Posted by & filed under Buying, Homeowner Tips, Selling.

open floor plan Before you knock down that wall take a minute to think about the result.  Especially with older homes.  You might be making a huge and costly mistake.

Older Homes

When I sell a house, I hear my customers talking about taking down walls.  Older homes have separate spaces.  Very often all those walls separating one room from another keeps the light out.  Buying a home always means changing it to what you want.  Open space floor plans allow light in, a feeling of openness and a relaxed environment.

This is all good but once you open it all up, what do you do with it?  For example, let’s knock down walls between the living room and formal dining room.  Now it’s 1 big space but how about those windows?  They’re still positioned for the previous floor plan.  Does that work?  Where will you put the furniture?

Furniture Placement

Did you know that when I sell someone a house and they want to do major renovations I ask them about furniture.  It’s really important.  Let’s take your flat screen TV.  Where will it go?  Will it be directly across from your couch?

How about a piano.  If you have a piano or want to get one, where will it fit in?  Did you know that having sunlight streaming in on top of it looks great in a picture but can ruin a piano’s finish or sound board.

With undefined open space you have the problem of furniture placement that makes sense.  You might end up with dead zones of unusable space.

Structural Support Before You Knock Down That Wall

When you take down an interior wall that actually helps to support the floor above, this becomes an obvious problem.  I don’t know about you but I’m not someone who wants to see a sagging ceiling above my head.

Seriously, you can’t ever allow anyone to take down a wall without first calling in the help of an architect.  I would not do anything without the help, advice and plans from an architect.

Here’s a good tip for homeowners and home buyers – pay an architect for their time to give you an assessment of whether or not what you want to do is feasible and if the result makes sense financially.  I know 2 excellent architects (David Maron 201-568-2157 and Michael Gorenstein 201-567-6721) who will give you the right advice.

Housing Trends for Investors

For those of you who do fix and flip projects, stop making those completely open rectangular spaces that combine the living room , dining room and kitchen.  You know, where you walk into what was once a traditional colonial and it’s one big space with kitchen cabinets and a sink on the back wall.  Open floor plans should be better than this.

Summing Up

Today home buyers increasingly look at undefined space and ask me “What do I do with this?”  “Where do I put the dining room table?”  Guess what – on fix and flip homes, you almost always have a chandelier in the wrong spot. Gone are the days where everything open is the preferred look.  Why?  Because it never really worked for most home buyers.

If you’re energy conscious, these spaces cost more to heat and cool  Sound travels throughout and so does cooking odors.  There’s also a lack of privacy if everything is one big space.

What does work?  A kitchen that opens into a family room or dining area or both.  People want a defined living room and dining room but the kitchen is always the heart of a home.  Open that area up, gently define other areas so they flow together effortlessly and you’ve got what today’s customers want.

Before you knock down that wall think hard about the result and what you’ll do with your furniture.  Get a good architect to help you so get what you want in a home.  Investors do the same.  Don’t believe that one big empty space works because it doesn’t.

Questions?  Need advice?  Call me today at 201-741-8490

 

 

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