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Some of the most popular shows on television today are the DIY home shows.  You can follow homeowners through all sorts of crazy projects and renovations, that seem incredible when you watch them.

These shows can be so inspiring that they move you to try a few yourself.  If you are a skilled builder or if you hire a professional, you can add some pretty amazing things to your home. But, while these things might add value to your life, they do not always add value to your home.

When it comes time to sell your house, the thing to remember is that you are not selling it to yourself.  Your particular tastes and need constitute a very narrow market.  The general idea is that you want a potential buyer to be able to see themselves and their family in the house and not be reminded that it was yours.

Here is a list of some “upgrades and additions” you might have added to your home, or are thinking of adding that may not be as attractive to the general public.

  1. Turning your Garage into something else
    Most people own a car and they are looking for a safe place to store it out of the weather.  You might think that turning a garage or a carport into an extra family room is a good idea, but homebuyers value the safety of their car and the extra storage a bit more, in general.
  2. A Home Gym
    If you did enclose your garage, perhaps you turned the extra space into a workout room. As I stated above you automatically lose value when you lose the garage.
    But even if you convert an existing room into a workout room you could be losing value.  Depending on the amount of construction done, it could be a room that a buyer just doesn’t want to salvage.
    While there is nothing wrong with putting in a treadmill or having a weight bench in a room, Covering the walls with mirrors or installing equipment can be a real turn-off.
    Also, anything built into the room becomes part of the property.  You have to sell it with the house unless otherwise stated in the contract. 
  3. Covering up hardwood or tile with carpet
    In general, people prefer hardwood floors and tile to carpet.  It’s easier to maintain and just looks better to most people.  If you have installed carpet to cover these up for some reason (and there is nothing wrong with the original floors) you might want to consider taking the carpet back out before putting your house on the market.
  4. Putting in a pool
    I’m talking specifically about an above-ground pool here.  They may be fun for your family, but quite often they are simply an eyesore to other people.  If you have one, try and remove it and get the grass growing in your yard again. You will get more people interested in your house.
  5. Crazy kids rooms
    Turning your kid’s room into a theme park can be an amazing project.  I have seen tree houses and castle motifs.  Some people build in slides and fantasy reading nooks.  Kids love these things.
    Unfortunately, you will have to find a buyer with kids exactly the same ages as yours were when you built the room out, with the same taste, for it to be attractive.  That’s a very narrow market.
  6.  Super elaborate lighting
    Enormous antler-themed chandeliers in the dining room or palm-leaf fans can add a lot of character to a house, but it’s not the sort of thing most people are looking for.  If you have installed unusual or themed lighting in your house. Get it replaced with some sensible fixtures and let the new owners put their own spin on it.
    Remember, light fixtures are a part of the property so these will have to be replaced before you show your house.  You want the new buyers to see exactly what they are getting.
  7.  Converting a bedroom into a dedicated office, theater, or man cave
    When you list a house on the market the first thing people look at is the number of bedrooms and bathrooms.
    If you build in theater seating, walls of bookshelves, or heavy paneling and rustic beams to be manly, you risk a lot of potential buyers passing you by.  The value of a house is set first by location, bedrooms and bathrooms, square footage, and then the basics like the kitchen and storage. Just be aware that your DIY “home improvements” might be great for you personally, but maybe not for everyone.

If you are inspired to do something unique to your home, make sure that it is reversible, or at the very least not so jarring that it takes the focus from the rest of your home.

In the end, it is much easier to sell a house that is as close to neutral as possible.  People looking to buy a home want to make the property their own.  

If you have already made some of these choices, then prepare yourself for the fact that not as many people are prepared to pay for them as you would think so they might not have added the cash value to your house you wanted them to.

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