by Phoebe Chongchua
How quickly tastes change! Remember the days of downsizing, cutting back, and minimal living? They're gone. Well, not completely.. some people are still opting for smaller homes but, according to CNN, when it comes to homes, big is in again!
Homes are creeping up in size and buyers are saying "gimme more". The median U.S. home expanded to 2,306 square feet, increasing by 8 percent from 2009 and hitting an all-time record, reported CNNMoney.
During the tough economic times, homes shrank by 6 percent, supposedly ending the McMansion trend and leaving the average home sized at about 2,100 square feet. So the shrinkage might not have been an indicator that homebuyers really want a smaller home. Instead, according to the National Association of Realtors, people prefer a home that's about 2,200 square feet.
Housing experts say the desire for a smaller home may have had more to do with the lack of available funding for larger homes. Now, as the economy and housing market pick up again, the desire for more is on buyers' minds. And builders are taking note. They're planning to increase home size. Already some developers are selling homes that are about 7 percent larger than the past year.
When a homes doesn't come built large enough; homeowners are adding on. Remodeling is increasing and people are, in some cases, adding 20 percent more floor space–even in an already spacious home.
So what are buyers doing with all this space? Some are teaming up with other generations of family members. Whether it's an elderly parent or college grad returning home, living under one roof is making it possible for all to have more living space without having to carry the financial burden alone.
These types of multi-family living arrangements can be quite good if there's open communication, full support, and an appropriate financial sharing plan in place prior to everyone living together.
What does this mean if you have a home on the smaller side and want to sell it? It means you have to creatively market it to the appropriate buyers.
Yes, there are still buyers out there that want the convenience of a great location, a smaller urban home that's situated in walking distance to shops, restaurants, exercise facilities, and more. Presenting this to those buyers will entice them to at least take a look at your home, even if the square footage isn't as high as others.
If you have a small home, make sure it's clutter-free when you list it on the market. This matters with any size home but especially in small homes, clutter can make buyers feel like they're suffocating in your home. Creatively use all your space. I wrote recently about turning tiny side-yard areas into unique spaces. The same can be done inside the house.
When a space is tucked away, maybe underneath a staircase, it often doesn't get used or junk gets loaded in and then it becomes a nightmare to make your way through it. Instead, look around your petite home and see which spaces could be put to better use. Then give your home a complete look to see if anything can be eliminated. Toss out the things you haven't used in more than a year. Yes, you can let go...it's all about creating space, becoming clutter-free, and living large... regardless of what your home's blueprint says!
Published: June 7, 2013