Real Estate: California/Bedroom Count



Hi.  We are in San Mateo and bought our 2BR 1.75BA in '93.  It was built in '26.  The issue is that really it's a 2BR 1BA and a closet had been converted to a shower/sink/wc - not permitted I'm sure.  If we wanted to sell today (with the current lending environment) would we likely be able to do so without tearing out the unapproved bathroom?  Not really looking to sell at this time but wanting to understand that aspect of our property better.  Thank you!

Hi Michael.

Thank you for your question. It is a very good one to consider prior to putting your home on the market.  The quick answer is:  In this market most anything will sell!  

As you may already know, in markets where there are many more sellers than buyers the buyers can become much more demanding. They may ask that you remedy the count to match the county records prior to escrow closing. This could mean going through the permit process - which could include opening walls, floors and ceiling for inspectors to see the plumbing, wiring and construction. Or, it could mean removing the addition entirely.

Lenders are generally accepting of non-permitted additions if the work has been done in 'a workmanship type manner'. This translates to; the addition appears to have been done by a professional. The ceiling is high enough, the window/s have the right egress, the door opens all the way without bumping into the toilet, etc. You will most likely not get 'credit' for the extra .75 bath on the appraisal. And, if the square footage for the bath was added, versus using part of the home's original footprint, you will not get 'credit' for the square footage either.

The rule here is: The County records are king.  If there are any other records that need to be cleared up prior to your home going on the market now is the time to take care of them.  Examples of this would be the square footage of your lot, a name on the deed that no longer has rights to your property, utility line access that has been added or removed, etc.

Please let me know if this does not adequately answer your question, Michael. And, I sincerely hope you keep me in mind when you're ready to move forward!  

My best,

Real Estate: California

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Kathryn Hisert; Realtor


Everyone deserves an answer! My rounded background will provide you with information beyond ‘just’ buying and selling. I can answer questions regarding short sales, foreclosures, deed-in-lieu, home staging, vintage home related concerns, most mortgage related questions, and divorcing couples’ housing options. I am a research oriented individual who strongly believes in connecting all the dots and providing as much, or as little, information and communication my clients want or need. My expertise is in San Diego and Santa Clara Counties.


I started in the mortgage industry in January 2002. In November 2004 I earned my real estate license. The combined experience has provided me with experience within multi-faceted programs including, FHA, VA, 'hard money', private financing, short sales, foreclosures and conventional lending programs and purchasing guidelines. My clients experienced a 'one-stop shop'. Since July of 2010 I have concentrated strictly on being a Realtor with niche markets in vintage homes and divorcing couples.

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