While it might sound like some game show feature where you pick the correct door to open to win an exciting prize, a bonus room is actually best defined by what it is not: It typically does not have a closet. It might not even have a door, windows, or all four walls. The ceiling might be lower than standard in places, so you have to watch your head.
In other words, a bonus room might lack the comforts of a traditional room. It is typically found in attics, above garages, or in other forgotten spaces. Nonetheless, bonus rooms have their benefits. First and foremost, it's extra space, even it it doesn't count as a bedroom because it lacks those roomlike features. Plus, it doesn't count as a room on your property taxes , which are lower as a result. So, a bonus room can offer a "Bonus" in square footage without the financial costs.
What can you do with a bonus room?
Depending on the size, shape, and location of a bonus room, it could be used as a crafts room, office, playroom, library, exercise room, teen/tween escape pod, or a combination of these.
Another term for this versatile space is a "flex room." Add a TV, some shelves, and a sofa, and this narrow space with a sloped ceiling becomes a media room.
Bonus room questions and concerns;
“There was no door at the top of the staircase. You just popped into the nicely finished open space,” she says. While the space was filled with natural light and had a vaulted ceiling, the feedback she got from prospective buyers was, “Why didn’t the bonus room have a door? If it had a door, it would feel more like a true room since it was on the upper level.” The realtor believes it would have been easy to add that door, and that it would have made a difference.
So if you have a bonus room or want one, consider making any roomlike renovations that would make it more comfortable and appealing—to yourself and others. As the realtor points out, a room above an unheated garage will be colder than other upper-level rooms.
“Considerations you’d want to plan for include an effective and efficient HVAC system, perhaps with added insulation, ventilation, and/or ductwork to ensure for a comfortable and useful room," she says. "You’d also want to have windows for light as well as for egress purposes, with fire safety in mind.”
Prospective buyers of a home with a bonus room will want to check local tax laws to find out if they will be paying for an actual room or if this one will fly under the radar, legally speaking. Plus, if you plan to renovate it, you'll want to know how adding a closet, wall, door, or window might affect how it's defined—and taxed.