Some home investments will improve both the practical function of your property as well as its looks. Others may do one or the other. There are a few renovation and remodeling projects out there, however, that transcend terms like "form" and "function" and enter into just plain weird. Here are our picks for the 10 most overpriced and outlandish home investments we've seen so far, and a few reasons why it's not worth the money to follow suit.
10.TVs in Unconventional Areas
Okay, it's kinda neat to see TV in places where TV wouldn't normally be. However, installing a TV in the floor, in the shower, behind bathroom mirrors, or any number of other places throughout the home won't really enhance your TV watching all that much. Obviously, it's your house and you can do what you want with it (within the parameters set forth by local ordinances, of course), but when it comes time to sell, prospective buyers might not be too interested in paying extra for oddly situated displays. Even worse--you might not be able to take your TV with you when you move!
9.Really Elaborate Chandeliers
Elegance, as it turns out, is something of a relative term in the respect that what one person views as super-luxurious, the next person might find tacky as all get out. If you're in the market for a chandelier that costs more than most cars, go ahead and install it--but only if you've got the interior to back it up. Put a fancy chandelier (or any uber-riche item) in a room that doesn't share a wall with the Oval Office and you've just bought yourself a very expensive method of deterring would-be buyers.
8.Permanent Indoor Water Features
It's true that the sound of running water can be soothing, and there's no doubt that there are plenty of folks who gain a lot of enjoyment from their indoor water features. They can be striking. They can be bold. However, if they cannot be moved when you or the next person who resides in your home thinks it's time for a change (even to a different water feature!), they can be a large and unnecessary repair bill. Corporate lobbies can get away with installing big, bold water features that are meant to operate almost continuously for decades at a time--most foyers, dining rooms, and dens cannot. By opting for a self-contained water feature instead, you can enjoy the look and feel of running water without the worry that it will cost you a pretty penny someday in the future.
7.Residential Sport Facilities
Do you like racquet ball? I mean really, really like racquet ball? Well, there's no better way to enjoy racquet ball than in to play it in your own home, right?
The simple fact is: Unless you plan to go pro or have money to burn, there's usually a more effective way to invest in your property than creating a costly, specialized, only-one-purpose-possible room inside your home. Building an indoor basketball court, Olympic pool, or baseball diamond might be possible, but for investment purposes, any area designed specifically for only one function is only wise if you will not only stay in your home forever, but enjoy that particular activity as much as you did the day its arena was installed.
Speaking of specific: How about a room of the house where you cannot only do one thing, but consume one thing, as well. Many of us have had the pleasure of seeing these icy-cold rooms displayed on TV or online, and we're the first to admit that it's a neat-o idea. However, a freezing cold room costs a lot of dough to keep cold; one month when the paycheck gets stretched a little thin and that neat-o vodka room might as well be a leaky basement.
5.Permanent Technical Installations
There's a reason why we don't live in the home of the future everyone envisioned in the 1950s: We've surpassed the technology. What's state of the art today can change in the blink of an eye (remember laserdiscs?), so spending a ton of money to outfit your home with built-in features that are difficult to remove and replace is not likely to be a good idea. There's certainly no problem with keeping up with the times, but there's also no need to embed signs of the times into places where they'll be difficult to access.
4.Personalized Anything Permanent
There's no doubt that having one's initials spelled out in high-end tile gives a great "welcome home" feeling to any foyer, but people move from time to time and the next homeowners might not feel as excited about this particular sort of feature. Limit the mosaics to pictures and forget the monogrammed driveway gates.
3.Projects that Waste Resources
One of the biggest trends in the home improvement industry is designing homes that use less energy, yet there are still plenty of common home additions that do just the opposite. Frankly, it's irresponsible. It should also be noted that if your home ever does go on the market, it will be very difficult to explain to prospective buyers why their monthly utility bills will run just as high as their mortgage. In today's market, conservation is key; renovations that end up wasting more energy that the home would otherwise use are the very definition of "behind the times." Wouldn't you be a lot more excited to purchase a home that practically powers itself?
2.Really, Really, Really Expensive Toilets
Bathrooms and kitchens are two of the most heavily remodeled rooms in the house--and for good reason. Functionality in these areas is a key element not only when living in a house, but when trying to sell one, as well; and though there are really no drawbacks to investing in a fixture that functions well, there is such a thing as going overboard. The Hang Fung Gold Technology Group may well have epitomized this notion in three simple words: Solid gold toilet.
1.The Headington Shark
Rather than caution against a general remodeling trend, for our number one, we're just going to say "Don't do this." Situated on an otherwise typical Oxford street, the Headington Shark has been setting Bill Heine's house apart from the rest since 1986. The 25 foot long, 400 pound fiberglass shark that appears to be diving into the roof of 2 New High Street is certainly an eye-catcher, but this kind of curb appeal is not for the faint of heart. While we're all for individuality and self-expression, no one will ever do this better than it's already been done!