as a cold pantry or wine cellar. Potential buyers may view these personal extravagances as expensive projects to undo or instead make it part of the deal that you undo them yourself.

Where’s the garage?

If it looks like a garage, potential home buyers are expecting it to be a garage. If they walk in and find that it’s been completely changed into something else that can no longer have a car stored in it, they may not be too excited. Home buyers enjoy not having hail damage their vehicles, not cleaning off ice or snow on winter mornings, not leaving their car at the mercy of night-time pranksters — or worse. Instead of a “man cave,” you will find greater success with a real garage. That does not mean that you cannot create that family room, theater, or gym in your garage. You can — if you set it up in such a way that the garage can become a garage again with minimal cost. For example, don’t carpet it. If you want to cover the garage floor, do so with large area rugs, or if you want to use carpet, roll it out onto the surface without attaching it with glue or permanently installing it in any other way. If you have built-in storage cabinets, leave them as such instead of dismantling them to hang up the big screen.

The famous kitchen.

On paper, kitchen renovations are usually only worth about half of what homeowners spend on them — even less if you go too gourmet. New granite countertops, new tile flooring, a new brushed stainless-steel sink, and a sophisticated cabinet system with a hideaway refrigerator — these things and more might be your


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