Hidden Bedrooms, almost Free

Maybe this belongs in Rehabbing, Etc.?

I am looking to buy a FSBO duplex, 2 1-bedrooms, nicely furnished and rehabbed. Attached to the one unit is the owner’s workshop/storage room. We took an inside look at it and realized that that is a second bedroom! It just needs a window popped into one wall, and a little finish work. The sales price, of course will be for a duplex of 1-bedroom units.

Our 2-bedroom units are harder to rent out, but they are way more profitable. We usually get $20/day more for a 2-bedroom.

That has made us look at all our properties. Where are those other hidden bedrooms? One triplex unit just needs a doorway cut from the kitchen to a spare room to make it a second bedroom. We put up a soundproof hallway wall to the other side of the duplex, and convert the large entry to a bedroom.

Moved a door, put in a window, changed the floorplan. Now both units have 2 bedrooms.

One extra-long living room just got cut in half and that made the second bedroom. Bedrooms are CHEAP to add, unlike kitchen and bathroom re-dos. Bedrooms just need a door, a window, and a little closet space. Bedrooms can be created for a few hundred dollars.

Study your units. FIND THE EXTRA BEDROOM, it is money in your pocket.


Ohh yeah I like that thinking!!! Great idea to possibly increase the value of a house.

Does something like that change taxes on your property? Would you have to report the changing of 3 bedrooms to 4 bedrooms on your taxes right away that year legally for property taxes?

Some places will have code enforcement where you would have to pull permits. If you did that, then you better believe the county assessor would raise the assessment of your house resulting in higher taxes.
I have one sect 8 house that I bought as a 2 bedroom. It has an extra room between the living area and laundry room that has those two doors and a couple windows, but no closet space. I’m renting it as a 3 bedroom on sect 8. There’s no closet, but that’s not a requirement here for sect 8.
Great idea, just think about all that goes into it to make it legal.

Code enforcement, what is that?

We are in the lawless West here, boys, we ARE West of the Pecos.

A lot of property is sold traditionally here as “Single Family Residence with Guest House”. This is because units financing is difficult to get.

I bought one of those SFR with guest house. It was actually 5 units. The assessor called me, scratching her head, “We will need to tax you if you have more units. Call us when you get them finished.”

They won’t be finished for a LOOOONG time… what is finished, exactly?

So if you are in an area with flexible, ah, rules, then just find more bedrooms. If you are in an area with strict code enforcement–like San Francisco–do what you must do to be legal at all times. Memorize that darned rule book.


Codes are just for others…? LOL


No, not just for others. Just a little more flexible. Here the code inspector is also the guy who does housing inspections. He knows that I only do licensed electrical and plumbing, don’t use handymen for those jobs. So I am left alone, turn in my own final paperwork if I do it.

I guess it’s a matter of local custom and conditions.

A while back we had a big-time contractor from a very large New Jersey firm stay with us. He had gotten the bid to build a new medical building, the first for his company in this area.

He was astonished at some of our housing stock. I drove him around one day as we looked at a couple of the older neighborhoods, “There is NOTHING in New Jersey that old and unrenovated,” he said. “Just look at those houses–the adobe brick is showing through like in a theme-park building, but it’s the real thing. That house over there has five different kinds of roofing material on it!”

He saw for the first time how asphalt shingle roofs look with 40 years or 50 years on them, the way all the shingles curl up, almost organic. Metal roof porches, and all the add-on rooms and lean-to’s done by the local homeowners. For years and years. With no permits. With never a thought to a code. Just building as cheaply as possible to house their families, using local and recycled materials, and relatives for labor.

I have internalized our local architecture, the wonderful thrown-together, built for function houses. One of our stone and adobe buildings has a big piece of truck chassis as a main support beam. One has a shower built with concrete arches under a skylight. Some buildings have no closets. Closets, when added, jut out from a wooden building like an appendage supported on stilts. Bedrooms can be 6 x 7.

When I visit a modern, glossy city with rows of lovely manicured condos, streets of McMansions, whole suburbs of standard 2-car garages with lawns in front, after a while, the back of my neck starts to itch. My shoulders tense up. Stress sets in. I get short-tempered and can’t breathe right.

Finally I figured out that it’s just me. I gotta have crooked walls, narrow doors, blowing dust and crumbling adobe. Cactus, rocks and blue sky. Gotta be able to do things my way. Gotta have home.