Whether you’re looking for your first East Van condo, or you’re moving up in the real estate world, you’ll be on the lookout for a home that suits your lifestyle. This includes a space where you can live, cook, eat, sleep, work, entertain, relax, and store all of your belongings.
Unfortunately, MLS (the Real Estate Listings Website) doesn’t let you search specifically for a “1 bedroom + den”, so you have to look through all 1 bedroom units for the ones with the extra den space, and even the two bedroom units in case a realtor called the den a second bedroom.
It seems natural that a 1 bedroom condo would not be as livable as a 1 bedroom + den condo, doesn’t it? That’s not always the case. Look for efficient floor plans with usable space and flow.
Efficient Floor Plans
With the rise of “open floor plans” many condos these days have one main space -where the kitchen, living room and dining room (if you’re lucky to have space for that!) are one big room. This leaves your bedroom as the only separate space in the condo. However, many condo buildings also offer the 1 bedroom + den floor plans to give you a little bit of extra “flex” space that you can use for a variety of purposes. I’ve seen this used as storage, a pantry, an office, an extra walk in closet for those with large wardrobes, a crib room, a wine room or unfortunate unused space. Sometimes it comes in the form of a solarium surrounded by windows making the space really bright and lacking some privacy from the condos around you. Sometimes it comes as a dark space with no windows. Sometimes it’s space for “in suite” storage that replaces a storage locker. Keep in mind – if you want to use the space as a “bedroom” or office, ensure the space has electrical outlets as not every den/storage/solarium has them.
Often, condo developers will charge more for 1 bedroom + den units, than 1 bedroom units. Sometimes this is because the units are slightly bigger, but not often. From what I’ve seen, space in the bedroom and dining room tends to be sacrificed to have that extra den space. So think about it? Would you use a den? Do you really need that small separate space or would you rather a better and bigger main living space?
How Much Value does a Den Add to a Condo?
From a real estate perspective, does that den add much value?
Consider where the den is in relation to the rest of the space. Could you possibly remove a wall to open it up? Is it separate from the main living space?
Condos with one bedroom and a den have always been more expensive than condos with just one bedroom. It’s not the extra wall adding increasing the cost, so what is it?
Developers often group floor plans when they offer the units for sale. Studios are the lowest priced, then one bedrooms, then one plus dens, then two bedrooms and so on. Keep in mind that square footage and which floor the unit is on are the major factors when it comes to the price. But what about similar sized one bedrooms and one plus den units? Remove the 50sqft den and all of a sudden there’s extra square footage that could have been added to every other room! This could lead to a tub instead of a shower, a proper dining space instead of bar seating, a coat closet or room for a desk in the living room. That’s a huge difference in the usefulness of your living space!
Many Buyers look at property and think, “imagine all the things I could do with this space!”, rather than, “I know exactly what I will do with this space”. This leads them to buy one plus dens, and then never utilize the space because they spend all their time in their (could be bigger) living/dining room.
Do you need a Den?
Do you need a den, or extra flex space? Really consider the floor plan. Think about your day to day activities, your sometimes activities, your current furniture and your budget for new furniture. Use those factors to determine if you need that extra den.
I would like to mention that many of the older buildings in East Van, anything built before 2000 generally have some really great floor plans. Buildings used to be built with large principal rooms, more storage closets and more square footage, and typically older condos ave great floor plans. Some of the newer condos try to squeeze a den into a smaller space so they can sell a “1 bedroom + den” even though the den isn’t actually a good addition to the space.