Basement Bedrooms

An ongoing issue, realtors adding a “basement bedroom” without required egress as a bedroom in the listing. I do explain the egress requirements to the clients during the inspection and in the report. What I do not understand is how the agents are allowed to list these basement rooms as bedrooms. Also have the same issue on occasion with older townhomes that have a center “bedroom” with no window. How are other inspectors reporting these unqualified bedrooms?

It’s not our job to qualify or disqualify a bedroom. We are looking for defects. Lack of egress would be one, so I would note it and go on. Let the appraiser define if it’s a bedroom or not.

Exactly…if it has a closet and can be used as a bedroom, I report the lack of egree as needed.

Report the lack of emergency escape or rescue window or exterior door opening for emergency escape and rescue.

It is not your job. That is for an Appraiser or Building Official to determine what is Non Conforming or Not Code. Report on Safe and Sanitary conditions.

Have you ever seen the aftermath of basement bedroom fire and removed the bodies of children from the area. I will continue to REPORT IT EVERY TIME I found one.

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We can certainly identify when a room is NOT a bedroom.

You would not want to identify a room as a bedroom that had no (or insufficiently sized) window, no source of heat or opened into a garage.

Clarification: The finished basement section in all of my reports have a Basement Bedroom Requirements section. I summarize the current basement sleeping room building and safety standards derived from the IRC code. Note: The word code is never in my reports. The point of the post is to expose the conflict between a realtor and/or appraiser evaluation of a bedroom and our knowledge of the egress requirements. It would be beneficial if the home listings truly reflected the actual number of legitimate bedrooms.

Here the comment I often use :“I am not a code inspector and determining if your home meets current local code falls outside InterNACHI’s Standards of Practice. However, it appears to me that this home may have an emergency exit safety issue in the basement bedroom. I recommend that you contact the local building code official for more information and consider addressing this issue if you plan on using the room as a sleeping area.” This was taken from Nachi


I use that same comment. Like I said before, I would comment on the safety issue of egress. Defining if the room is technically a bedroom or not isn’t our job. Nor is it the REALTORS job. They are listing a home and are documenting what is there for the description. If the home owners have a bedroom in the basement, that’s what they list. It’s the code enforcement officials, and the appraiser who makes the call. We observe and report, and the above comment is exactly what we are supposed to do. If the client listens to that, there won’t be an issue of anyone having to pull a dead kid out in case of a fire.

Remember, it’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.