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fartness
computersoc dot com
Premium
join:2003-03-25
Look Outside

What to do with dining room?

I have a colonial house that is between 1300 and 1400 square feet, not including the full basement and attic. I have to get the kitchen re-done in the next year and then I'm pretty much "done" with any major remodeling.

The house is from 1924 and has a separate living room, kitchen, and dining room on the first floor. I know new houses today don't really have "traditional" dining rooms like my house does (everyone eats on the sofa or fast food these days anyway). Not sure if I should get a dining room table that I'll never use to make it look like a traditional dining room in keeping with some of the charm of the era that it was built, or if I should just use it as a den. Another suggestion was to blow out the wall that the dining room and kitchen shares and make it one big kitchen, with an area for a small table or a counter to eat at. Sort of like kitchens are today. Not really sure I like this idea, so I'm leaning more towards a den. What would I put in there so I don't have this empty room sitting there? I could always make it another computer room. Any suggestions?

I plan on buying a slightly bigger home out of the city (and likely renting this out) in the next 2-5 years. I'd like to live like this is my house for these years regardless.

Tig

join:2006-06-29
Carrying Place, ON
I'm a fan of not altering the floor plan of a old home. So I'll cast a vote against blowing out the wall. If den suits your lifestyle do that, otherwise I like the charm of a formal dining room, even if it is mostly for looks.


dandelion
Premium,MVM
join:2003-04-29
Germantown, TN
kudos:5
Reviews:
·Comcast
reply to fartness
I actually changed my dining room into an old-fashioned formal parlor as they used to have, where guests would go. It does have a piano and is a nice quiet room to also read in so is useful besides looking very nice. I have some of my family's antiques in it to reinforce the "parlor" look. I agree not to change the walls and make it as homes today but also think a room should be useful. Your family should decide what is best for them but in order to rent you may also get suggestions from whatever company you will be using. It is possible you can get more rental money depending on the design.
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fartness
computersoc dot com
Premium
join:2003-03-25
Look Outside
I live alone, but thought it would show better if it had some elegance or charm to it, even if I wouldn't be using it.


madylarian
The curmudgeonly
Premium
join:2002-01-03
Parkville, MD
reply to fartness
Click for full size
We had a separate dining room that we hardly ever used. When we redid the kitchen we took out the wall between the dining room and kitchen to open up the space but still kept them separate, sort of, with cabinets

mady
--
Honi soit qui mal y pense


35245635

join:2013-03-04
North Reading, MA

2 edits
reply to fartness
said by fartness:

I live alone, but thought it would show better if it had some elegance or charm to it, even if I wouldn't be using it.

If you plan to rent then it doesn't matter. You'd do that to SELL the place. For a rental you want to invest as little as possible. Leave stuff as basic as you can. Don't remodel a kitchen to rent the place. You'll never see any return on investment like that. The renters will eventually trash the kitchen and you'll need to redo it before you sell. Renter's have no vested interest in your place. If they accidently scratch a nice hardwood cabinet in the kitchen after you remodel they don't care. It's not their problem. If they slam the doors and ruin the hinges they don't care. If they wear off the finish on the handles they don't care. If you won't fix the stuff they've broken/ruined they'll just move.

Basics to rental property:
No fancy faucets, lights, appliances, etc.
Keep all the rooms semi-gloss white
Remove carpeting if possible
Follow KISS methodology (Keep It Simple Stupid)

Remember it's business. If you want to attract people lower the rent or offer an incentive like 1/2 off the first months rent. Send your tenant a $20 gift card to Outback at Christmas. They like the little stuff. The last thing you want to do in invest $10,000+ into the place to attract renter's who will trash it. Save the cash for a renovation AFTER you're done renting before you want to sell the place.
--
"Everyone has his day and some days last longer than others." - Winston Churchill

robbin
Premium,MVM
join:2000-09-21
Leander, TX
kudos:1

1 recommendation

As a landlord I have to disagree. If you treat it as just a rental then you will just get renters. Fix it up with a few nicer things like a better faucet, better appliances, etc and you will get nicer tenants. My experience is the nicer tenants who want a little nicer place than the average rental will not only pay a little more but also keep the property in better condition.


fartness
computersoc dot com
Premium
join:2003-03-25
Look Outside

1 edit
reply to 35245635
My kitchen is likely the original... it's terrible.

Having the kitchen done can probably let me raise the rent another $100 a month since the whole house will look uniform and well done. Being able to get another $100 a month for spending $4000 on a kitchen re-model would pay for itself in about 3.5 years. Plus, I'd get to use the brand new kitchen for the time I'm still here. I got my house for about $20k less than other houses in this neighborhood when I bought it. It needed work. I haven't put nearly 20k into it, and even another 4 or 5 grand for the kitchen would only be near 10k or so. If I wanted to sell it with everything re-modeled, I could easily get 10 to 15k more than I bought it for without trying.

Painting $1000 or so
Flooring $3000 or so
Bathroom $3000 or so
Kitchen est. $4000 to $5000
Misc items or repairs $1000 or so

Forgot I got the 10% first time homebuyer tax credit, so I'd do even better. I was paying $75/month less for a 1 bedroom apartment, so for these 3 years here, I'd still make out in the deal if I did the kitchen and used it for a few years, then rented this out.


35245635

join:2013-03-04
North Reading, MA
reply to robbin
said by robbin:

As a landlord I have to disagree. If you treat it as just a rental then you will just get renters. Fix it up with a few nicer things like a better faucet, better appliances, etc and you will get nicer tenants. My experience is the nicer tenants who want a little nicer place than the average rental will not only pay a little more but also keep the property in better condition.

Location location location. If you own an average place in a great location you'll get nicer tenants then a high end place in an average or crappy location. Renter's want price and location. Sure they want a nice place as well but targeting the #3 attribute doesn't work by itself. I've had a TV news anchor in my rental before. Even people making $200k+ a year don't give a crap about taking care of something that isn't theirs.
--
"Everyone has his day and some days last longer than others." - Winston Churchill


35245635

join:2013-03-04
North Reading, MA
reply to fartness
said by fartness:

My kitchen is likely the original... it's terrible.

Having the kitchen done can probably let me raise the rent another $100 a month since the whole house will look uniform and well done. Being able to get another $100 a month for spending $4000 on a kitchen re-model would pay for itself in about 3.5 years. Plus, I'd get to use the brand new kitchen for the time I'm still here. I got my house for about $20k less than other houses in this neighborhood when I bought it. It needed work. I haven't put nearly 20k into it, and even another 4 or 5 grand for the kitchen would only be near 10k or so. If I wanted to sell it with everything re-modeled, I could easily get 10 to 15k more than I bought it for without trying.

Painting $1000 or so
Flooring $3000 or so
Bathroom $3000 or so
Kitchen est. $4000 to $5000
Misc items or repairs $1000 or so

Forgot I got the 10% first time homebuyer tax credit, so I'd do even better. I was paying $75/month less for a 1 bedroom apartment, so for these 3 years here, I'd still make out in the deal if I did the kitchen and used it for a few years, then rented this out.

If you can redo a kitchen for $4-5k go for it. I've done 2 and neither has been under $20k. They can approach $40-50k depending on what you want. The kitchen is the most expansive room in the house.

I'd love to hear your experiences once you start renting. See if you really get $100 more for a kitchen upgrade. I could see $25-30 maybe in reality. I've seen other units like a few of mine be completely remodeled and rent went up $25/month. If I could get $100/month more I'd do it tomorrow myself.
--
"Everyone has his day and some days last longer than others." - Winston Churchill


stevek1949
We're not in Kansas anymore
Premium
join:2002-11-13
Virginia Beach, VA
reply to fartness
You said: Forgot I got the 10% first time homebuyer tax credit, so I'd do even better.

If you took the tax credit, you may have to pay it back if you convert it to rental. I am not a tax expert, but I remember that there was a time that you had o keep the home as your principal residence. Look here:

»www.irs.gov/uac/First-Time-Homeb···Credit-1


fartness
computersoc dot com
Premium
join:2003-03-25
Look Outside
Yes, I had to live here for 3 years. I'll be past that is two months. No worries.


fartness
computersoc dot com
Premium
join:2003-03-25
Look Outside
reply to 35245635
One of my family members just did their kitchen and parts/labor was $4000. These aren't rich $300,000 homes we're talking about...


whizkid3
Premium,MVM
join:2002-02-21
Queens, NY
kudos:9

3 edits

2 recommendations

reply to 35245635
said by 35245635:

The renters will eventually trash the kitchen and you'll need to redo it before you sell. Renter's have no vested interest in your place. If they accidently scratch a nice hardwood cabinet in the kitchen after you remodel they don't care. It's not their problem. If they slam the doors and ruin the hinges they don't care. If they wear off the finish on the handles they don't care.

Location location location. If you own an average place in a great location you'll get nicer tenants then a high end place in an average or crappy location. Renter's want price and location. Sure they want a nice place as well but targeting the #3 attribute doesn't work by itself. I've had a TV news anchor in my rental before. Even people making $200k+ a year don't give a crap about taking care of something that isn't theirs.

This is absurd. Maybe in your experience, you have had shitty tenants. There are plenty of great tenants that care very much about taking care of a landlord's property. I have been renting for over 20 years. The landlords have absolutely loved me. I have taken care of their homes as I would my own and maybe even better. My neighborhood has many rental homes. Some of the most well taken care of are rented by foreign consulates that spare no expense to make the homes look great. On the other hand, some of the poorest looking homes in the neighborhood are owned by their occupants, and they take care of nothing. These homes are actually dragging property values down. Maybe when a landlord only gets crappy tenants, they should take a look at what they themselves may be doing wrong?

Fartness, as far as your dining room - my vote is to leave it as is. You certainly don't have to change it if you plan to rent the place out. A lot of people still want a formal dining room.


35245635

join:2013-03-04
North Reading, MA
said by whizkid3:

said by 35245635:

The renters will eventually trash the kitchen and you'll need to redo it before you sell. Renter's have no vested interest in your place. If they accidently scratch a nice hardwood cabinet in the kitchen after you remodel they don't care. It's not their problem. If they slam the doors and ruin the hinges they don't care. If they wear off the finish on the handles they don't care.

Location location location. If you own an average place in a great location you'll get nicer tenants then a high end place in an average or crappy location. Renter's want price and location. Sure they want a nice place as well but targeting the #3 attribute doesn't work by itself. I've had a TV news anchor in my rental before. Even people making $200k+ a year don't give a crap about taking care of something that isn't theirs.

This is absurd. Maybe in your experience, you have had shitty tenants. There are plenty of great tenants that care very much about taking care of a landlord's property. I have been renting for over 20 years. The landlords have absolutely loved me. I have taken care of their homes as I would my own and maybe even better. My neighborhood has many rental homes. Some of the most well taken care of are rented by foreign consulates that spare no expense to make the homes look great. On the other hand, some of the poorest looking homes in the neighborhood are owned by their occupants, and they take care of nothing. These homes are actually dragging property values down. Maybe when a landlord only gets crappy tenants, they should take a look at what they themselves may be doing wrong?

Fartness, as far as your dining room - my vote is to leave it as is. You certainly don't have to change it if you plan to rent the place out. A lot of people still want a formal dining room.

Even the best tenants don't take care of the landlord's property. They try not to trash it but that's not the same as taking care of it. A tenant doesn't have the power to take care of the place. All they can do is minimize their damage to the place. Legally they can't fix, improve, etc. anything so taking care of the place is the landlord's job. My tenant's love me and all 4 of them have been with me over 5 years out of the 7 years I've been a landlord. Renter's just have no f'n idea what they are talking about when it comes to landlords. That's self evident in your post. Thanks for making it blatantly obvious to everyone!
--
"Everyone has his day and some days last longer than others." - Winston Churchill


35245635

join:2013-03-04
North Reading, MA
reply to fartness
said by fartness:

One of my family members just did their kitchen and parts/labor was $4000. These aren't rich $300,000 homes we're talking about...

What did they do is the real question. Cabinets cost more then that alone. Appliance can reach that alone. Counter tops can reach triple that. That's just material costs not including labor!
--
"Everyone has his day and some days last longer than others." - Winston Churchill


fartness
computersoc dot com
Premium
join:2003-03-25
Look Outside
That does not include appliances. Their appliances were pretty new (as are mine). Cabinets were around $1500 from Lowes. Bottom priced ones, but they're still "decent". Waaay better quality than Grossmans, Ollie's, etc. $1000 cabinets which I'd consider junk. I'd get something similar that is around $2000. No need for fancy granite counter tops. A cabinet functions the same whether they cost $1500 or $15,000. Again, these aren't rich preppy $300,000 homes that doctors around here live in.

After doing research, new construction in the city/suburbs goes for around $120k to $150k for a house similar sized than mine. Mine isn't worth even close to that. Doctors live in $300,000 to $500,000 houses around here, which are beautiful and have a $40,000 kitchen in them. Some areas of the country, $300,000 gets you garbage. Not here though.


whizkid3
Premium,MVM
join:2002-02-21
Queens, NY
kudos:9

1 edit
reply to 35245635
OT.

patcat88

join:2002-04-05
Jamaica, NY
kudos:1

1 recommendation

reply to 35245635
said by 35245635:

Basics to rental property:
No fancy faucets, lights, appliances, etc.
Keep all the rooms semi-gloss white
Remove carpeting if possible
Follow KISS methodology (Keep It Simple Stupid)

5/8 drywall or cement board everywhere. High quality toilets »acorneng.com/product-feed/catego···y+Toilet , steel front door ("someone tried to rob this house last night while we were out, we didn't file a police report", AKA I forgot the key and decided to kick down the door and nobody in the neighborhood will call the cops when they see a "break in" in progress). No carpet, no wood floors. Ceramic tile or sheet linoleum. Put floor drains in bathrooms. They will stuff a rag into the drain and overflow of the sink to shave, smoke some good stuff, and nod off, or keep flushing the toilet after it is clogged. Remember they might have their dog or cat shit in corners and they dont care. Dont use decora switches, use toggles. Use metal face plates. Decoras like to get punched with an MMA fist by men and the faceplates develop cracks. Decoras also fill with dirt at their edge and get sticky. Wire the bathroom fan to the bathroom light. They won't ventilate the shower room voluntarily to prevent mold. Some tenants use walls as paper and it will be covered floor to ceiling with marker and pen graphitti, phone numbers, and retarded jokes usually, not sure what to do other than reprimer and repaint or use a pole sander. If they dont pay the heating bill directly, use a programmable thermostat with a very limited range but check local building code for mandatory temperate requirements. Set tstat to 90F in winter and open the windows and "screw the man". Kitchen cabinets and counters I am not sure what to do about. I guess they are disposable since the particle board will be filled with water and rot at end of the tenant.


35245635

join:2013-03-04
North Reading, MA
reply to fartness
I ran into stuff like the TV news anchors kid who is 10 wants to stop a large candle from dripping over the side so they take it to the kitchen sink and pour the wax down the garbage disposal. Does it matter the parents make $250k+ and are stellar tenant's? Nope! They just damaged the unit and now I have to repair it. The wax backed up the sink which backed up the dishwasher. These tenant's were in my rental which was 3 years old and done with high end stuff. I can post dozens of other stories like this. I started out thinking if I make the places nice I'll get good tenants but after years of reality I now know that was a mistake. Rental quality helps rent a very very small amount it's mostly a way to attract a new tenant when there are lots of places available in the area.
--
"Everyone has his day and some days last longer than others." - Winston Churchill


fartness
computersoc dot com
Premium
join:2003-03-25
Look Outside
reply to patcat88
Those are like the toilets I saw at some NYC subway or bus stations.


Kramer
Premium,Mod
join:2000-08-03
Richmond, VA
kudos:2
reply to fartness
The previous owners of our home removed the wall between the kitchen and dining rooms and it is now one big room. The old dining area or expanded kitchen area is where we eat our regular meals. My better half insisted on a formal dining room, so we took 1/2 of our fairly large living room (just estimating it is 13*25) and placed a dining room table horizontally across the 13 foot wide area and then used the rest of the room for a small living area. We never use the living room, so it is basically for show. We really need the dining room because we entertain a fairly large group of people a couple of times a year. If the group is really large, we take out all the living room furniture and run tables the whole length of the 25 foot room.

Without seeing your kitchen, it is hard to offer any suggestions. If there is little room for an eat-in area as mine was, then removing that wall could make a lot of sense. Do you really use a living room as it is intended? Why not make that the den?

patcat88

join:2002-04-05
Jamaica, NY
kudos:1
reply to fartness
said by fartness:

Those are like the toilets I saw at some NYC subway or bus stations.

Yep. Although in the 2000s many of the stainless steel fixtures were switched to porcelain in rehabs. I would be more interested in security sinks, since ripping off the handles (with screw drivers) is more common than taking a sock of batteries to the toilet and smashing it, and using the porcelain shards as a shiv or club.
Expand your moderator at work

donamok

join:2013-04-08
reply to 35245635

Re: What to do with dining room?

Kitchen renovation budget is majorly affected by kitchen cabinets and the dining wood furniture hence whenever you go for renovation don't go for big brand names this may raise your budget and lead to over investment.

The RTA Store.