When we lived in our house in California, we had two dining areas. One was the formal dining room and the other was the eat-in kitchen. Both had full-size dining tables for our family of five. We don’t usually eat in the formal dining room, except on Sundays, when I make it mandatory to do so, otherwise, it seems like a waste of space. Since we usually eat as a family, it doesn’t matter what we eat (which is hard to do these days!) . However, when we moved to Sunnyvale and had to build a house, we had to decide if we needed two dining areas again. This, in turn, got me thinking about whether buyers would want to see a dining room. So I posed the question to some realtors and you wouldn’t believe what they said.
When we were building our next home in North Carolina, I didn’t want a formal dining room. I wanted it to be as casual as possible, if we wanted to make it formal for the holidays.
In this new house, we have a dining area that opens to the kitchen with a huge kitchen island. This kitchen island has 3 stools so the kids can sit there when they eat breakfast instead of eating at the table. The dining table is used for all of us to sit down for weekend dinners or on weekends for larger breakfasts with pancakes or dinners.
The dining room dilemma
Before we moved into our new house, I had to decide which dining room table I wanted to keep because I had two sets. One set had formal upholstered chairs, a table with extra leaves, and a china hutch with a bookcase. The other set was a solid table with chairs and benches. We decided to stick with the plain but very sturdy table and chairs and bench. I struggled with where to put the china I was keeping, but found a place to store it in our large pantry. I no longer have a huge piece of furniture that just doesn’t fit our style anymore.
Dining rooms can also be tricky when it comes to selling a home. Some houses have a formal dining room, while others don’t use them as a dining room. They turn the dining room into a space for their own use. So, when it’s time to sell the house, what do the housekeeper and the home seller do? Do you convert it back to a dining room, or do you use it as a new space?
Realtors and home gardeners make a great team, complementing each other and, I think, relying on each other. I value the input of realtors and asked several realtors, if a dining room was something buyers were still looking for when they were looking for a home.
These are the two questions I asked.
Are buyers looking for restaurants when they buy a home?
Is it okay if they are converted into something else, such as an office, game room, etc.?
Restaurants depend on the buyer
Diane Wilson, Towering Pines Real Estate – “I think it depends on the buyer. A few of my recent families did like the dining area and they also wanted a flexible area with an office/fitness area.”
As a home improvement company, I understand flexible areas and the ability to change it up to make it useful. In my opinion, if you don’t have a small eat-in kitchen, then you need to show a space where you can eat. It also depends on the size of the house. For example, an apartment may not even have a formal dining room, but just a small space to eat. If the house has an extra room or 3+ bedrooms, you can certainly showcase an office or a workout space in one of those spaces.
Depends on the price of the house
I do find this interesting,” says Willem Huang of Weichert Real Estate. I think for my clients, if the kids are older or the kids are out of the house, they prefer the dining room. For clients with smaller children, they see it as a flexible space. I also think that with the pandemic, people working from home or going to school online, prices going up and budgets being tight, restaurant space offers them flexibility. I know that answer is as clear as mud, laughs. I think if you’re in a traditional neighborhood that is staging for families and young couples, being a flexible room would be awesome. If you are in a higher end house that has a higher price point, staging as a dining room is the best route to go. These homes are more likely to be larger and also have extra flex space, so you may not need to use that space for anything other than a dining room.”