Video tours have quickly become the norm in the COVID-19 era as a safe way to get a closer look at the house you want to see in person. And while no doubt the kitchen and living room are high on your list to check out, the bedroom deserves more than a passing glance.
After all, a bedroom isn’t just a place to catch some zzz’s; it’s also a place that can function as a retreat or a quiet workspace. For your kids, it’s a room to play, do homework, and host sleepovers. And sure, a bedroom’s size and closet space are important—but they’re not the only things you should ask to see during a video tour. In fact, glossing over the bedroom could mean huge peeves after you buy—or worse, real problems that cost you money.
Here are some potential issues you might find hiding in the boudoir.
1. It might not actually be a bedroom
“Many listings will call a bonus room a bedroom even if it does not have a closet and a window, which is technically not correct, ” says John Gluch, founder of the Gluch Group in Scottsdale, AZ.
The legal requirements for classifying a room as a bedroom vary by state. Still, while taking the video tour, you should verify that bedrooms have a door and a window as two means of escape in an emergency.
The ceiling should be tall enough for a person to comfortably stand, and the square footage sufficient to accommodate a bed.
Be sure to ask your agent if the room is legally considered a bedroom.
2. There’s no privacy
Have your agent scan the windows and sills to check their condition. Take note of features such as triple-pane or tilt-and-turn windows.
Finally, check the view.
“You’ll want to know if a large, beautiful window in the master bedroom lacks privacy and looks right into a neighbor’s yard,” says Jennifer Smith, a Realtor® with Southern Dream Homes in Wake Forest, NC.
3. The fixtures and outlets are dated or in bad shape
“Buyers’ eyes tend to naturally go toward the beautifully made bed with lots of accent pillows and the art hanging on the walls,” Smith says. “But it’s important to remember to look at the more permanent features of the room that you’ll have to live with day to day.”
Ask your agent to zoom in on things like the flooring, ceiling fan, light fixtures, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, and heating and cooling vents. Is there a radiator hiding behind the headboard or an air conditioner in the window?
Be sure to find out how many outlets are in the room. Older houses often have fewer outlets, and they may be the outdated, two-prong variety, which isn’t grounded.
4. The early morning sun will wake you up
Oodles of natural light is a coveted feature—unless the morning sunlight wakes you up hours before your alarm goes off.
“Many Realtors and home buyers who visit a property at varying times throughout the day unintentionally fail to consider what the exposure is like at 5:30 a.m. with the sunrise,” says Gluch.
Curtains and blinds are obvious solutions, but you may not want to cover windows that showcase a beautiful view or are placed high in a vaulted ceiling.
5. Your furniture won’t fit
Whether it’s a large master suite or a children’s bedroom, pay attention to how much furniture is in the room and how it’s arranged, Smith says.
“Staging declutters and depersonalizes a space as much as possible, so buyers should think about how their current belongings will fit or if they’d have to buy all-new furniture,” says Smith.
Ask the listing agent for the dimensions of the bed and/or dresser for comparison. But if the dresser is missing, it could mean the bedroom has a large closet with organizational options.
Ask to see inside all the closets, and make note of the size, shelves, and other organizational components.
6. The bedrooms are in an inconvenient location
It’s easy to get disoriented when you’re taking a live video tour, so “buyers shouldn’t forget to pay attention to where bedrooms are located in the house,” Smith advises.
Ask yourself how the locations of the bedroom will suit your lifestyle. Will you be more comfortable with the kids’ bedrooms on the same floor? Is the master suite adjacent to a busy living room or kitchen? Where are the bathrooms in reference to the bedrooms?
7. The master bathroom doesn’t offer separation
A spacious master suite isn’t just a place to rest your weary head at night. It’s your future dream retreat, where you can sink into a soothing bath or luxuriate in a rainfall shower. But if you want a bit of privacy, be mindful of how the master suite is laid out.
“Many people overlook the fact that there is not a door between the bedroom and the bathroom,” says Gluch. “Likewise, many floor plans now have a water closet—a small toilet room with a door—but do not have a door separating the bedroom from the rest of the bath.”
8. There might be potential safety hazards
If you’re looking at a multilevel home or a house with a bedroom in the basement, verify fire escape routes.
“Consider potential safety hazards such as how difficult it might be to drop a fire escape ladder out of an upstairs bedroom window or a ladder up from a basement bedroom,” says Gluch.
Basement bedrooms should have an egress window, and upper-floor windows should be clear of obstructions like trees or sections of the house that would make an emergency exit difficult.
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