The Big Differences Between a One-Bedroom Apartment and a Studio Apartment

Vivi Perucho Realtor in Phoenix, Arizona

Apartment shoppers have likely seen the terms “studio” and “one-bedroom” in listings, but given that a studio is one room, what truly distinguishes the two?

The conventional wisdom is that a one-bedroom has an enclosed sleeping space and a studio apartment does not, but when it comes to labeling a listing, things can get tricky.

What are the main differences between a one-bedroom and a studio? Here’s what the experts say.

What is a one-bedroom apartment?

Photo by Martha O’Hara Interiors

Each state has its own set of laws that define a bedroom, but generally, a one-bedroom apartment will have a single room that:

  • Is 70 or 80 square feet, at a minimum
  • Has at least two ways out
  • Has a ceiling at least half of which is at least 7 feet tall
  • Has a window of at least 5.7 square feet
  • Has a way to heat or cool down the room (i.e. a heater, air conditioning, or simply a window that can be opened)

One-bedroom apartments also typically contain a kitchenette or separate kitchen, a living room, a bathroom, and a closet.

What is a studio apartment?

A common studio apartment does not have a bedroom that is separate from the living room or kitchen.

“The living space and the bedroom space are joined as one,” says Sharon Lewonski, partner and real estate practice chair of the Culhane Meadow law firm.

Typically, the bathroom is the only other room in a studio apartment.

Some studios feature a loft sleeping area, but because the area doesn’t have any of these elements of a one-bedroom highlighted above—or four walls separating it from the rest of the apartment—it can’t be considered a bedroom.

Photo by Jordan Parnass Digital Architecture

Studios usually feature some type of closet and a separate kitchen, or at least a kitchenette.

And while some people assume a studio apartment is a small dwelling, there is no square footage requirement for a studio apartment.

“They can be quite large,” Lewonski says.

Other names for studio apartments

“Studio” is the most common name associated with this type of apartments, which are also called “studio flats” or “studio lofts,” but they can also be referred to as “efficiency apartments,” “bachelor apartments,” or “live/work spaces.”

“There is a trend in more recent years to call a studio an ‘open one-bedroom,’ where the difference would be a sleeping alcove that wouldn’t qualify as a bedroom, due to lack of door or ingress/egress space,” says Ian Gordon, a real estate broker and principal at Get Happy at Home in Seattle.

Efficiency apartments or bachelor apartments vary slightly from studio apartments in that a studio apartment features full-size appliances.

“An efficiency apartment or bachelor apartment may just have a range and a mini-fridge,” says Lewonski. “It’s going to be similar to an extended-stay hotel room.”

If you happen to stumble across a live/work space, that means the office is probably on the ground floor and the living or sleeping space is upstairs.

5 Home Staging Ideas That Work Wonders During Winter

Vivi Perucho Realtor in Phoenix, Arizona

Winter is the time of year when most home buyers, like bears, retreat to their own cozy homes and hibernate. So what if you have a house you must sell right now, winter be damned?

Despite what you’ve heard, winter can actually work to a home seller’s advantage. With fewer homes on the market, it’s easier to stand out with some home staging—i.e., a few little tweaks to presentation that make your place shine like that crown jewel you know it can be.

So before you throw up your hands and take a home-selling hiatus, try these home-staging ideas for the winter months to make your house stand out.

Don’t skimp on curb appeal

If you live in a snowy climate, you know there’s little you can do about the white stuff piling up outside. But you can stay on top of your yard maintenance, so buyers have an easy path to your front door and walk away with a feeling that your place is easy to maintain. Shoveling the driveway and paths to your home is a must. And you’ll want to clean out your gutters, so ice isn’t backing up and giving the impression that you have roofing issues.

You can also add some winter-themed outdoor decor.

“I love putting evergreens next to the door and on the porch,” says Rebekah Scott, real estate broker for Atlas Real Estate Group in Denver, CO. “Everyone knows how elegant evergreens look with snow on them, so it’s a good way to really showcase the snow.”

If you can, now’s also the time to make sure your front door has a fresh coat of paint. A bright, colorful front door will stand out all the more in the snow, and that can really wow your buyer.

Turn up the heat

Many homeowners like to keep the thermostat set down in the 60s to save on their heating bills, but you don’t want a potential buyer to think they’re visiting a house that’s hard to heat.

“A cold house can hurt the sale,” explains Scott. “When a buyer enters the house and wants to hurry up and get out of there because it is so chilly, it probably means they are going to have a bad memory associated with the home, no matter how great it is. You want to provide a warm and inviting environment so buyers will want to take their time and linger. ”

To make buyers feel they’re right at home, turn up the thermostat. You’ll also want to fix any drafty spots around the house. You may be fine shoving a towel under the front door to keep the cold air out, but buyers will not look kindly on linens on your floor, or a chilly breeze on their feet.

Fire up the fireplace

Not only is it a good way to ensure the house feels warm, but making use of the fireplace is a good way to show off a great feature of your home.

“I love when a home has a fireplace, and I can highlight that feature by turning it on during open houses,” says Scott. Whether it’s wood-burning or you have gas logs in that fireplace, by lighting that fire, you’re giving potential buyers a window into what it would be like to cuddle on the couch with a cup of hot cocoa and their feet in front of the fire.

“Hitting all of the buyer’s senses creates a memorable experience that will hopefully lead to them purchasing the home,” she adds.

No fireplace? Play up the warm ambience with candles, fur throws, and other items that give off cozy vibes.

Add seasonal scents

It’s always wise to clean your house and make the place smell nice and fresh, but the winter months are a time to focus on seasonal scents, Scott says. That means mulling seasonal spices such as oranges, cloves, and cinnamon on the stove, to go along with freshly baked holiday cookies cooling on a rack in the kitchen.

Music should also be seasonal, though not too heavy on the silly Santa songs. Scott suggests some smooth jazz that evokes the festive feel of holiday entertaining.

It’s not a bad idea to have hot coffee on hand, says Dale Schaechterle, broker/owner at Realty Executives Integrity in Milwaukee, WI. Not only will it cut the cold, but it can boost the mood of potential buyers.

Pump up the holiday decor

You don’t want to turn your home into the real-life version of Clark Griswold’s over-the-top house in “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation,” but Aaron Bowman, of Mazz Real Estate in Tolland, CT, says the holidays can actually make it easier to sell a home, if you decorate well.

“The main reason is that buyers like to picture themselves in the home hosting holiday get-togethers, and it’s much easier to show them the potential of a house when it’s decorated for the winter months,” he says.

He recommends a big wreath with a bright red bow on the front door and some (electric or battery-operated) candles in the windows. Avoid blow-up lawn decorations or anything over-the-top or garish inside and out, favoring the sort of classic decor you’d expect to see on a greeting card.

And if the holidays are over, and you’re still showing your home, remove the decor immediately! Got that?

Should You Buy a House With Roof Damage? The Surprising Benefits—and Challenges

Vivi Perucho Realtor in Phoenix, Arizona

For most home shoppers, any mention of roof damage is enough to send them sprinting in the opposite direction. Buyers who are not in the market for a fixer-upper are typically trying to nab a house in the best possible condition, and roof damage can be seriously costly to repair.

But should a faulty roof scare you off, or does it present an opportunity to negotiate the price of the home? Consider these factors before making a decision.

How bad is the damage?

The extent of the roofing damage is one factor that should help sway your decision.

“If some or all of the shingles have been blown off during a one-time event like a tornado, hurricane, or tree collapse because of a storm, then correcting any structural damage and replacing the shingles should suffice,” says Frank Lesh, former president and executive director of the American Society of Home Inspectors.

The problem with roofing damage, however, is that it can be more extensive than it appears.

“Be aware that a bad roof could lead to other issues such as ceiling drywall, insulation, or even structural replacement,” says Shawn Breyer, owner of Breyer Home Buyers in Atlanta. And these additional issues can add to the cost of fixing the roof.

Are you getting an FHA loan?

Buyers who plan on using a Federal Housing Administration loan to finance the house can end up putting down as little as 3.5%. But to be approved for the FHA loan, the property must be in livable and insurable condition, and the buyer must have secured property insurance before closing.

To get property insurance, the insurance company will require a four-point inspection, which covers electrical, plumbing, HVAC, and the roof’s condition and life expectancy, according to Juan Rojas, licensed real estate broker at JPR International Real Estate in Miami.

“Typically, if the roof doesn’t have at least three years of life expectancy, an insurance company won’t be able to insure it,” he says.

Therefore, if you’re planning on getting an FHA loan, trying to buy a home with roof damage might be more trouble than it’s worth.

What if it’s just an old roof?

Perhaps there’s no proven damage to the roof; maybe it’s just really old, like, 20 years old. The life span of your roof is determined by the material it’s made of and the weather conditions in your area. Slate, copper, and tile roofs can last 50 years or longer; wood shake roofs last about 30 years; fiber cement shingles last 25 years; and asphalt shingle roofs last about 20 years, according to the National Association of Home Builders.

Home buyers shouldn’t necessarily shy away from a home with an older roof, Lesh says.

“It would depend on the quality of the workmanship and materials, and whether any signs of abnormal wear are visible,” he says. “For example, a 20-year-old undamaged, clay tile roof in  Phoenix Metro Area is more likely to last longer than a brand-new composite shingle roof in the same area.”

Should you buy a home with roof damage?

Ultimately the decision is yours; however, most of the experts we spoke to believe that problems with a roof should not deter you from purchasing a house—as long as there are stipulations.

“As long as the damage has been or will be repaired, there should be no problem buying a house with a roof that has been damaged,” says Lesh.

Maya Madison, a real estate agent at Keller Williams Realty in Metairie, LA, believes you should absolutely consider buying a house with roof problems.

“During the inspection period, get a quote from a licensed contractor to repair or replace” the roof, she says. “Either the seller will agree to fix it before the act of sale, or take the amount off the purchase price.”

And if you don’t agree with the seller’s decision, Madison says you can cancel the contract during the inspection period.

However, if you decide to proceed with the purchase, Breyer warns against letting the sellers make the repairs. He advises buyers to get their own quotes and then negotiate the price down based on the amount it will cost to repair or replace the roof.

“The sellers’ goal would be to save money, meaning that they are going to hire the cheapest contractor, and you might end up with a roof repair that is lacking in quality,” Breyer says.