Bigger isn’t always better in real estate. While some buyers may really value the square footage of a home, there are a number of buyers who may either be looking to downsize or who might be interested in other factors besides size.
With millennials having children at the slowest rate in American history and many empty nesters looking for a post-retirement space that meets their needs, the market is ripe for people looking for smaller dwellings.
Here are five tips for how real estate agents working on smaller homes can best highlight the features and values of these modest dwellings.
1. Look to the outside before looking in
You know the saying: “first impressions are everything.” So, if you’re selling a home with a fantastic yard or ideal outdoor areas, focus on that first. Ample outdoor space can be quite the selling point. And even if the outdoor space isn’t terribly spacious, well-done landscaping can make smaller homes appear larger than they are.
Pro tip: Have owners place taller plants closer to the house and smaller plants progressively farther away from each other to fill out the area and make the entrance more grand for potential buyers.
2. Sell the eco-friendly elements of the home
By their nature, smaller homes are going to be greener. There’s less space to heat and cool, and that’s going to be a monthly money saver for the new homeowner.
Highlighting the energy-efficient features and lower cost of living can pique the interest of those budget-conscious buyers who are looking for the best long-term bang for their buck.
3. Highlight location, location, location
Real estate is all about location. People pay more for homes in their ideal communities. Whether it’s a great school district or the home’s proximity to shops, restaurants, entertainment or other amenities nearby, showcase attractive elements of the neighborhood.
Get the buyer thinking about the value of all the places and destinations within a walk or short drive of their future home.
4. Be sure to declutter and light the space properly
Once you have the prospective buyers seeing the home, you’re going to want to make the smaller home feels as big as possible inside. That starts with decluttering the space.
Work with the homeseller before any showings to remove any non-essential items so that living spaces appear larger. Get rid of unnecessary seating and small appliances on kitchen counters. Again, you want to open the space as much as possible.
Lighting the space properly can also make it feel bigger than it is. Open shades and curtains to make sure the windows bring in as much natural light as possible. Using taller corner lamps that shine light upward can also create the illusion of more space in dimly lit rooms.
5. Focus on why smaller is better
Living in a small house definitely has its perks. Highlight these whenever possible: from lower utility costs and smaller property tax bills to less maintenance (less space to clean, remodel and landscape), be sure to play up the benefits of the compact size of the home.
There are plenty of ways to market a smaller home. These are some suggestions based on what we’ve seen in the industry. The key is to focus on what makes sense for the given home you’re selling and the area it’s in.
Ultimately, you’re not just selling a space for people to live in. You’re selling a dream and a lifestyle. There are plenty of minimalists or downsizers who are going to love the rightsized home for them.
Kathleen Kuhn is the president of HouseMaster.