Does losing a formal dining room to get a "WOW" kitchen affect resale?

My clients live informally in a tasteful mid to high-end colonial style house (Amberly Village).  They currently never use the formal dining room but are looking to enlarge their kitchen, which is now rather cramped and inefficient with very little counter space.  If we enlarge the kitchen into the current Dining area, we could get a "WOW" kitchen with an island, plenty of cabinets, counter space, etc. with a nice space (10'x13') dedicated for a semi-formal table open to the kitchen.  But the formal dining room would be eliminated.  This is what they would really LIKE to to do, but are afraid that is would be detrimental for resale.  Although, as their architect, I have reassured them that this is a popular trend, I suggested that they get some more specific feedback from a few real-estate experts.  Any advice from anyone familiar with the area?
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May 08 2010 - Cincinnati
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Answers (16)

Hi Laura

By far the clients that I work with would prefer to have the wow kitchen. The trend to have more open floor plans has also been present in older homes. I think that with todays busy lifestyles the larger kitchen/Hub in a house is appealing to a greater number of buyers.

Andy Weiss

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August 22 2010
Laura I have some people building in Liberty Township. The father  of the wife is builder in Michigan. We eliminated the dining room and went with a huge kitchen with a 12 foot long island, walk-in pantry, and tons of storage. Crown molding on the cabinets and of course granite. We also modified the formal living room into a functional office space 18 inches of the living room went to the kitchen. 

Sweet house by the plan by the way the walk in closet in the master is bigger than the smallest (4th) bedroom.  
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May 28 2010

Since the kitchen is the heart of the home go for the wow factor. I would completely forget the fact that you are losing the dining room.  The important factor here is that it is very difficult to sell a home with a small cramped kitchen in any price range. Good luck.

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May 26 2010
Profile picture for Mr Caveat
like any home improvement project, it depends on how it is taken on.

i viewed one home which had an island but no formal dining room(and a WOW kitchen.) The kitchen itself was L shaped and the island was a custom built one. it had 2 levels, the outer edge was bar-type seating, there was prep-space on either side of a 5 burner gas stove and, even as a guest of the chef, i didn't miss the separateness of the dining room, as a matter of fact i would rather have been there talking to the chef than in another room.

what i'm saying is that you should keep formal dining space in the household... but that doesn't have to mean a formal dining room.

also consider whether the neighborhood can provide ROI for a WOW kitchen(as in real return) and most importantly, ignore what you already found out and do what the owners of the home want to do.(hey, its their home and sometimes their is a value in personal enjoyment that can't be measured)
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May 26 2010
A couple things to think about. If you're going to be in the house for many years, then remodel it based on YOUR needs. Of course you have to consider resale value and in doing so, consider your eventual target market. If the neighborhood and size of the house is likely to draw singles, couples, retired then that group of prospective buyers would probably want the formal dining room. However, if a family w/kids at home for awhile would be your likely buyer, then go for the wow kitchen because that's what practical and that's what's popular with that target group now. With your semi-formal dining area, just be sure that design and decor is suitable for everyday AND for those times that need a little dressing up.
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May 26 2010
I agree tht the "wow" kitchen is the way to go... Everyone wants/expects open spaces and floorplans now., but the problem is that when buyers are looking at a home that this has been done to... the buyers (or the Realtor) look at the lack of a formal dining room as a negative. If they would think about this for a minute they would realize that they most likely won't use the dining room either, but they are just clinging to an older traditional that a home has to have a formal dining room.

 It's up to the listing agent (and the buyers agent if they want to close the sale) to break this thought process and really draw attention to the fact that the floorplan has been updated to today's standards and talk down the older thoughts of "have-to-have-a-dining-room"

 Conversely... some people actually do use their formal dining rooms, so you might put off this smaller percentage of buyers.
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May 19 2010
We have an open kitchen to open dining room layout in our home. What is amazing to me is when we entertain even though the dining room is open to the kitchen, no walls, totaly open, without fail everyone gathers in the kitchen eating area to where we end up pulling the chairs from the abundant dining room space to squeeze more and more people around the kitchen table area, sitting around that dining room is the last resort for overflow everytime. So, do that kitchen and give us much space as possible to that eat in area.
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May 16 2010
Just as many have written, the wow factor of a great kitchen outweighs the formal dining room. However, you have to have somewhere other than the island or peninsula to sit down and eat. I usually try to incorporate a banquet or informal dining room table into a design like this.  
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May 15 2010
I think an open wow kitchen is great.....BUT....I'm not sure that folks are ready to go with out a dinning room.  Most people don't use dinning rooms any more but they still want them.  If you don't have a dinning room where are you going to serve all that great food you just made in your wow kitchen? :)
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May 14 2010
I would guess it is going to depend on regional preferences and the overall finished layout. If the kitchen can be smoothly integrated into the flow of the house, go for it! But if the "wow" kitchen sticks out like a sore thumb and is an awkward transition to the rest of the home it may only highlight the home's negative features and leave people wondering why the whole house wasn't reconfigured for consistency.
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May 14 2010
In Western Washington were I work a wow kitchen and a great room concept would outweigh a formal dining area.
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May 14 2010
Buyers are looking for the open concept even in the older homes.  The wow kitchen would definitely enhance resale value.  I did this in my own home and the kids sit a the table and do their homework while I prepare dinner.  The bar area on the island is raised so I can hide dirty dishes when I am entertaining.   I am attaching a picture.
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May 13 2010
Bigger more open spaces are the thing today and to isolate yourself in a kitchen while the guests were elsewhere would kill any sale to the people i know. formal dining is something for older people (like myself) and even i would make this trade. Cooking is becoming a social event for all, not just the cook, and now many hands are in the kitchen helping, whether in the process or the clean up.
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May 11 2010
A larger space in our northern Ohio service area will definately have a plus on the home value as opposed to two smaller separage rooms (kit and formal dining). In our area, the kitchen that is large, inviting, has room for family and guest to gather is the plus. I would not suggest very high end upgrades to the home unless it's what is average for the neighborhood. But so many of our buyers could do without that formal dining space and favor the big kitchen and a 'morning' or breakfast room instead that is so nicely tied into the kitchen/hearth room area. But good flow is a must and without that you will see a reduction in value.
Good luck!
Dawn
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May 11 2010
I'm in the same camp with Christy. The "WOW" kitchen probably has more appeal in Northern Ohio as long as there's a large enough space to eat in the kitchen.
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May 08 2010
I can't speak for that specific area, but in our area (Central Ohio), the selling factor of a "WOW" kitchen would often outweigh the lack of a formal dining room. 
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May 08 2010
 
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