BI level moving Kitchen

Asked by Ma, New Jersey Sat Jan 5, 2013

The bi level home I am in has two bed room upstairs with Kitchen, Living room and dining room. Down stairs is one bed room, Family room and two large car garage. I must need three bed room upstairs because I have two children, they are young, also It will be much easier to sell later with three room in one level.

I am thinking move kitchen down stairs, and change upstair living room and dinning room to two rooms, and kitchen to master bath. Easy to do, they are open plan.

Change one Garage to living room, Down stair One room to Dining room and space between to kitchen. So it will be like a colonial without basement.

The neighborhood is 80% one car garage and colonial style. Is it wise to do so? When I bought the house, it is on market for a while, I think it is because it only has two bedroom upstairs and its unpopular bi level in the neighborhood.

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Barbara Grus…, Agent, Livingston, NJ
Mon Jan 7, 2013
I agree with your premise but am not sure that it will be that easy as moving a kitchen entails a lot of roughing - water and gas pipes - to be redone. However, if it is as relatively easy as you say, then my opinion is that you have a good idea there. My sister-in-law did the same thing about 10 years ago and it came out great. She was able to keep her 2-car garage as there was enough space on that side of the house to be within town limits. Good Luck, If i can answer anythign else, call or e-mail me.
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Jodi B. Rube…, Agent, Short Hills, NJ
Sun Jan 6, 2013
If you are going to make the upper level bedrooms only and put in a larger master suite that should certainly be appealing to future buyers. However, if you keep the bi-level stairs, this could make it confusing to future buyers, so if you can work out a new location for the stairs in order to create a more "Colonial" staircase if you are aiming to create a "Colonial without a basement". And in that case you will have to create a new entry into the house on the lower level. Since you are already considering such a huge job of relocating the kitchen and moving around all of the rooms in the house; relocating the stairs and front door are relatively small compared to the overall project. Which definitely begs the question: is it really worth doing it in the long run financially? Will it hold it's value?

We both live in Short Hills and have sold real estate in town for 14 years so if you need help deciding on what to do we are happy to walk through the house with you before you call in your architect and builder to help you review the options and help you figure out the best improvements to make for the highest return on your investment.
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Allison Zief…, Agent, Maplewood, NJ
Sun Jan 6, 2013
I would speak with an architect about your needs before proceeding. Perhaps they can come up with some better design solutions for you that will make the home more functional and marketable in the future.
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Debra (Debbi…, Agent, Livingston, NJ
Sat Jan 5, 2013
Hi Ma!

My initial reaction is to say: Don't do it!

I grew up in Short Hills, and I know it well...also know what buyers are looking for there.
i agree that a bilevel with 2 bedrooms on the upper floor is most unusual, and probably was at least one reason the house was on the market for a while.

Of course, price trumps the right price will help any home sell!
Short Hills continues to attract buyers from all over due to the great school system and proximity to the Midtown Direct train....there will always be a buyer out there.

That being said, I am curious -
Was the house built that way, or were 2 bedrooms combined to make one larger bedroom, resulting in only 2 br's on that floor?

I do not think your idea will go over well with buyers - it will be a confusing floorplan - really not a colonial due to the entry and having to go down 6 steps to the new living area, and, not a bilevel anymore either..... plus - still no basement.

Have you looked into building out, perhaps over the garage, if that's possible?

Without seeing the house, it's difficult to say for sure...but I think you'd be better off investing in an addition, rather than rearranging the rooms, which will still be very costly.

Not sure if you're in the Deerfield section...or what area.........but bilevels aren't very typical for the town.......look into this before moving forward.

I'd be happy to help!

Best wishes....

Debbie Rose
Prudential NJ Properties

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The house is original 2 bedroom, building out is not an option,we may extend the house in the front 5 feet.
On top of garage is living room and dinning room.

If I extend the front by 5 feet bottom up. I could get
Either (1) a 4 bd upstairs colonial without basement (change entry and stair)
One car garage
or (2) 3bd room bi level with smaller living room. (no change entry and stair)
Two car garage.

The section I live 90% is colonial with one car garage.
Which option is better?
Flag Sun Jan 6, 2013
Andrew Tisel…, Agent, clifton, NJ
Sat Jan 5, 2013
I agree it will be better to have a realtor to a market analysis both ways. I have seen a few Bi-level homes with the kitchen on the ground floor. since you only have 2 bedrooms I think it makes a lot of sense to do it.
I think you should also think about how much longer you plan to live in the house If you are planning to stay more than 10 years then you should do what is best for your family regardless of the market analysis.

let me know if I be of any further assistance

best wishes
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Laquita Baez, , New Jersey
Sat Jan 5, 2013
Hi Ma, consider having a realtor do a current market analysis for you before you invest your money into remodeling your home. Who nows, you may be pleased with the listing price the realtor suggests.
How long ago did you purchase your home? You cant compare yesterdays buyers with todays buyers as all buyers are different and the previous housing market may have had different variables in comparison to the current housing market.

In Short Hills we are seeing an influx of buyers but low housing inventory, which means home listings are in demand. From the last market research I did for Short Hills, homes that are price right tend to be selling within a decent amount of time.

There are so many different type of buyers that out in the market and each buyer like different things.
So you may come across a buyer that likes the current floorplan of your home.

Of course some of the options you mentioned may add value to your home, but there are other factors you may want to consider before making your decision to invest the money or sell your home as-is.

Feel free to contact me further if you would like a market analysis completed for your home or if you would like to discuss your renovation options.

Laquita Baez
Licensed Realtor in NJ and GA
Weichert Realtors
908.277.1200 office
973.687.7095 cell

Dream Homes ARE Within Reach!!!
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