SELLER’S ARTICLES – FOR THE SMART CONSUMER
Every buyer has a dream home in mind. As a seller, you are probably well aware of the types of features that buyers are looking for and have made updates and improvements to capture the attention of those buyers.
Many owners of small homes become discouraged in a buyer’s market because they believe that buyers want keep up with the median home size and therefore avoid smaller homes. While this may be true for some buyers with families, first-time homebuyers who are single tend to gravitate toward smaller homes simply due to the lower maintenance costs. Also, small homes tend to be less expensive for young couples and single-parent families who are just starting out. Most people who purchase smaller homes either intend to live there only temporarily, until a life change necessitates upgrading to a larger home.
There is a niche market for small homes. As a homeowner, accept the fact that your home may take longer to sell than a larger home. Price your home accordingly and do not inflate the value significantly. Otherwise, you stand to lose potential buyers from the beginning.
One of the top priorities for most buyers is space. Today’s homebuyers prefer space for media rooms, home offices, and hobby areas. But there are exceptions. Small homes are often the choice for empty-nesters who are looking to downsize and minimize maintenance and upkeep costs. And, young professionals who opt to buy instead of rent often find that small homes provide them with adequate living and storage space until they are prepared to move into a larger home.
When you need to sell a small home, you face the challenge of finding buyers who are less interested in spacious homes. The following information is aimed toward the owners of small homes, but it is really applicable to anyone placing a home on the market.
Any real-estate professional will tell you that the first thing you need to concentrate on when planning to sell is how the exterior of your home appears from the street. This is called curb appeal, and it requires more than just mowing the lawn occasionally.
With small homes, in particular, you need to adopt a minimalist approach to the exterior of the home. Choose the lightest possible neutral colors for your home’s exterior and draw attention to gables or other features that make the home appear larger.
Unlike landscaping for larger homes, small-home landscaping should never assume that more is better. It is far better to use the right plants and trees in strategic locations than to over-plant. A crowded landscape will make a small home appear even smaller.
Keep your trees trimmed, because unkempt trees will over-shadow your house and make the building appear smaller. Also, if you have tall hedges or bushes, consider removing or trimming them significantly.
Elegance is the key to curb appeal for small homes. Focus on a multi-seasonal approach that will make the landscape look attractive regardless of the season. Multi-colored flowers and greenery, nicely trimmed bushes and a few flowering trees may be all you need to make your home have that elegant, welcoming feel that all potential buyers are looking for.
On the Inside
In smaller homes, space is often a major consideration. Perhaps that is even why you are selling the home. As described below, you can do several things to give your home the illusion of having more space.
Clear the Clutter
The first step is to remove as many of your belongings as possible from the home before potential buyers stop in for a visit. This may mean packing your belongings and temporarily putting them in the garage or even a storage unit. It may also mean removing some of your furnishings from the home to open up the available space. A small room with little furniture will seem larger than a small room with little space to move around. Take a walk through your home and pay attention to rooms that feel overcrowded. Your instinct is probably correct and will show you where to begin the process of downsizing.
Brightness is Critical
Once you have begun clearing out space in your home, take a look at the amount of light coming into the rooms. A bright room appears larger than a darkened room. Consider taking down your heavy or colorful drapes in favor of simple blinds and sheer curtains. Another advantage to using blinds instead of curtains is that blinds are not obtrusive and cover little more than the window itself. Select blinds that closely match the wall color.
Speaking of Color
Neutral colors are the best choice for owners who need to showcase a smaller home. While dark, rich colors have become extremely popular in recent years, they also make rooms appear smaller. Potential buyers can envision your home with their tastes and furnishings more easily if you make the home as neutrally colored as possible.
Homeowners often focus on making their home décor minimal throughout the selling process. Those selling small homes need to go one step further. Placing mirrors strategically throughout the home may make it appear larger.
If you have recently updated your kitchen or bathroom(s) or added a deck in the backyard, draw attention to those details. A smaller home with a bright, updated kitchen is much more likely to entice prospective buyers. Many small homes also have creative storage space that should be featured. Anyone who has lived in a small home values storage space, whether traditional or creative. Highlight your use of space. Make sure that storage areas are well-lit and as clean and clutter-free as possible.
With a little time, attention, and a healthy dose of patience, you can successfully sell your small home. You need to attract buyers and interest them from the very first moment when they see your home, either online or by driving past it. By following the simple advice above, you are well on your way to attracting and enticing potential buyers. You will stand a good chance of selling your home to someone who will love and appreciate it as much as you have over the years.