One of the more confusing real estate terms for an apartment you will hear being used primarily in New York City is a junior 4 rental unit. It is not uncommon to find a junior 4 apartment being mislabeled or advertised as a two bedroom apartment, especially since they have an extra space that can serve as a bedroom. So what exactly can you expect from a junior 4 bedroom apartment and is worth your consideration?
What is a junior 4 apartment? A junior 4 apartment is a rental unit that essentially has four rooms: a kitchen, a living room, a bedroom, and a noticeably smaller windowless room which can be used as a sleeping area, an office, or a dining area. In some cases, the additional room is just an alcove.
There is usually a bathroom as well, but this is not counted as a room. The extra space in a junior 4 apartment is usually situated off of the living room, or as an alcove that is set back from the main hallway of the unit, somewhere between the kitchen and the rest of the space. Due to this layout, the extra room in junior 4 apartments is often used as a dining area, but it is more commonly used as a bedroom. However, this fourth room is usually smaller than the rest and it usually doesn’t have a door you can close. It also lacks a window, hence it can’t be advertised or rented as a two-bedroom apartment.
A junior 4 apartment is considered to be more versatile than a one bedroom apartment and is typically more affordable than a 2 bedroom apartment. It is a great choice if you want to upgrade from a one bedroom apartment but you can’t afford to move to an apartment with two full bedrooms.
The basics of a junior 4 apartment
A junior 4 bedroom apartment is a type of rental unit you will likely come across when apartment hunting in New York City. It is essentially a one bedroom apartment with a fourth room that can be used as you please. However, according to the law, this fourth room cannot be rented or sold as a second bedroom since it is significantly smaller than the required 70-80 square feet. Additionally, it does not have a window- in order for a room to be legally considered a bedroom, it has to have two means of egress, usually a door and a bedroom.
When you own a junior 4 apartment, one of the most common dilemmas is whether to list it as a two or one bedroom apartment. Unfortunately, there is no correct answer, and the best way to go about this predicament is by discussing it with both your real estate attorney and listing agent.
If you opt to list your unit as a two bedroom apartment when in reality it is a junior 4, you may end up misleading buyers who are actually seeking a true two bedroom apartment. On the other hand, choosing to list your unit as a two bedroom potentially makes it visible to buyers who are seeking a junior 4 but may have never come across your listing if it was listed as a one bedroom unit. Whatever your decision in terms of listing your junior 4, make sure that you are thorough and honest in how you describe it so as not to confuse interested parties.
Covering the entrance of the extra room
The entrance of the extra room in a junior 4 apartment usually doesn’t have a door. This may be an issue especially when you have people over and you don’t want them sneaking peeks into this room. Fortunately, there are various ways you can conceal the entrance:
- A removable screen – A removable screen is a great way to conceal the fourth room. Your choice of the removable screen will depend on how big the doorway is, as well as your personal style and your needs.
- A curtain – Using a curtain is a cheap and easy option of covering the extra space in a junior 4 apartment. You can easily draw a curtain to open or close the room for a measure of privacy.
- A paned glass wall – This option is more suitable if the extra room is more of an alcove. A paned glass wall successfully separates the alcove from the living space and still allows natural light into the room.
- A bookshelf wall – This is a great way to conceal the extra alcove space in a junior 4 apartment. A bookshelf wall is a form of temporary wall that includes attached shelving that you can use for extra storage. Depending on the size of your apartment and style preferences, there are several designs to choose from.
Ideas on how you can use this spare room
Depending on your needs, there are several ways you can use the fourth room of a junior 4.
- As a sleeping area – One of the most common uses of the fourth room in a junior 4 unit is as a second bedroom. You can easily conceal the entryway with a curtain or a removable screen for added privacy. Since this room isn’t an actual bedroom it doesn’t have a window, so you will want to keep it as bright as possible. Revamp the room with a new coat of paint to brighten it. Go for a neutral shade, and make sure you get the okay from your landlord first.
- As a dining area – If you are big on entertaining or you simply love to throw dinner parties for your friends and family, you can turn the extra room into a formal dining area. This is a viable option especially since the fourth room in many junior 4 apartments is usually located off of the living area.
- As an office – Another alternative is to use the fourth room as your home office. The space is usually large enough to accommodate a fairly extensive workspace where you can add your desk, chair, printer, and computer. There is even room for shelves, file cabinets, and bulletin boards.
- A storage room – You can use the extra room as a storage space for the items that you rarely use. This way, you get to avoid spending your hard earned cash on a storage unit. Furthermore, by storing items you don’t use in the fourth room, you will eliminate clutter and your home will be generally neater.
- A home gym – Instead of going to the gym, why not invest in a few gym equipment and keep them in the fourth room? A home doesn’t necessarily need to have state-of-the-art equipment. A treadmill, a few dumbbells, and a punching bag will go a long way.
- A creative room – If art and crafts is a big part of your life, turning the fourth room into a mini art studio, a sewing room, or a project room is a great option. This extra room can serve as your own personal space where you can let your creative juices flow.
- A walk-in closet of sorts – If your bedroom is not big enough to accommodate all your clothes, shoes, and handbags, opt to turn the fourth room into a walk-in closet of sorts. You can achieve this by installing shelving units and creating space for hanging clothes.
The perks of living in a junior 4 apartment
Living in a junior 4 bedroom has its upsides.
- They are less expensive than two bedroom units – Junior 4 apartments are usually cheaper two bedroom units. If you are in need of a second sleeping area but you can’t afford to live in a two bedroom apartment, a junior 4 apartment is a great choice.
- They offer more flexibility – The fourth room in a junior 4 apartment can be used for a variety of purposes. For families with a young child or for a roommate situation, the extra room comes in handy as a second bedroom. For a single tenant or a couple without kids, there are even more options on how they can use the fourth room.
- They are more valuable than standard one bedroom units – A junior 4 apartment is considered to be more valuable than a one bedroom apartment. This could be attributed to the flexibility that is offered by the layout. Consequently, junior 4 units have a higher resale value.
The not-so-great aspects of this type of apartment
There are some downsides to keep in mind as well.
- The fourth room is not as big – The fourth room is typically small and it doesn’t usually have a door or a window. This may be an inconvenience for some, especially if you intend to use it as a second bedroom.
- They are more expensive than one bedroom apartments – Since junior 4 apartments are bigger than one bedroom units, they are also more expensive. Therefore, if you are planning to upgrade from the latter, you should factor this into your budget.
- Often mislabeled as two full bedroom apartments – Junior 4 apartments are often advertised as two bedroom apartments since not too many people are familiar with the term “junior 4’. This may be misleading especially if you are on the lookout for true two bedroom apartments.
A junior 4 apartment is definitely a step up from a one bedroom apartment, and you get to enjoy the perks of having extra space without having to pay as much as you would if you lived in a two bedroom apartment. Depending on your needs, you have a variety of options on how you can use the fourth room, allowing for the versatility you will not find in a standard one bedroom apartment. In conclusion, a junior 4 apartment is a viable option for anyone looking for extra space on a budget.