Should I lose a bedroom so make bigger closets, etc.?

13 Replies

I am in the process of buying my first house to flip. It has 2,000 sq. ft. and was built in 1921 in a neigborhood that has been gentrified. Mostly Yuppie couples. Most of the houses that have been remodeled sell fairly quickly for $100k-$125. I bought this one at auction for $36k (including fees) and am aiming to sell for about $95k.

Upstairs, the house has one medium sized bedroom and three more smallish bedrooms--all have very limited closet space. There is also 1 large bath.

One of the small bedrooms you can only get to by walking through another small bedroom. I am wondering if I would be better off tearing down a wall to make three bedrooms instead of four. That would enlarge two of the bedrooms. I could then build more closet space and, possibly, add a master bath. 

I did think of just making the fourth bedroom a bonus room, or a closet/dressing room for the master, but that doesn't seem like a good option because it would put the master in the smallest bedroom. 

Any advice? Would  four small bedrooms bring in more money than  three larger bedrooms with nice closets, even if you have to walk through another bedroom to get to the fourth? Would I lose money on what it would cost me to tear down a wall and build closets? And lastly, would it be worth it to build a master bath next to the existing bath? I already have some fixtures I can use.

Walking through 1 bedroom to get to another is generally considered to be a privacy violation, so the middle entry bedroom may not be considered by and assessor or an appraiser, I personally will look at the layout and consider how a typical end user in that marketplace will utilize the space, while I hate to get rid of bedrooms and bathrooms, in this case it may be worth consideration given the privacy violation, smaller bedrooms to begin with, as well as lack of closet space...just my opinion, good luck. 

I'm not expert by any means on flipping, but I know a 3/2 house is considered a "bread and butter" house.  If you tear down the wall, enlarge bedrooms/closets, AND build a bathroom, I'm guessing it will sell easier.

I would agree with @Bill Fennelly  .  A bedroom that also doubles as a hallway is obviously not ideal.  And I would think that an end buyer would not put the same value on that type of 4 bedroom layout.  Run the comps on 3 bed vs 4 bed in the area and see what you find.  Keeping in mind that your house's layout as a 4 bedroom is less desirable so probably on the lower end, all other things being equal.  I would think that buyers in a yuppie area would place more value on larger bedrooms and more closet space, unless that is what's typical in that area.

Sounds like it's time to put your realtor to work on comps and get a few contractors through to get bids on each option to help make your decision.  My gut is that larger bedrooms and more closet space would be more desirable versus smaller bedrooms and closets in a poor layout.  Especially since some buyer will likely consider the walk-thru bedroom as unusable for a bedroom anyway.  The big kicker is whether you can swing the layout change at a price where it makes sense to do so.  Good luck!

opening up the floor plan is defiantly a must, to tear down that wall and have the room expand is a sure way to upgrade that bedroom! Making closet space is desirable when residents are shopping the woman makes the decisions on bedrooms 90% of the time since you are targeting a single family you will want to know where to update and expand. The walk way from one bedroom to another is not ideal and will be a negative to any home buyer. I currently rehab homes and sell single family residential and with every home we target those bedrooms and bathrooms for expansion to hit the top of the market for ARV's.

You don't have 4 bedrooms anyway so you might as well get rid of one of the rooms.  You cannot consider a room a bedroom if you have to walk through another bedroom to get to it.  

If you need help imagining a new floor plan feel free to PM me. Would be happy to kick a few free hours towards helping you come up with a new overhead floor plan that would work for the rehab. 

I'm with the rest of the crowd.  I would definitely lean towards killing on of the bedrooms.  The trick is going to be what it does to the budget.  It sounds like the current master doesn't have a master bath and I know in my market that is almost a deal killer.  I would probably be most inclined to converting the walk-thru bedroom and the bedroom that is accessed thru it to a master suite.  Obviously though it is difficult to make that call without knowing the exact floorplan.

I second what everyone else has said, lose the bedroom but lose it to make a second BATHROOM! 3/2 >4/1 for sure. Master bath would be ideal but at least get that 2nd bathroom. Bigger closets would take a back seat to the bathroom for me. 

@Pamela Rickey , we are doing this same exact thing in one of the flips we are about to start.  Currently, there are 2 big bedrooms downstairs and 2 upstairs.  We are combining the 2 downstairs bedrooms to add a master bath and closet.  The house is almost 100 years old and storage is a huge selling point in older homes.

Good luck to you!

Nevermind 3 vs 4 bedrooms.  Here's something to think about:

If you start tearing out walls and such you better expect to have the local inspector involved and if the house was built in 1921 there could be other things considered "out dated" as far as code is concerned.  If you do too much then you might trigger a code upgrade of other systems, ie, electrical, plumbing (if you add a master bath).   This varies from city/town but something to consider if you haven't already.  

The $36k purchase price is not inclusive of closing costs at purchase or is it?  You mentioned fees but I'm assuming that is associated with the auction premiums. Remember to add in your closing costs for the sale as well.  Now add in your est rehab costs. You get the picture.


Oh yeah, and any other holding costs ie, utilities, insurance etc....

I would lose it! 3/2 is always better and entering  a bedroom through another bedroom isn't "good and best use" for the property or the space. 

I am sorry I haven't been back to respond to your posts. I kept meaning to, but I have been somewhat overwhelmed the past few weeks getting bids, etc. and everything lined up. Plus, attending a couple of three day seminars.

Regardless, it was inexcusable for me to ask the question and then not respond to those of you who made the time to respond. Please accept my apology.

I think all of you gave good advice and seem to be in agreement so I will try to work it out. The floor plan, however, will be complicated to make work because of being a story and a half with sloping ceilings and the small room being in a wing that is not as wide as the rest of the house. Meaning it will be hard to connect it to the room that should be the master. Also, Gary Marcotte made a good point that I will definately take into consideration.

Dylan, I would love to take you up on your kind offer to help. It will take me a little time to get it drawn out to proportion and then I will be in touch. Thank you so much. I will be interested to see what your ideas are. Thank you to all of you who responded.

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