable deal.  That was back before Alt-A loans, when buyers had to verify they had a job with credit.  My my how times have changed.  Isn't it amazing what you can do with OTHER PEOPLE'S MONEY?  Like $85,000,000,000 worth!  Or like $700,000,000,000 give or take a billion or two.  I learned a long time ago that a picture in the mind of the beholder overcomes all the "I wanna think about its".  Maybe someday we'll begin to exercise our critical thinking skills instead of always knee jerking to the urgency of the moment.  We've all been lead to believe that timing is of essence when it pertains to real estate transactions and bailouts.
 
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Neal Adler, gri,abr, e-Pro Licensed Real Estate Agent,  Studio City,  CA

Date: October 3, 2008

You can ask any appraiser, for a room to be considered a bedroom it has to have a closet. This is nothing new.
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Date: October 3, 2008

Robert

September 29, 2008 10:57 AM

I have to laugh just to keep from crying?

"According to the housing shows on HGTV, a room has to have a closet to be considered a "bedroom"…."

I always thought a bedroom was defined by having a bed to sleep in, a night stand for a clock/radio and lamp to read by and a closet to put your stuff in?

REPLY:

Thanks for my first laugh of the day, Robert. That was really "creative" selling on your part getting that family into a 2-bedroom home…

Beverlee C. Beers, AE, e-PRO

Hancock-Washington Board of REALTORS®

Downeast Multiple Listing Service, Inc.

Ellsworth, Maine

AE@hwbor.com

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Julia Maynor Licensed Real Estate Agent,  Waldorf,  MD

Date: October 5, 2008

This is sooo funny and yes creative. I once showed a home to a person and it stated on listing it was 3 bedrooms however it was actually 2 master bedrooms and the listing agent stated if the person wants 3 bedrooms then they can change it around for she was listing it as a 3 bedroom based on the original floor plan of the house not what the owners had did so is this right?

 

Also I was told a bedroom must have a window , closet and bed-smile.

Are bedrooms in Basement consirdered bedrooms? Thanks and talk soon.

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