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Steve, Home Seller in Mercer County, NJ

Should I convert our fist floor dining room into a bedroom?

Asked by Steve, Mercer County, NJ Mon Jan 7, 2008

We're thinking of selling our cape style home. Should we convert our dining room into a fist floor "master" bedroom in order to make it more appealing to buyers since it is closer to the only bathroom in the house? upstairs we have two small bedrooms and downstairs there is another small bedroom that we use as a study. So, right now there are no bedrooms on the first floor. All of these rooms have closets so they are technically bedrooms, right?

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We did it and I LOVE IT! There was a very very small bedroom downstairs...next to our formal dining room which was WAY TOO LARGE! The entire room is 34x15. So we divided the room with a partition wall and lovely pocket doors...broke through the wall into the other small bedroom..now my husband has his office space and I have a much large Master bedroom which is attached to the downstairs full bath!

We turned out 3 bedroom home into a four bedroom with a den! Plus I still have a "normal size" dining room!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jan 15, 2016
yes, we do have 4 areas - a living room, a kitchen, a small room (now a study), and a dining room (the one we want to convert to a master bedroom). When we bought the house it was listed as 3/4 bedrooms, 1 bath. The people before us had a nursery in the small bedroom (study) and their master bedroom was what we now use as a dining room. So you see why I want to convert it back to a master bedroom? Our bedroom is now upstairs and we have a nursery in the other upstairs bedroom.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jan 7, 2008
A lot depends on what housebuyers are looking for in your area. So, right now, you have a 3/1--two bedrooms up, one down? Again, it comes back to what people want and expect.

First, many capes have 4 areas on the first floor--a kitchen, a living room, a dining room, and another room. Often, that "other" room is used as a master bedroom. But yours doesn't have that? Just a kitchen, dining room, and living room?

I'd be hesitant to eliminate the dining room. On the other hand, most people do expect a bath next to the bedroom. That's why I say it depends on what's expected in your community? Are dining rooms important? Or number of bedrooms? If you add another bedroom, you'll now have a 4/1, which really cries out for a second bath.

Ideally, what you ought to consider is adding a bath (or at least a half bath) upstairs. That way, the two small bedrooms become usable, or you can turn those small bedrooms into a master suite. In most areas, 2 bath homes are far more desirable than 1 bath homes. Check with a Realtor who knows your area to determine the cost-effectiveness of adding a bath on the second floor.

Regarding what's classified as a bedroom, different jurisdictions have different definitions. Generally, though, a bedroom must also have a window large enough to crawl through. The size itself is specified by the jurisdiction--ie, 18" x 24"--but the concept is that in the event of an emergency the window could be used as an exit. Again, though, it varies by city and county. On the other hand, even if your basement room doesn't qualify as a bedroom (and thus couldn't be advertised as one), when you sell it could be staged however you wish--as a study, home-office, or bedroom.

Again, your best bet is to talk with an interview several Realtors who know your area and know what buyers are looking for.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jan 7, 2008
Don Tepper, Real Estate Pro in Burke, VA
MVP'08
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Steve - my gut reaction is no but I have not seen the home - maybe it would work - you really need to get a few agents to walk through the home and give their honest assessment about whether it might work. In my opinion, the typical Buyer of a Cape Cod may want a Dining Room because they are looking for a more traditional home - in Denver there are tons of older homes that do not have master bathrooms and frequently they sell faster than the larger homes in the suburbs that have huger master suites.

As to the bedroom question, your local MLS probably has a definition for what qualifies as a bedroom and a local Realtor could help you. Our local "bedroom" definition means it has a closet and an egress window. Nonetheless, I have gone into homes with Buyers that supposedly were 4 bedroom homes and the Buyer has asked me where the 4th bedroom was because they did not view the room the Seller/Realtor was calling a bedroom as really a bedroom - Buyers are smart and I would recommend "under promise and over deliver" as opposed to the opposite. Creative wording in the marketing can convey the necessary image - good luck with your sale.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jan 7, 2008
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