Debating removing 1st floor office for decent mudroom - resale???

repaintingagainJune 18, 2010

We bought our home a year ago knowing that we *hated* the laundry room/mud room. Actually calling it a room is being gracious. Upon entering from the garage you open the garage door and find the door 2 inches from touching the dryer that is directly in front of you. To the right of the dryer is the washer, to the right of that a utility sink, then the wall - now walk right into the kitchen.ugh. The laundry room space is literally as wide as those three things and as deep as a washing machine, 2 inches and an open door. Needless to say, you can not open the dryer and have someone come in from the garage. Nor can 2 people really stand in the "room" upon entering.

We moved from a different state, had about a month to find a house - and this was the compromise. The rest of the house has ample room and is just fine. The laundry room - ugh.

We have been thinking for a year how to reconfigure things, but the only plausible solution seems to be taking the space from the first floor office and turning that into a large mud room.

Now minus drawings to really show how this would all come together, I'm just looking for thoughts about how you think this would effect our resale in the future.

- We have a 3600 sq ft. home (certainly no lacking for space, just in the laundry room). 4 BR, 2 1/2 Baths

- Currently, we have the standard "builder home" office off of the front hallway with the french doors.

- We have a walkout basement that in a few years will be finished off with a 3/4 bath and could include a nice open space for an office, which would include a window OR we could use the sitting room off our MBR with would have french doors to be an office (my second choice for where to put an office)

- If we used the office space for a mudroom, we could do the "lockers," have more than enough room for washing machine, dryer, utility sink, benches, folding table. Basically it would be the works and mostly include moving plumbing, our garage entry door, drywall work and finishing - all of which my husband has done before and could do again. It would be my dream mudroom with 2 young kids and a big dog. I would use it every day and would no longer have shoes piling up in my kitchen. I personally would be in mudroom heaven (if such a thing exists!) :)

But....will a house sell without a first floor office? Is the expectation for a house this size to have a nice office on the first floor. I personally hate walking in and seeing our office first thing. I suppose investing in nicer furniture would help, however, we have never used the office since we have lived here. We have our laptops and work on the couch or bed (like I am right now!) Much more comfortable than sitting in an office chair. And when we need to we hook up our laptop to the printer. I can't remember the last time we turned out the ole' desktop. Books will be stored in the family room when my husband completes our built-in bookshelves. The office will mostly be "for show" in terms of our personal function.

Thoughts? Would appreciate candor opinions.

I don't think this is our forever house and I don't want to make a poor decision that will negatively effect our resale.

I apologize for the lengthy description, just wanted to be very clear. If you have made it this far, I'm impressed!

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Contact the realtor that you purchased the home from and ask them the question. They should be able to tell you how much an impact it will have (either good or bad) on the resale of the home.

Personally I like the den, but would love to get rid of the formal living room. So maybe you should do what makes you happy. Someone else may just love your idea.

And even if your husband is handy, pull the proper permits. Otherwise it could be a nightmare when you try to sell.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2010 at 12:03AM
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It would help matters if you could post some plan drawings of the space you are asking us to critique, but no matter: a house that does not function well compromises your quality of life in the long run. I like your idea of converting the studio into a mudroom. You can also add a crafts/project area if the space is big enough. Also, a well functioning space will only aid or enhance your resale value. Office space as we know it today will not be the same and dogs will be.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2010 at 4:20AM
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I think the impact on resale depends on whether the homes in your immediate area are all custom homes or if it's part of a development where there are a few basic models to choose from. That is to say, if all the other homes have a 1st floor office, there may be an expectation for you to have one too.

My question to you is whether you plan on living there for a while or if you think you will sell in a few years. If you will be there a while, then personally regardless of the impact to resale value I would configure things to suit myself. The resale impact is not likely to be huge and I would get so much satisfaction from having the laundry room of my dreams that it would be worth it to me.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2010 at 2:11PM
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Thank you for all of your thoughts.
Housefairy - I really like the idea about contacting our realtor. Agreed about the permits as well, we would definitely not move forward without them. The way the house is configured we have a small living room attached to the dining room The living room is just the right size for a piano and couple of chairs, so I'm content to keep that space in order for our piano to not have to be in our family room.

Fahrenheit - for our family this would by far be the most functional. And I like your point about office space constantly changing. I've been wondering if the whole office of the main two story hall-way that is in every house around here will soon be out of style. But perhaps that thinking is just self-serving since I'm thinking of removing mine!

hcj- my home is notin' special. Just part of a builder track where you have models A,B,C or D to choose from. So I do believe most of the homes in the neighborhood have some sort of 1st floor office space. Realistically, we will probably be here at least 5 years, but most likely more like 10. I don't see my husband changing his job anytime soon and if we stay in this area, we won't move. We have put in a lot of sweat equity already and it might take me a long time to get the energy to start over! (This is the third house we have remodeled in the last 10 years, so I'm beat!)

Without a doubt, by taking away the office I would be so thrilled with my mudroom. It would also solve a lot of annoying elements of our home. 1)We could create a front hall way closet, as there is not one now. (silly designed builder homes) 2)We would have a space to store our vacuum on the first floor. 3) We would be able to enter from our garage without tripping over shoes or someone doing laundry. And 4-10) everything that an incredible laundry room would give us.

I guess a call to the realtor might be helpful. Of course 10 years from now the market will expect different things...but a good realtor might be able to see how things might change.

Thanks again everyone for your thoughts.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2010 at 2:34PM
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I would do what works best for your family. When we built our house it was a standard 3 bedroom with a den. Since we needed 4 bedrooms we had the builder make the den the 4th bedroom. Fast forward a few years and we no longer needed the 4th bedroom so we had it turned back into a den.
I would make the house comfortable for you and if need be change it back if you decide to sell. You never know what will happen and living for resale value would make me uncomfortable in my own home. We have several neighbors who planned on being here a few years and thanks to the economy those "few years" have been greatly extended.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2010 at 8:30AM
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