Does converting Den to Bedroom increase value?

We are looking at a 2250 sq ft house that has 3 bedrooms / 2 baths upstairs and LR, DR, Kitchen, half bath and Den on main floor. Den does not have closets.

Will adding a closet to the den convert it into a bedroom? I am always confused about what’s officially a den vs bedroom.
If we do convert the den to a bedroom, will it increase the value of the house? No sq ft addition but the configuration will change from a 3 bed/ 2.5 bath with den to 4 bed / 2.5 bath with no den.
When it comes time to sell (timeframe TBD), does this conversion need to be reported to the county to officially classify the house a 4 bed/ 2.5 bath for RE listing?


You need a closet to be a bedroom.


Does the den have a window? To me, in Fab 7x7, no closet is not the biggie but at least have a window for ventilation and possible fire escape…

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Right. Bedroom needs escape route so at least the den needs to have a window already. I think converting den to bedroom will increase house value. You have a bigger pool of buyer.

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You also have a bigger pool of buyers because many buyers look for a bedroom on the main floor due to an elderly relative who can’t climb the stairs easily.


Yes, the den does have a window.

That’s another reason to consider the conversion. However, since main floor only has half bath, whoever uses that bedroom would still need to climb the stairs once a day!

So, back to the last question:

Can the den be converted to bedroom by simply installing a closet without taking any permits and still list it as a bedroom when it eventually comes time to sell?

When it is not reflecting in county site, then it has usage value , but that does not have real sale value.

Unpermitted addition will have issue when selling, adding more pressure as lenders won’t recognize the addition. All you need say is bonus room!

If you are looking for real sale value , would recommend permit.


In such scenarios, what’s the best approach if primary focus is adding to resale value? Add closet now but report it to county for permit before selling (whenever that is)?

Can you get a permit for this type of simple modification (just adding a closet) years after the work is done?

You want to do the permitting sooner rather than later. Rules always get stricter over time. If you wait you may need to do a whole lot more than just adding closet. Even now do you need to add sprinkler? How about hard-wired smoke alarms? It will keep getting worse. Don’t wait.


Good advice. I hadn’t thought of this aspect. So, only downside is some increase to property tax after getting permits. However, this would be the easiest no-hassle route.

Permit means you need to apply to county/city to approve modifications. This is upfront activity, but not after the fact.

They charge you application fee, inspection fee and they will come to inspect whether modifications are in code etc. This involves some design, drawing etc.

If county/city does not allow you to modify, you can not perform the work!

Challenge is small work, many people may not be available for help. You need to identify right person to do the contract work.

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Just to throw it out there, in the event you want to keep the place as a rental I have found that millennials and other young folks were not deterred from treating such a room as a bedroom anyway. In our SF flats, the tenants decided to use what was the living room (no closet) as a bedroom instead. They simply used something from say IKEA for stand alone closet.

I’ve applied for permit to do something after the fact and then just waited 2 months to say project was done to come and inspect and it worked out fine…this is obviously assuming they will approve the work but I can’t imagine adding a closet would be something to reject - mine was installing AC/Heating system in entire house


I can’t imagine getting a permit to add a closet to a room. You are just adding some lumber and drywall and putting on a door. No electrical or plumbing. If you can’t do it yourself hire a handyman. If you can do it, spend your day off doing it. It may cut into the time you have to talk here. :grinning:

Personally, I probably would leave it alone and just use an armoire if closet space is needed. When and if you sell, sure, technically it may not come across as an extra bedroom so that you get the technical bump in value but I would like to think the buyer(s) will see in fact what you have there (essentially another bedroom). And of course you will def advertise it as a bonus room anyway.

I can get by with the armoire for sure.

However, when it comes time to sell, I would like to advertise the house as a 4 bed so it shows up in searches where people are looking for 4+ bed houses. That will give a bigger buyer pool. And, of course, any comps or algorithmic price estimates will price higher due to 4 beds vs 3.

So the line of thinking right now is that if I would do that when it comes time to sell, why not do it now itself.

From all the inputs, I understand that I cannot advertise the place as 4 beds when selling unless county records are updated and county records can only be updated by taking a permit. Is this correct?

I converted a den to bedroom last October. Did it myself. Hung a door. Some drywall paint baseboard. Easy. Turned a three bedroom to a four bedroom. Probably added $200/month in rent value and $30k in sales value. Don’t care about the permit added value. Had an existing exterior door and a window.


You can advertise it as a four bedroom that hasn’t the benefit of a permit. Might affect the appraisal but not buyer interest

So it can still appear as a 4 bed listing on MLS?
I always assumed MLS listing records have to match county records. Maybe not?

No you can put whatever you want as long as you explain it. Many buyers don’t care about the county’s blessing. In fact I know many DC buyers that look only for unpermitted second units because they are cheaper. In this case I doubt it will affect the value.