The trend towards tiny homes isn’t exactly breaking news, but it also isn’t going anywhere. Last year, according to the United States Census Bureau, the median square footage for a single-family home fell to 2,378 feet during Q3, with the average square footage also decreasing during that time to 2,518 square feet.
Money-savvy millennials and aging retirees continue to seek out smaller homes, which is good news for anyone trying to sell one. The not so good news? Selling a small house, whether chic-tiny or just plain small, is still pretty hard to do.
According to US News, despite the trend towards small homes, many people still want the features found in large ones: like the large open living rooms, restaurant-style kitchens. The minimalist lifestyle isn’t for everyone, and there’s a lot to be said for small homes that feel spacious, versus ones that just feel small.
If you’re about to put your small home on the market, take a look at our step-by-step guide to attract buyer interest in your humble abode, and get the latest tips from America’s top agents for how to sell your small house.
Stage Your Small House to Make It Look Big
Real estate agent Ashlynn Petrocco from Ryan Cave’s top selling real estate team in Collins County, TX knows first hand what it means to fix up a small house, being that she lives in one. Some of the most common decor mistakes she’s seen in small houses involve color schemes and lighting— both of which can make small rooms feel even smaller.
When she purchased her 1200 square foot home, she said it was cluttered and had red walls. The biggest offenders in small spaces are often the simplest, like poor choices in paint, drapes, and wall decor.
Light colored painted walls will make spaces feel larger, as will sheer drapes that let in the most natural light. If you have a small space with lots of complicated wall decor, this will contribute to the cramped feeling.
Says Petrocco, “Check what you’re putting on the walls— dark pictures suck everything in.”
Furniture is another, albeit more obvious, way to change the way your space feels. Cluttered rooms with oversized pieces won’t work when trying to sell a small home, since the last thing you’ll want is frustrated buyers attempting to navigate tight spaces. When Petrocco moved into her new small space she says, “everything went to light gray smaller size furniture.”
Other common tricks used by professional stagers include hanging window treatments higher to make ceilings appear taller, and strategically placing mirrors or tall lamps in corners.
Quick Tips For Staging Your Small Home for Sale:
- Declutter rooms and keep furniture to a minimum
- Paint walls a light neutral color, and let in natural light
- Remove any dark wall art, and give rooms more height by raising window treatments or adding in tall objects
Focus on Features When Advertising a Small House
When it comes to marketing your small house, few things matter more than presentation. Smaller homes should always capitalize on their best features, especially if those include a great location or a large outdoor space. While these perks won’t necessarily sway someone looking for a large home to go small, they’ll definitely help coax an interested buyer into making the final plunge.
When working with buyers, Petrocco always tells her clients, “If it’s a neighborhood you like, and it checks some boxes, it’s always worth seeing.” Location is a big box for many buyers, especially those that are interested in starting a family. Petrocco finds that the majority of buyers shopping for small homes are either first time buyers or older generations looking to downsize, and in these scenarios the little benefits can go a long way.
Be sure to call out your home’s best features in your open house flyers, including:
- the name of your neighborhood
- notable schools and their ratings
- other location highlights you love (nearby restaurants, attractions, etc).
- average commute distances and public transit access
Similarly, if the home comes with a great outdoor space, this is also something to call out. For first-time buyers, a private outdoor space is something they’ve likely never had before. Toss a little extra mulch in the garden and spruce up the patio, then mention words like “BBQ-ready” and “garden oasis” in your ads to spark buyer interest.
Always capitalize on a great location or private outdoor space, especially when marketing a small home. For first time buyers and young couples, a little less space might just be a worthy trade-off when held up against these features.
Sell the Benefits of Living in a Smaller House
Small homes come with a lot of benefits, especially for buyers interested in reducing their cost of living. Not only do they shrink utility bills and tax expenses, but they also allow people to live more minimally and simply.
Says Petrocco, “I’ve even had buyers consolidate [their] items for a small home.”
If buyers are on the fence about a small space, it’s likely a storage-related concern. Staging your closets is a great opportunity to show potential buyers just what can be done to maximize the space and accomodate all of their stuff.
Try keeping some neatly stacked bins (or high-end shopping bags) in small closets to give buyers creative solutions to their storage concerns.
Smaller homes are also seen as more eco-friendly, minimizing the amount of waste from electricity or water. All of these benefits should be highlighted in your marketing materials, but in a way that doesn’t make the home sound like a crawl space.
Work with your real estate agent to strike exactly the right balance in your marketing.
Quick Tips For Selling The Benefits of Your Small House for Sale:
- Use words like “affordable” or “great deal” in your marketing materials to highlight the low-costs attached to your small home.
- Coordinate with your real estate agent to strike the right balance of descriptive words that highlight the home’s eco-friendly and simple-living charm.
- Stage your storage spaces to give the appearance of maximum use.
Putting It All Together to Sell Your Small HouseUltimately, when selling a small home, your focus should be on making it feel like the perfect size: large enough to accomodate a buyer’s needs, open enough so as not to feel cramped, and with all those added perks that keep it affordable. A good floor plan plays a key part in this, since the layout of a home can make all the difference in how it actually feels inside.
“I always tell buyers, it’s not about the size and the number, its about the layout of the home,” says Petrocco. “How you feel walking through the home will be totally different from what you envision.”
Some buyers might arrive to your front door skeptical about the small square footage, but if the layout is open, those concerns will be swept away. Set up your home to feel as open as possible. Sometimes this might be a matter of staging, and other times knocking out a wall might be the game-changing move.
Do anything you can to increase visibility in your home, and remove unnecessary doors or drapes that only serve to block off spaces. Anything you can do to create long lines of vision within your home will instantly make it feel more spacious.
Here’s Your Final Checklist for How to Sell Your Small House
- Highlight storage areas with creative storage solutions.
- Temporarily remove unnecessary doors to open up the layout.
- Swap out dark drapes for sheer ones, or consider removing them all together.
- If a wall stands between you and your perfect open concept floor plan, remove it.