Before the housing crunch home buyers wanted the largest homes they could afford, or thought they could afford; industrial-sized kitchens, family rooms, a home office, three car garages, as many bathrooms as bedrooms, and on and on.
Now, a new reality has come to pass, and homebuyers today realize that a smaller, less ostentatious, but well-designed home can just as easily contain all of a family’s creature comforts.
Economics have everything to do with the new choice in homes. Jobs are less secure, companies have cut back on 401(k) contributions, pay cuts or stagnant salaries are the norm, etc.
Obviously, the smaller home is more appealing nowadays because it is less expensive to own and less costly to maintain. The trend toward smaller is emphasized by The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) whose statistics reveal that some 59 percent of new homes are being built smaller this year, and that the trend toward smaller construction will continue for the foreseeable future.
From an environmental standpoint, the overall costs of having more than doubled our living space since the 1970s, which include heating, cooling and power, has generated more greenhouse gases than all of the vehicles in the nation combined, and has substantially increased the cost of home ownership as well.
Now, in many markets, superfluous square footage has become a liability that has actually accelerated home depreciation.
When searching for the smaller home that would best fit your budget and life style, and of course, that would include the right location, schools, accessibility to shopping, commute time, and so on, keep in mind that even a smaller home can appear more spacious with creative use of space.
For example, there are many books, magazines and online sites that offer tips and tricks designed to maximize living space. For instance, installing a skylight would bring in the natural daylight that could transform a smaller area into a bright and cheery place. Larger windows do the same thing.
Custom built-ins and innovative storage solutions are another answer to maximizing a smaller home’s space. Use white or light neutral colors on the walls to enhance the feeling of greater space. Of course, an open floor plan adds greatly to a roomier feeling as well.
Bottom line: In this economy, smaller houses are selling faster. Some statistics have shown that smaller homes sell up to 13 percent faster than three bathroom or two story residences.
Real estate agents recognize that in this economy, the lower cost of buying a smaller home would naturally attract a larger segment of home buyers, resulting in more frequent closings, and steadier commissions.
Tony Sena is a Las Vegas Real Estate Broker/Salesperson and Designated Property Manager with North American Realty of Nevada. He currently oversees a team of 10 real estate agents and runs the Property Management Division. He can be reached at 702.376.0088.