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Blogs Lynn's Blog Realtor Mag - Living Big in a Small Home (part 3)


Posted Mar 14, 2011 2:46 pm (8 years ago)

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- Room Mapping -

The article below is from Realtor®Mag - Official Magazine of the National Association of Realtors®

 
Before purchasing any furniture or accessory, it’s critical to map out a room. "That way you won’t discover you can’t open the door to the storage compartment in your new end tables," Lathrop says. She recommends putting a small console in the entry or living room and buying bookcases with a cabinet section.

 

And then there’s the closets: Clean them out. Kay Courtney, CRS®, GRI, a broker in Grand Rapids, Mich., encourages her clients to remove half the items from their closets to get ready for showings. 

 

"If the closet is overstuffed, it says to a potential buyer, ‘There’s not enough storage space in this house.’ "And just to live comfortably, she recommends storing off-season clothing somewhere other than the closet, such as under the bed. And don’t forget the basement. 

 

Courtney says adding a few inexpensive cabinets, even to unfinished basements, can create lots more storage for off-season clothes and infrequently used items from the kitchen.

 

Hoffman reminds his sellers not to forget the outside of a house. High bushes, overgrown trees, lots of outdoor furniture, and other yard paraphernalia can make a house look smaller. "People want the ideal," he says. "If you don’t have it, create it." Installing flower boxes or hanging a swing on the front porch adds a touch of charm and coziness to a smaller house.

 

For the more adventurous, McNicholas offers a few easy structural changes that give the illusion of more space. Higher ceilings make a room feel larger. In an existing house, building out a small soffit along the edge of the ceiling, creating a tray effect, tricks the eye into thinking the center of the room is higher than the edges. 

 

"It feels bigger," McNicholas says. And lowering the ceiling in a hallway makes the rooms off it feel bigger and grander. "Even a few inches makes a big difference when you walk into the room and get the sense of that extra height," he says.

 

Buyers also may need some extra coaching when looking at smaller houses. "You have to show them how they can repurpose rooms, like splitting that fourth bedroom they don’t need to accommodate a master bathroom and closet," Hoffman says. It’s not uncommon for him to bring along an architect or remodeling expert to help potential buyers see the possibilities. 

 

"People want the perfect house immediately," he says. "When they’re buying a smaller house, you have to prep them. Let them know they may have to make a few changes, but that it’s not scary or overly difficult."

 

He also likes to highlight the benefits of smaller houses. "They tend to be closer to the city, which means easy access to public transportation," Hoffman says. "And they’re often single floor, too, which can be useful in so many ways, from cleaning to just getting around."

 

Another benefit of a modestly sized house is that it forces families to spend time together, says McNicholas. "When everyone has a room to be entertained in, you’re not interacting much," he says. "When you have a smaller space, it puts you together. You can rediscover your family."

 

But buyers do have to think differently. "It takes more thought and planning to live in a smaller space," Lathrop says. "You have to think about what you need, how you can be more efficient, and where can you add storage." The key is not to be afraid and to embrace the benefits, she says. "It’s much easier to take care of, and your electric bill will be lower. What’s not to love?"
 

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