Wednesday, July 15, 2015 / by Bill Berning*
When you’re trying to sell your small home, no amount of dressing it up with words like “quaint” and “cozy” will disguise the cold, hard reality. When your home is small, you’ve got to address the issue, not just dance around it – sellers can tell when you’re doing so, and it definitely won’t result in a sale. There are ways to stage small homes that mask the space issues at hand, and furthermore, there are real benefits to smaller homes that you can communicate to buyers. Be upfront, be positive, and you’ll make the sale easily.
The Benefits of Living Small
While we all may dream of having vast acres of green lawn and massive master bedrooms, the fact of the matter is that big homes equal big bills and loads of upkeep. Utility bills for heat and air conditioning alone can double with larger houses, and large lawns equal long, boiling summer afternoons with your lawnmower. Couple that with more effort to clean and more room to collect clutter, and you will begin to see the benefits of a small home. Low upkeep and low utility bills are very attractive selling points for single buyers, young couples looking to buy their first home, and older couples looking to downsize and settle into a home where they can relax into retirement. Not every buyer has space as their main priority, but you should nevertheless make sure their hesitations are addressed.
Small homes rank far higher on the green grading scale for their higher efficiency in dissipating heat and A/C. If you want to play to the green market, make sure that you install other eco-friendly features to really seal the deal: energy-efficient windows, showers, toilets, and lighting are cheap to buy, easy to install DIY, and often make you eligible for government-mandated rebates. These features will add further value to any home, and will really make your small home the green purchase that buyers are looking for.
Interior Staging Tips for Small Homes
Home staging is all about making your home appeal to buyers by performing room renovations and makeovers. Staging is important for selling any home, but is absolutely vital when it comes to selling a small one. While many home sellers don’t have the funds or the appropriate floor plans to start knocking down walls for renovation projects, you can create the illusion of more space with the right furniture, and the right prep.
Living rooms and bedrooms are perhaps the biggest battleground in home staging. To grant the illusion of more space in these rooms, go small – with small furniture, that is. For example, replace a large, bulky couch in your living room with a smaller loveseat. Your buyers will see more space available, and all you had to do was drag some furniture through the door. This trick works in most rooms, and also applies to things like sinks, toilets, and tubs. Replacing large, outdated hardware with smaller and modern options will not only allow you to take advantage of the optical trick, but will also help you get a step ahead on style.
Another common trick to give the illusion of a larger room involves light and mirrors. Having abundant lighting in a room will help your home feel more spacious, and mirrors add to the lighting’s effects as well as using their reflections to add depth to a room. Bringing in more light can be as simple as replacing heavy curtains with light, airy selections, and cleaning your window glass, or can be attained by installing tall corner lamps in corners to spread out the room.
And of course, any room can be made more spacious by removing clutter. Take out accumulated personal knickknacks: remove photographs and other wall ornaments, clean shelves and drawers, clear out your closets to make them look larger, and for goodness’ sake, make the rooms sparkling clean. A kitchen with dirty dishes in the sink won’t appeal to buyers, even if space wasn’t an issue! Consider this step as part of the greater moving project: packing away your things has to happen at some point, so why not get started now?
Don’t Forget the Exterior Work
When staging a small home for sale, too many sellers forget that there’s another part of their home that needs their attention as well: the great outdoors. A small lawn can also be a difficult sell for some home buyers – for example, pet owners and gardening enthusiasts – so, you need to make the effort to space out your yard as well.
Spacing out the exterior of your home is at once easier and more difficult than interior staging – it can be a whole different animal, but certain principles still apply. First and foremost, decrease outdoor clutter before all else. Clean out fallen branches, overgrown gardens, and other various detritus that isn’t only unattractive and potentially dangerous, but makes your yard appear far smaller than it is. Replace cheap outdoor furniture with something more stylish – an attractive patio setup can draw a buyer’s eye away from a cramped yard. Just as small furniture and small hardware can make an indoor room feel more spacious, smaller landscaping features will help expand your yard. Skip bulky bushes and go with smaller, more ornamental flowers to line the property. Keep things minimalist, and your lawn will feel spacious indeed.
Modern home buyers want low-cost, low maintenance options, so selling a small home is easier than ever – however, that doesn’t mean there’s not a bit of work in it for you to make sure you get the best price possible. Staging and selling savvy is essential, and don’t forget to talk up your home’s proximity to local attractions when you’re able. Real estate is all about location, location, location, and if your home’s in a sweet spot, the rewards can be immense, even for the most cramped abode. Do your homework and throw in some elbow grease, and you’ll have the mortgage contract signed in no time flat.