Real Estate Tough Sell: The Too-Custom Home

Not that long ago, pretty much the greatest status symbol you could own was a trophy house: a home so highly customized that it shouted to the world just how special you were. Today, those same indulgences--the rooftop pools, bathrooms without doors and rooms with see-through glass floors--are the white elephants of the higher-end real estate marketplace. Let's face it: One man's moat with stepping stones is another man's, "Uh, how do you bring the groceries in from the car?"

It's not that unique features aren't fabulous, it's just that leaving too big a personal imprint--the koi pond filled with rescued sea turtles--can be an impediment in this buyers-rule market. It doesn't matter whether you're a celebrity or Joe Normal trying to sell your tract house: Experts say this is no time for purple dining-room walls and computerized toilet seats.