realADVICE: Small homes are scoring big points with buyers


With more people working from home at least part of the time, the demand for properties with a study or home office space has increased - but if your home doesn’t have this extra space (or a guest suite or a second sitting room), you should not be too hasty to plan an addition or alteration before trying to sell it.

There is really no need to do so as there is currently good demand for well-priced smaller properties – especially among younger buyers who want to live in established suburbs close to good schools and workplaces but have a limited budget. Adding on would in many cases make an otherwise perfect property too expensive for such buyers.

In addition, many younger buyers are truly concerned about the environment and are aiming to “live smaller” in order to reduce their eco-impact. They prefer smaller homes that use less land and resources such as water, require fewer furnishings, cost less to run and produce less waste.

Bigger is also not necessarily better any more even for top executives and professionals, who now often eschew expansive mansions in favour of a glamorous townhouses or clusters that allow them to enjoy the advantages of living in an upmarket suburb without maintenance or security becoming too much of a burden.

And then there are the many retirees who don’t want to leave a familiar area but are delighted to downsize from a large family home to a smaller property that is easier to manage.

Consequently, if you want to sell a compact home, your best course of action is usually not to embark on expensive alterations but rather to make sure that the space you do have is well kept and presented at its very best. This is what will give your home the edge over others in the same price range.

And the number one strategy for making a small home look bigger and more appealing is to get rid of clutter. Move that lifetime collection of knicknacks, holiday mementos and heirlooms out of sight and keep accessories and art works simple.

Other ideas to make a small home stand out include:

  • Painting walls and ceilings in light colours and hanging light curtains and blinds.
  • Removing unnecessary items of furniture and adding mirrors to give rooms more depth.
  • Using tall, narrow lamps and planters that take up less floor space and add an impression of height.
  • Using sliding doors to incorporate an outside entertainment area like a patio or balcony into the overall living space.

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