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Flip Mistakes That Can Cost You: Underestimating This Space

A few years ago, I bought a house to flip.

It had great bones, an unfinished basement, and incredible potential. The one space it didn’t have? A dining room. It had a kitchen with a designated eat-in area. There was no way to open up the floor plan and the other rooms were a living room, two bedrooms, and a bathroom. I figured that if I made all the other spaces shine, including the kitchen, then it wouldn’t matter if there wasn’t a dining room.  After all, I had been hearing from people that dining rooms were a waste of space and no one really uses them.


We had showing after showing and the feedback was always the same.  “Loved the house but they want a dining room.” Why is this space so important to people at all price points of a home? 

Here is my take: When it comes to fundamental spaces in a home, a place to eat is as important as any other space.  The ability for someone to have a designated space to sit down and enjoy a meal, even if they never do, is important.  When that doesn’t exist, the house doesn’t connect with the buyer.

Dining rooms do not have to be a space with four walls. 

If you don’t have a separate room for dining, no problem. Laying out space with room to accommodate a table and chairs, and adding a chandelier, is enough to give buyers this sought after space.

When you stage a dining room area it shows what the space could be. 

The reality is, that translates into value for the buyer. If you had an open, empty “flex space” it wouldn’t appear as valuable as a “dining room.” These types of spaces can actually function any way the buyers want once the home is theirs.

Buyers want to see themselves living in a home. 

In order for that to happen, it needs to accommodate all their ideas.  That includes meals and hosting friends and family. Unfortunately, a tiny table in the corner of the kitchen was not the right fit.

We did finally have an offer and although the house took twice as long to sell, it was still profitable.  I am grateful for the lessons that I learn with every flip. And with every project, there is something to be learned about what you can do with the space.  From that house forward, a dining room is a must on my flip potential list…no exceptions. 

Want to buy a property and renovate it?

Looking to buy a house to renovate? Check out the fixer upper checklist to help you find the house with the most “flip” potential.

For more inspiration follow me on Pinterest @thresholdhomesmn

House flipping, home renovation, selling a house for profit, real estate
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