Flippers: Open up those walls!

4 Replies

I've recently bought a couple of early 1990s houses with very little access through the dining/kitchen/living room areas.  In fact to go from the kitchen to the dining room you had to go through the den, into the foyer, and then into the dining room.  I know it must have been in style back in the day, but now it certainly doesn't sell houses. However currently buyers are looking for houses with an open feel to them.  In fact one of the first things I look for when I walk into a potential flip is to see how open it feels. 

In both of the houses there was also another room probably used as a living room which accessed only through the dining room.  They were definitely poorly designed.   In both cases we closed off the "living room" and made it into a fourth bedroom.  We also put in an opening in the wall separating the den and the dining room near the kitchen.  This cut off about 3/4 of the walk between the kitchen and the dining room.

For both houses we literally sold both to the first people who saw each once they were listed.  We had a few people come and look at the houses while they were being rehabbed.  In fact the people who bought one of the houses had initially came to look at the house next door, which was bigger, substantially cheaper  and  had been on the market for a couple of months.  I don't think they opened up the walls...

I wish I had the before pictures of these houses, but unfortunately I don't.

@Todd Whiddon posted yesterday about opening up the walls in his house from the 1980s and it made a HUGE difference. He has some excellent video in his thread.  Video Diary of a Quick Flip Involving Minor Structural Mods

Bottomline- As long as their are no structural issues, (check with an engineer if you are unsure), opening up a house is a great way to substantially increase the wow! value of a house for fairly cheap price.  There are a lot of houses from the 70s to the 90s where this would likely be a huge selling point.  

So true. I am tearing out an over hanging kitchen cab today. You know the ones over the bar/peninsula. Then a guest coat closet right in the middle of entrance way to open a path up to living area is next.

I am not sure what those 80s dudes were thinking with these claustrophobic designs but no one wants them today.

Originally posted by @Matt R. :

So true. I am tearing out an over hanging kitchen cab today. You know the ones over the bar/peninsula. Then a guest coat closet right in the middle of entrance way to open a path up to living area is next.

I am not sure what those 80s dudes were thinking with these claustrophobic designs but no one wants them today.

 You know the funny thing?  30 years from now people will probably say, "I don't know what those guys in the 'teens were thinking.  Who wants to live in an open. formless space like an airplane hanger?"

Just like I am about convinced that stainless steel appliances will eventually be seen as we see 70's Harvest Gold and Avocado appliances today.

Originally posted by @Richard C. :
Originally posted by @Matt Rosas:

So true. I am tearing out an over hanging kitchen cab today. You know the ones over the bar/peninsula. Then a guest coat closet right in the middle of entrance way to open a path up to living area is next.

I am not sure what those 80s dudes were thinking with these claustrophobic designs but no one wants them today.

 You know the funny thing?  30 years from now people will probably say, "I don't know what those guys in the 'teens were thinking.  Who wants to live in an open. formless space like an airplane hanger?"

Just like I am about convinced that stainless steel appliances will eventually be seen as we see 70's Harvest Gold and Avocado appliances today.

 I can't wait until the Siri enabled Avocado appliances come out.  :)  

I'm a buy and hold investor that has been picking up 70's and 80's houses lately.  I figure I just let them cash flow for the next 15 years or so and I will be set with the current floor plan.  Then I can sell out at a premium and move into the distressed open concept houses that no one wants anymore and wait another 15 years for the cycle to repeat itself.

There is a floor at my company that is stuck in the 60's with the lounge furniture in the lobby.  That place would look so cool now if they just updated the colors.  Everyone walking around with tablets and such.  The Jetsons in real life almost.

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