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Only 1 in 7 Home Ads Mention a Dining Area. Here's Why That Could Be a Big Mistake

Shaina Mishkin

Some home sellers may be leaving money on the table — the dining room table.

Listings that tout their dining areas are priced significantly higher than the median home, according to a new analysis from real estate web site Zillow. What may be surprising to some home sellers and realtors: Emphasizing some kind of dining area made a much bigger difference than what kind of dining area it was, either a formal dining room or merely a seating area in an open-plan home.

Across the country’s 35 largest metro areas, homes that boast of a formal dining room ask a median of $325,500, 23% more than the national median home price, according to Zillow. Homes that advertise an open-concept dining area layout ask $309,900, 17% more than the data set’s median home.

Of course, homeowners that brag about their dining areas tend to do so because those spaces are nice to begin with. And that luxury often extents to rest of the house, no doubt accounting for a significant portion of the difference.

But data also suggests that at least some home owners may be overlooking a valuable asset. Only about 14% for-sale ads — or less one in seven — mention any kind of dining space at all, according to Zillow. “They’re not mentioned as much as I thought they would be,” says Cheryl Young, the senior Zillow economist who authored the study.

Of course, like all trends, the correlation between above-average home prices and dining rooms varies from region to region. In Cleveland, Ohio, it pays to mention your dining area in your listing, no matter what type of dining room you have. Cleveland homes with formal dining rooms are listed for $244,900 — nearly 45% more than the median $169,000 — while those with an open floor plan ask $237,000, or 40% more than the median.

In other places, like Seattle, Portland, Ore., and San Jose, homes that mention an open floor plan in their listing are actually listed for slightly less than the median price — possibly because of the area’s preference for craftsman-style houses, which generally do not have an open concept plan.

Formal dining rooms, meanwhile, have the most impact in St. Louis and Detroit, where they boost a home’s price by 46% and 58%, respectively. While no place is hurt by the presence of a formal dining room, they have the lowest impact in Atlanta and Dallas-Fort Worth, where homes are priced a mere 5.6% and 11.7% more respectively.