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Experts caution about over customizing

Over customizing a home should be avoided, experts caution. Buyers should bear in mind that eventually, they will want to sell the house and that not everyone may share their appreciation for 24-karat gold fixtures, Realtor Frank Napoli says.

“I can’t tell you how many times a client has told me, we had no intention of ever leaving, and then … so yes, build your home and customize it the way you’re going to want to enjoy it, but always keep in mind, eventually you will want to sell it,” Napoli said.

Sun West Custom Homes President Dan Coletti has given clients the exact custom touches they requested, from a stripper pole (“easy to remove later”) to a client’s dog’s likeness recreated in a wall tile mosaic.

Some customizations can be easily changed, but larger ones may present a problem, Coletti said. “People can go overboard with their own kind of odd ideas.”

For example, “We built a gun range in the basement of a house and a lot of people would say, ‘Don’t need it, wouldn’t care to have it, and now what do we do now that were stuck with it?’”

A more common example, Coletti says, are urinals. “I’ve built quite a few urinals in the boys side of the bathroom and the owners sometimes think it’s the coolest thing ever, but when they go to sell it, everyone looks at it and goes, ‘Really?’”

Elaborate fish tanks are another customization that can go either way, Napoli and Coletti said. “Big maintenance and they’re built so into the structure of the house that when somebody else buys the house, they wonder how they can undo it. It’s a pretty big deal,” Coletti said.

Tyler Jones cautions buyers to think ahead to what the next buyer’s expectations for a home would be.

“I have had clients say they only need a two-car garage, and I think, hey, it’s a really nice neighborhood, you need a three- or four-car garage. That’s a pretty simple thing to get right. Or they might have a real specific hobby room, but as long as it could be converted into something else, it’s not a big deal,” he said.

Napoli also mentioned wine cellars. “There’s a lot of people who like wine and have a wine cellar, but there’s too many I see where the wine cellar is the whole focal point of the room. For someone who’s not a big wine person, it doesn’t work out,” he said.

His overall advice was “don’t personalize it too much. Keep the future buyer in mind. You want to appeal to a bigger portion of the buyer pool.”

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