In recent years, there has been a notable shift from “bigger is better” to “less is more,” as homeowners seek to balance the costs associated with larger homes. Emerging in this trend is the category of the tiny house.
Tiny houses are typically defined as homes smaller than 400 square feet. An increasing number of homeowners love the idea of living in a minimalist space with a small environmental footprint. There are certainly a lot of perks to living in a tiny house, but also one big drawback: Simply put, tiny houses can be hard to sell.
But hard doesn’t mean impossible, and so long as you’re aware of some of the challenges unique to tiny house sales, you can usually map out a good strategy to get your place sold.
Here are a few selling tips for your tiny house:
- Know where to sell.
- Create a video tour.
- Take compelling photos.
- Price it correctly.
- Stage your home.
- Make repairs.
Know Where to Sell
To date, there’s not a very big marketplace for tiny houses. In fact, you typically can’t get an entry on the multiple listing service, or MLS, for your tiny house, which means you can’t show it off on the main real estate websites or apps. Instead, you’ll need to more directly connect with buyers in this niche market. There are a number of websites, like Tiny House Listings, where you can show off your property.
Create a Video Tour
One of the nice things about selling a tiny house is that, simply due to their small size, it’s very easy to give people a full tour via a short internet video. Make sure you film a walkthrough that shows off all the charm of your tiny house and share it far and wide via social media. Make sure to highlight hidden storage areas that might appeal to buyers who are still on the fence about going tiny. The more you can highlight storage, the better.
Take Compelling Photos
With any real estate listing, you’ll need to take high-quality photos. That’s certainly true for your tiny house. Make sure to properly stage to highlight the charm of the home when taking photos. Also make sure the lighting is good and use a wide-angle lens to really capture the spaciousness of your property.
Price it Correctly
Pricing a tiny house can be especially challenging. That’s because there’s not really an official market, which means calculating depreciation or appreciation is tough. We would definitely advise against pricing too high. Your asking price should never be leaps and bounds beyond what you actually paid for it. But if you know some interested parties and you feel confident that the home has been well-maintained, it’s certainly alright to price competitively.
Stage Your Home
Any time you’re selling your own property, staging is paramount. Clean your tiny house thoroughly. Get rid of clutter – in a small space, you don’t want anything out of place. And rearrange the decor to demonstrate how much flexible real estate is really available.
Again, this isn’t necessarily unique to tiny houses, but any time you’re trying to get a place sold, you want to make the strongest possible first impression. That’s hard to do when the front door creaks, the paint is chipping, or the toilet won’t stop running. Be thorough in inspecting your home and fixing any little issues that pop up.
The key to selling your tiny house is going to be connecting with other tiny house enthusiasts. Reach out to the home’s builder, or to other tiny house lovers you’ve encountered, and ask them to help you spread the word. Also look for tiny house Facebook groups or blogs that are local to your area and see if you can make any inroads that way. As with so many things in life, selling a tiny house often comes down to who you know.
No matter the size of your property, there are always plenty of tough decisions to make as you get ready to sell. But hopefully these few tips will help make selling your tiny home a little bit easier.
The weather may be getting colder but that doesn't mean buyers' bids have to.
While spring may be the best time to put your home on the market, that’s not possible for every homeowner. If you missed out on the height of buying season, you can still sell your home for a good price in fall and even winter. But Scott McGillivray, real estate investor and host of the HGTV show “Income Property,” notes that selling a home during this time of year can be a whole new ball game. Here are 13 things you should know about putting your home on the market in fall and winter.Photos from spring look better.
Photos from spring look better.
It’s particularly beneficial to have marketing photos for the property done before the weather turns cold and trees go bare. Photos from spring or summer show a buyer what the home looks like in other seasons, when the exterior may appear more lush. “The last thing you want is no leaves on the trees or snow on the ground or dead grass [in the photos],” McGillivray says.Curb appeal still matters.
Curb appeal still matters.
While you can’t force the leaves to stay on the trees, it’s important to keep up on yard work while your home is on the market. “The grass should be mowed [and] there should be no leaves on the ground,” says Anslie Stokes, a Realtor at McEnearney Associates Inc., a real estate firm covering the District of Columbia metro area. Even if frost or other weather keeps you from planting colorful flowers or plants, a well-tended look will boost your curb appeal.There's little room for indoor maintenance mishaps.
There's little room for indoor maintenance mishaps.
You’ll need to be even more proactive with maintenance inside the home. Before the weather turns cold, make sure your boiler and other heating systems are functioning properly; most homeowners don’t discover heating problems until the weather prompts them to turn these systems on. “If you happen to have a showing on the first cold day and the boiler goes out, that’s not a good situation,” Stokes says.The more light, the better.
The more light, the better.
As the U.S. inches closer to winter the days continue to get shorter – and the end of daylight saving time (Nov. 6, 2016) means the sun sets even earlier, which can wreak havoc on showings to potential buyers. “It’s really hard to sell a house that’s dark,” says Eric Boyenga, who leads the Boyenga Team with his wife for Keller Williams Realty in the San Francisco Bay Area. He often brings additional floor lamps into homes he’s listing, and he recommends sellers install landscape lighting around the yard if it’s not there already.There will be fewer showings.
There will be fewer showings.
The market is always hottest in spring, so you shouldn’t expect the same foot traffic at an open house in October as in May. Boyenga says listings will typically see half or even a third as many showings in fall, but that doesn’t mean the homebuyers who do come aren’t ready to make a deal. “Though it’s tougher for sellers in the sense that there’s less of a buyer’s pool, the buyers who are out there tend to be the ones that are showing up and are serious and are pretty motivated,” Boyenga says.Marketing may need a further reach.
Marketing may need a further reach.
To help widen your pool of potential buyers, McGillivray recommends targeting people relocating to your area for work or those looking to have a second home in a different climate. If you live in a southern state, for example, market your home to appeal to snowbirds from northern states looking for a winter getaway, he says. McGillivray also notes businesses commonly relocate employees during the fall, so reaching out to relocation specialists or major employers in the area could give you some leads.Flexibility helps.
Winter can create additional obstacles for buyers, from kids' sports and clubs taking up evening and weekend hours to surprise storms that can throw off a scheduled meeting. It helps to be flexible when setting a closing date, which can range from taking four months to seal the deal to the buyer needing the home as quickly as possible. “I’ve seen as fast as a 20-day closing for someone who’s in a rush,” McGillivray says. The more flexible you are, the easier it is for everyone involved.Don't expect a price explosion.
Don't expect a price explosion.
As a seller you shouldn’t have to settle for less than the home is worth just because you’re marketing it in the fall, but be prepared for a little less fire behind the offers. Boyenga notes that fall listings are “still getting multiple offers, they just don’t necessarily go over asking [price].” Some buyers may think they can submit lowball offers because of the late season, but Boyenga says those aren’t offers worth taking unless you’re desperate to sell.Taking on more responsibility may make things easier.
Taking on more responsibility may make things easier.
Fall is a busy time for everyone, not just homebuyers. McGillivray notes your listing agent is likely to have personal commitments like kids’ football or soccer games, which can complicate showing your home or holding an open house. He says taking on some additional showing tasks or forgoing a real estate agent and selling the home yourself may help to avoid scheduling problems.Too much seasonal decor can be a turnoff.
Too much seasonal decor can be a turnoff.
Fall and winter are prime time for holiday decorations, and while a nod to the season can often work in your favor, Boyenga and Stokes stress avoiding religious themes or distracting decorations. Effective staging will “follow the holiday spirit or the wintertime spirit,” Boyenga says, with garlands or place settings made to look like the home is ready to host Thanksgiving dinner. A Christmas tree in the living room might work, but nativity scenes or menorahs are likely best put away before anyone tours the home. Pumpkins work for Halloween, but McGillivray warns against “spray painting spider webs” all over the front of your house.Highlight seasonal pluses.
Highlight seasonal pluses.
To push your home’s wintertime appeal, highlight rooms and features that serve as a great place to hang out while you’re stuck inside for the colder months. Stokes says a lit fireplace during a house showing on a cold day helps to create a cozy atmosphere, and a finished basement showcases room for kids to play when their outside activity is limited. “You want buyers to go down in the basement and say this would be a great play space,” she says.There's a point where you might want to hold off.
There's a point where you might want to hold off.
As we go deeper and deeper into fall, buyers actively searching for homes become fewer and fewer. And once it gets to Thanksgiving, it’s often wise to pull your home off the market or wait to list your property until after the new year because the number of buyers drops off during the major holidays. “Unless you really have to sell, we recommend waiting until … late January before [putting] it on the market,” Boyenga says.There are some local market exceptions.
There are some local market exceptions.
If you live in an especially hot neighborhood of a particularly hot market, the time of year may take second fiddle to the number of people vying to own on your street. Stokes uses the District of Columbia's Mount Pleasant neighborhood as an example: “There has been such a lack of inventory that everything that comes on the market has multiple offers.” The buyers who lose out in a bidding war are likely to jump at any chance to get the right house in the right neighborhood, it doesn’t matter if it’s the day after Christmas.Read More
Haas’ team advises homebuyers and sellers on how to make the most of their experience by connecting them with the optimal agent partner for their needs. With over 10 years of experience in the real estate industry, including previous roles at Zillow and Auction.com, Haas is an expert on the ins and outs of home sales.