How Much is TOO Much When Customizing Your Home?

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How Much is TOO Much When Customizing Your Home?

There is a reason why the phrases exist- “there’s no place like home” and “home is where the heart is.” We all want to feel like our living spaces are uniquely ours, suited to our specific lifestyles, tastes, and preferences; even if in small ways. A half-century ago, you could do just that as most people bought one, maybe two homes in the course of their lives. Now, with the average family making seven home purchases over the course of their lives, we all must keep in mind how any significant changes will affect our ability to sell out home in the future. A lot of things can significantly narrow your future potential buyers, such as:

Pools- Pools are great for gatherings, parties, and relaxing. They provide relief on a hot day and a cool place to relax and unwind. But they are also a huge source of liability, are expensive to maintain, and come along with home insurance surcharges and requirements. As with other modifications, there is only a specific type of buyer looking for a pool in their purchase. We suggest an above-ground pool if you choose to install one; as they can be removed and the space returned to the yard much more easily for a new buyer.

Bars- For those that have them, the idea is similar to a pool- a great place to gather, party, and relax. But the result is also true- the next buyer of your home may love it or hate it. Consider a large bar cart or even an outdoor one before you make the decision to create one inside- it may be a perfect alternative.

Theatres- Many times with larger homes we will see rooms in attics or basement areas converted into home theaters. The theory is- why pay all that money when you can enjoy a private screening at home? The problems arise when new buyers just don’t have the same vision for the space. Also consider that wiring, equipment, and setup may not be what they had in mind. Never mind the times when a 3-bedroom home has had the LARGEST bedroom converted into a theater or other unique-use space- those are the real challenges!

Other  Things- Certain projects are less of an issue- you usually cannot go wrong putting in new cabinets, updating bathrooms, or installing new floors. Putting on a fresh new coat of neutral paint is never a bad idea, either. If someone in your home requires a lift or a ramp for mobility, most of these can be installed and removed with relative ease and are not permanent. None of these things should cause major issues when it comes time to sell your home.


These are just a few suggestions to help you maximize your home’s value when it comes time to sell. Every situation is different, and you really need to think about how long you plan to live in the particular home before deciding how much customizing to do. Also consider the time and money to be invested to both make and reverse the customization. Even if you plan to stay in your home for life, always remember that plans can change…and it may be quite a challenge to explain why your 10 acre lot has been converted to a Medieval Times-style amphitheatre for your latest hobby… at least to most people, that is!

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Robert L. Brown
Associate Broker
Bellabay Realty
Primary: 616 528 0736
Office: 616 871 1309

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Ian Flannigan
North Texas Real Estate Team - Plano, TX
Expansion Team Builder - Investing Consultant

Great article Robert! My partners and I have over improved a few houses in this last hot market cycle. We learned a ton even after 100's deals. 

Getting too personal can backfire for sure. 

Aug 05, 2019 06:28 PM #1
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667,, Broker, Blackstone Realty Group - brokered by eXp Realty - Kalispell, MT
The House Kat

It's a great idea to keep resale value in mind when making any upgrades to a home. Here, many buyers specifically indicate they do not want to see any homes with inground pools - they just don't want the liability/maintenance.

Aug 06, 2019 03:11 AM #2
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Robert L. Brown

Grand Rapids Real Estate Bellabay Realty, West Mic
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