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From the buyer prospective, are built ins good or bad?

Posted by marti8a (My Page) on
Sun, Jun 30, 13 at 12:28

I would like to have built in china cabinet in the dining room and on the tv wall in the family room. Easier for us because then we don't have to take furniture with us that may not fit the next house, but I don't want to limit a sale either.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: From the buyer prospective, are built ins good or bad?

I would like it if it blended in with the room and/or could be used for other purposes. I would like a neutral color, like light/med walnut etc. Also with drawers might be an idea..


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RE: From the buyer prospective, are built ins good or bad?

I happen to like built-ins. My current place has a built-in china closet in the dining room. It's half closet, but the bottom half is drawers for linens and such.

The key to built-ins is not to tailor them too closely to your current needs. Make the shelves adjustable, for example. Have a variety of open shelving and shelves that are closed off behind doors. Or different depths of shelving--say deeper cabinets on the bottom and shallower open shelving above.

That way, the built-ins you use as a media center could be the next owner's bookcases, or display shelves for their collectible Star Wars figurines.

It's the built-ins that can clearly only be used for a single purpose that tend to be a drawback--a media center where the next owners would want the TV on a different wall, shelves designed to hold paperbacks but no larger books, that sort of thing.


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RE: From the buyer prospective, are built ins good or bad?

I love built in corner china cabinets. I think they are so pretty painted white to match the moldings in the room.


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RE: From the buyer prospective, are built ins good or bad?

I recently sold my 1780 colonial. It had 2 built in corner cabinets in the dining room and also a china closet. I had added another corner cabinet in the upstairs hallway (I had been dragging it with me for several houses!) and a built in window seat and bookcases at the end of the hall. House sold in 24 hours and the buyers loved all of them. They were painted to match the trim color and the wallpaper in the dining room.

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RE: From the buyer prospective, are built ins good or bad?

It really depends. We ripped out 3 walls of built ins in a downstairs office/bedroom. Hated to do it, but it just didn't fit for the way we wanted to use the room. One of the walls had a deep built in for an old style TV, not useful at all.

Built ins are expensive, so I would rather spend the money to design a piece of furniture I could take with me. We did just install a 15 ft wide by 9 ft high storage and desk built in in the kids playroom as that room had no storage at all. It now has desks, toy storage and file storage. We have no plans to move, so hope to enjoy it for many years.


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RE: From the buyer prospective, are built ins good or bad?

A built in china cabinet will always be a plus. An entertainment system won't be. Most are disappearing and considered relics of the last century. TV's are wall hangings now, with IR repeaters taking the remote signals to a closet with all of the "stuff".


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RE: From the buyer prospective, are built ins good or bad?

It really depends upon a buyer. I completely disagree with the above, "a built in china cabinet will always be a plus." I have a dining room set I love. If that built in meant I could not use my own cabinet I would view it as a negative.

In my opinion buyers may or may not like the wood choice or finish.

That said we have several built-ins, all simple bookcases with adjustable shelves in the study, LR, and master bedroom. They are all real cherry wood in a darker stain and custom built by a local cabinet maker. The same wood is in the kitchen. Someone that doesn't like my kitchen won't like the bookcases either.


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RE: From the buyer prospective, are built ins good or bad?

"It really depends upon a buyer. I completely disagree with the above, "a built in china cabinet will always be a plus." I have a dining room set I love. If that built in meant I could not use my own cabinet I would view it as a negative. "

I feel the same way!

And, personally, I would not like a built in to be painted white, or any other color. I would prefer stained wood.


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RE: From the buyer prospective, are built ins good or bad?

Unless you're moving soon, do what works for you. Don't worry about the next owner.


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RE: From the buyer prospective, are built ins good or bad?

Built-ins are great if they are to your taste and not so great if they're not. We ripped out a traditional built-in china cabinet in the DR when we bought our house. Hated it-- definitely not a plus. On the other hand, we designed and installed a large modern one in our LR. I love it, but realize it won't be to everyone's taste. But I can't see it limiting a sale, just as we wouldn't have not bought our house just because I didn't like the china cabinet.


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RE: From the buyer prospective, are built ins good or bad?

I think well-designed, nicely built and maintained built-ins are a plus for almost any room. We put put built-ins in our library (POs had it as a billiards room), in the laundry room, our closets, my office, DH's office, the media room, and are now planning to redo the basement with built-ins. As far as I am concerned you can't have enough! My MIL has the most wonderful 25 foot built-in buffet with drawers and cabinet space below that can hold a plethora of dishes and serveware and whose counter surface can hold a buffet for a huge family reunion. I really, really envy that.


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RE: From the buyer prospective, are built ins good or bad?

I would not at all consider them a plus. It's much harder to change out built ins than furniture, and once they get a few layers of paint they start to look sub-par. I don't HAVE china and never want a china cabinet, so if there was a built in I'd be removing it.

I would consider extensive built-ins restrictive to laying things out the way I like and would consider it a negative when house shopping - I'd have to worry about whether the flooring and drywall was intact under and behind...


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RE: From the buyer prospective, are built ins good or bad?

Unless they are beautiful wood bookshelves in a library, I don't think I am a fan and most would get on the task list for removal. Demo can give you a bit of the decor history of the house and a freshened appreciation of the current flooring, though. Luckily, our historical remnant is hidden behind a dining room door (when it is open). It will be replaced when we put in tile in 2014-5. Until then, it is our little secret...


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RE: From the buyer prospective, are built ins good or bad?

Very, very bad thing.

I inherited china service for at least 12, and I think 24. It's in my mom's basement and has been in there for 15+ years, five apartments/houses, and we're not moving it to the next one (maybe the one after that- maybe) either. My little sister's is right next to it. We're both just as likely to put it on Ebay or in their church's garage sale as we are to keep more than a piece or two (they were my great grandmother's, but we always ate on paper plates, so there's no attachment).

Book-wise, we have Kindles. We have a shelf or two of books we're actually keeping (and Tom and I are both voracious readers- the Kindle library literally made a 30"x72" bookshelf redundant), but that's not enough to justify an entire built in.

Media center-wise, absolutely not. Our current tv is 56" and if we didn't want to relocate sooner rather than later, I would have already upgraded to the 90" I stare longingly at every time I go to Costco.


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RE: From the buyer prospective, are built ins good or bad?

Gyr_Falcon, LOL excellent illustration of my point!


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RE: From the buyer prospective, are built ins good or bad?

I have a beautiful, newly remodeled duplex from the 20s...one side has a built-in china cabinet, the other does not. The first tenant who moved in fell in love with the built-in....she has all her law books where the china would go. It's adorable. I don't know about new houses, but old ones from the 1920s seem to accommodate a built-in china cabinet in the most alluring way. I think they are precious.


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RE: From the buyer prospective, are built ins good or bad?

We have bookshelves and cabinetry built-ins in the family room, and cabinets, bookshelves and drawer built-ins in the office. Both were built when the house was built (late 70s). I just had the built ins in the family room resurfaced, and the doors changed.

I don't think bookshelves need to be just for books - we have a clock, some knickknacks, etc.

Would I build them now? In the office, yes (same for a library), but not in a TV/family room. TV sets have changed from just a few years ago, and who knows what will fit 10 years from now? Same for the dining room. People who want a formal dining room possibly (probably?) have their own dining room furniture and like formal dining room entertaining. A built in unit could limit the way their current furnishing work in the dining room. The trend toward less formal entertaining and open concept is squeezing out formal dining rooms, so a new built in (as opposed to a period built in) could limit your pool of buyers in the future.

Saying all that - it is your home. Do what works for you and your family.


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RE: From the buyer prospective, are built ins good or bad?

As others have said, I guess it just depends. I would probably not be too thrilled about a 1960s or 1970s built-in with the faux Brady Bunch wood paneling. That would either be redone or ripped out. But I think built-in bookshelves that flank a fireplace in a living room, for example, are gorgeous. I have a serious reading/book problem that is so bad it would take over my house, so I regularly take piles of books back to the excellent used bookstore in my area--and I also have a Nook with probably 400 books on it already. Still, there are books I don't want to part with. I love the look of books in a home--it's actually one of the first things I look for in a home because it makes me feel more comfortable. It would be nice to have lovely built-ins that would accommodate that (plus, as someone said, you can put other stuff on bookshelves--mementos from trips, photos, etc).

We just bought a 1940 craftsman-style bungalow that has a built-in in the dining room (also a fireplace yay). The fireplace is centered on the wall, with the built-in china cabinet on the right, and then on the left is a closet with shelves. That's a very sensible configuration and I love it. I will still bring in my china hutch and use that as well; the room is certainly big enough to accommodate both.

I certainly consider the china hutch to be a plus. At this point it's getting to be a historic home, though, so that factors into my love for it.

The only negative about living room built-ins besides just not liking them/not liking the style (for resale prospective buyers), is that it limits the furniture configuration. Well thought out and executed, though, I think it's overall a plus.


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RE: From the buyer prospective, are built ins good or bad?

Library, yes. Home office if its a desk with a return and bookshelves, maybe. Dining room, not unless its older constructions as dining rooms and formal living rooms are on their way out. Family room, no way.....TV sizes and home media tech is heading wireless quickly. Kitchen as a hutch/work desk, yes.

About the only places I'd say a big yes to built ins are shelves in the garage, attic and basement utility area. And even then, utility cabinets are better.


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