Impress buyers with money-saving and eco-friendly features

By Jen A. Miller

If you're looking at the undulating real estate scene and think your smaller-than-average-home has no shot, think again. Your house is a perfect fit for a lot of people. Anyone looking to save on utilities, taxes, and yard work- from first time buyers to the eco-minded- is going small. Plus the idea of average is shrinking for a lot of people as those McMansions are proving too big and expensive for a lot of budgets. So what great things can you highlight about your small home and how? Read on.

Lower Costs

Make sure your brochure and online listings include information about the lower utility costs your house affords. Also, if your home is on a small lot, research property taxes on larger lots so your agent can point out how much money potential buyers will save will save in taxes.

Easier Maintenance

Many first-time buyers and those downsizing are looking for easy-to-maintain homes. Your Realtor can tell your potential buyers how much time it takes you to cut the lawn, for example, or he/she can point out that a small lawn requires little to no watering. Highlight any new features- heating system, air conditioner, appliances- because new systems mean no maintenance (or at least warranty covered), which is attractive to first time buyers who are used to the landlord take care of any fixes.

Earth Friendly

Make "green" information obvious. "Put colorful signs right on a space-saving, cost-efficient, on-demand water heater, new energy-efficient heating system or on the closet leading to the attic with the special insulation," says Shirley VanScoyk, Realtor with Weichert of West Chester, Pa. Also get rid of paint and solvents lying around sheds or garages (and dispose of them properly according to town regulations). But be careful of going overboard, warns Christopher Lowell: "If a home is not green in the key areas, then its best to focus on easy maintenance and low economics," he says.

It is Enough Space

People who are cutting back are re-thinking all that extra space in big homes, so it's your job to show that your small home does have enough room. You can make those look bigger with a few simple ways:

    Cut clutter, even if it means renting a storage unit or POD while showing the house.

    Let in the light. "If I can walk into your house and see all the way through it to the backyard, it's going to give me a feeling of space," says Elizabeth Blakeslee, region three vice-president for the National Association of Realtors. Open up the blinds and drapes, and wash the windows to let in as much light as possible.

    Sell the area. If there are shops and restaurants within walking distance, make it known. It shows potential buyers that there's plenty to do outside of the house. "It's not the size but the location and function of the spaces that matter," says Lowell.