What will it cost?
Many people dislike asking that question for fear of seeming too thrifty. When it comes to buying a house, however, it is a question that has to be asked.
If you want to upgrade from a laminate countertop to a granite countertop, the extra $2,000 to $5,000 might not be a problem. An extra $20,000 to add a sunroom might force you to clench the checkbook.
Building and product costs can span a wide spectrum and go from the simple to the surreal. You might think that an extra $25 for a nicer faucet finish is a simple decision. When it comes to an extra $30,000 for a home theater with movie-style seating, however, the decision becomes more complicated.
Here's a look at what some typical products costs. Use this as a guide as you put together your housing choices and budget.
In the kitchen, the cost to upgrade the appliance package offered through a builder can start around $1,000 and go up to $10,000 or more. You can toss in a warming drawer for about $800 and a nicer faucet for $350 or so.
In the bathroom, fixtures often rule the day. Many home buyers splurge on fancy faucets to make the vanity and countertop area shine. While bathroom faucets can range from $50 to $1,500, many fall in the $200 to $500 range.
Many buyers upgrade the master bathroom with a two handle-faucet.
"It takes a little bit more space, but it's a little more gracious and it's worth it," said Therese Schaefer, vice president of sales and marketing for Landmark Homes, which builds homes priced from $500,000.
People often spend about $800 total for two bathroom vanity faucets, she said.
Many buyers then will coordinate those faucets with a more stylish tub deck faucet in a matching or coordinating finish for about $500. When it comes to the shower fixtures, however, Schaefer recommends saving the money.
Her advice: "Leave it alone - you can't see it."
When buying fixtures, the price often rises and falls with the finish. Faucets with antique bronze, brushed nickel or other trendy finishes will cost more than a simple, chrome faucet.
The basic fixtures are suitable for many people decorating a child's bathroom, however.
"In a kid's bath, they are sticking with a simple, single-handle faucet because it is easier for the kids to flip on and off," Schaefer said.
Besides, toothpaste looks like toothpaste, whether it shows up on a simple chrome faucet or one with an upscale Venetian bronze finish. The same goes for fingerprints.
In the closet area, the sky can almost be the limit when it comes to shelving and organizational products. Many home buyers prefer a walk-in closet in the master bedroom, which naturally means it is larger than a traditional "reach-in" closet.
In fact, some walk-in closets in custom homes are as large as bedrooms, taking up 250 to 500 square feet or more. The cost to organize it may be akin to the cost of adding a sunroom or porch.