Whatever home improvement project we choose, we all want it to look good and add value to our house. However, some do not. As a rule, experts say the more personal the improvement, the more likely you won't recover the investment. Those expensive, hand-painted tiles from Portugal may look beautiful in the bath--to you. However, It's unlikely someone else will pay a premium for your decorating taste. Bottom line, you'll be lucky to get back 50 cents on the dollar if your renovations are a vehicle for self-expression. Another rule to live by when it comes to home improvements is to know where you live. For example, a pool is a must-have in Florida, but not in Vermont. Another example is that homeowners tend to think that every house must have a deck. It’s something that is really wasted space if you live in a colder climate. Many home buyers will pick up on this and chalk it up to wasted area. Don’t build it of no one will come. Lastly, if you build it, you need to make sure that you don’t go against the character of your neighborhood. This is a huge mistake that homeowners make time and time again! You have to have a sense of the neighborhood. For example, don’t build a guest house if no one else has one. It’s also a good idea to not have the most expensive house on the block, because you will never recoup your money. Realtors say, if you’re trying to get top dollar when you sell, don’t put in granite countertops in if everyone has tile or laminate. If you just love granite and are having it installed so you and your family can enjoy it, then go for it. The bottom line is that if you want to make money on your home, you need to choose quality materials, but keep them with the general character of the neighborhood. Think neutrals and no personal taste!