If you’re contemplating building a custom home, there’s a good chance that you want something a little different than what you can find in a standard home. Sure you want better craftsmanship and better materials, but you also want something that reflects your personal sense of style—and fits your lifestyle.
But just how far should you take the customization of your new home? Is it possible to create a home that’s too customized? After all, it’s your home.
There are a couple of ways to look at this. Generally, when experts (builders, designers, realtors) talk about a house being “too customized,” they’re thinking about the impact over-customization can have on resale. Here’s an example.
Let’s say you’re an avid horticulturist and you love to raise orchids. You could take one of the spaces designated as a bedroom in your new home and make significant changes that turn it into an indoor garden. It would no longer function as a bedroom, but you wouldn’t mind, because you’d have a great place to pursue your orchid passion.
If you ever try to sell the house, however, someone who is looking for a 3-bedroom home won’t be interested in a 2-bedroom home plus a garden room. That doesn’t mean you can’t do what you want, but you should take the potential consequences into consideration.
On the other side of the equation, there are some elements of customization that you may want to pursue—even if you don’t get all of your money back when it’s time to sell. These tend to be comfort or “luxury” features. Maybe you absolutely hate cold bathroom floors in the winter. You could install heated floors in your master bathroom. The person looking to buy your home several years down the road may not be willing to pay more for heated floors. But that kind of improvement won’t keep him or her from buying the house. You may never recoup all your expense—but you will have had the enjoyment of that particular feature while you lived there.
If you’re unsure about the level of customization (assuming that your budget will permit it), talk to your builder. Builders have a pretty good sense of what people will pay for, what they won’t pay for, and what could actually keep someone from buying your house down the road.
Customize your home to make it more comfortable for your family—but not at the risk of making the house uncomfortable for a future buyer.