If you have a tiny house to sell, there are a few simple steps and considerations to make, to both increase your chances of selling it and increasing the price for which it sells. Over the years, we’ve had many people list their home for sale on the Tiny House Marketplace, with some being more successful than others. Below are our observations of what works best.
People don’t want to buy something they can’t see. So having pictures, and lots of them, is a must. When we started the Tiny House Marketplace, I was surprised by the number of people who created listings for their house that didn’t include any pictures. You’re not writing a novel and relaying on the reader to imagine a scene, you’re trying to sell a house. People need to see what you are selling. Pictures are so important, we no longer allow listings without them.
It’s also very important that the pictures you post are of the highest quality. You are essentially creating an ad, and you want that ad to invoke emotion. High quality pictures are a great way to accomplish this. If you personally don’t have the skills or equipment to take great pictures, you will either want to invest in them or outsource the job.
You don’t need to spend a lot of money on equipment to produce decent pictures. Even most cell phones made within the last 2 or 3 years come with good cameras. But if your phone needs to be flipped open to make a call, consider upgrading your gear. The investment you make will be made up in the increased selling price of your tiny house.
If you are on a tight budget, one option is to use a GoPro. GoPro’s are often associated with recording action video since that is how they are primary marketed. However, they can also take regular pictures. The reason we recommend them is that GoPro’s are equipped with wide-angle lenses. This is incredibly important when taking pictures of smaller spaces in order to capture more of an area in a single photo. This makes any room you are photographing appear much larger, and the last thing you want is for your space to appear cramped. The downside to wide-angle lenses is that as you move away from the center of the image, everything starts to appear curved. The bigger the angle of the lens and the closer the object your photographing, the more curved it looks. This is called the fisheye effect and it can be a pretty distracting. Fortunately, the software that is included with GoPro’s can remove this effect.
If you’re not confident in your photographing abilities, hire a photographer. Not all photographers are expensive. A good photographer will view the house with a designer’s eye, producing much better photos than you could with the same equipment. And again, the cost will likely be made up in the selling price.
Photography is by far the most important factor when it comes to selling your houses. Do not underestimate it. I’ve seen professional builders who produce quality work go out of business because they misunderstood this one aspect of selling their product. Do not make the same mistake.
Price is obviously an incredibly important factor to successfully selling your house in your desired timeframe. But setting the price is also not as straightforward as you might think. Conventional wisdom says that the lower the price the faster your house will sell, however, that’s not always true.
We built a smaller house in the early days of Tiny Home Builders that we used as an easily moved show model and demo. After having it for around six years we decided to sell it and build a larger house. Since we had used it for all those years I decided I just wanted to get the material cost out of it, so we listed it at a relatively low price. The problem was that by setting the price low it lowered the perceived value of the house and despite showing it to many prospective buyers, no one followed through with the sale. They all seemed to think that something was wrong with it. So, after sitting unsold for over a year, we increased the price and shortly after it sold for the full asking price!
I’m not suggesting you overprice your house or that a higher price will result in a faster sale. What I am saying is that your house needs to be priced appropriately based on its size, quality, and intended market. Pricing it outside a reasonable range, either too high or too low, considering those factors will delay its sale. Do your research and survey what the market will bear for a comparable home and price accordingly.
Make sure you have all your documentation and the house is ready to sell before listing it. You might be surprised how fast a buyer comes along and you’ll need to be ready. When I listed my mom’s tiny house, an ad agency wanted to buy it for an Uber commercial. They were ready to fly drivers down the day after contacting me to take the house. But before they bought it, they just wanted proof that I had all the paperwork, specifically the certificate of origin for the trailer. Unfortunately, I didn’t know this, but my mother had misplaced it. The buyer was ready to walk away, but fortunately because of our unique position of selling trailers I was able to make a few calls and reproduce what was needed in a short amount of time.
While this was a unique situation of a buyer on a very tight timeline and us happening to lose some critical paperwork, the point is that we thought we were ready to sell our house and we weren’t. Have everything in order to sell your house, and don’t assume you will wrap up loose ends as soon as you have someone interested.
Lastly, you’ll need to get the word out that your tiny house is for sale. There are several different sites that can help with this including Craigslist and sites that cater to selling tiny houses. While I do occasionally see tiny houses listed on Craigslist, they primarily cater to local buyers. Because a tiny house is mobile, you’ll want to market to people well outside your local area. With that said, listing there is free, so there is no harm in adding it since it’s easy to do. You never know.
Listing on a site that caters to tiny houses will get your house in front of a much more targeted audience. Of the sites that specialize in selling tiny houses, you will want to fully understand any costs before listing your house. While all sites claim to allow you to list your house for free, some charge you to communicate with any potential buyers. In this case, while technically there is no cost to list your house, they are perhaps hoping you won’t notice that there will eventually be fees.
On the Tiny House Marketplace there is no charge to create a listing or to communicate with any potential buyers. We get over 1.5 million unique visitors to the site each year, so there are a lot of potential buyers out there. And listing is easy. Below is a sample of the one page you’ll need to fill out to list your house.
After your listing is created and approved, it's added to the Marketplace where potential buyers can contact you directly. Don't worry though, your email address will only be shared with people to whom you respond (no spam!).
With these few simple steps and considerations you can sell your tiny house quicker and for top dollar. Good luck on selling your tiny house.
Do you have any suggestions for selling a tiny house? Let us know in the comments below.
Published on 7/2/2020. Published in Tiny House Research.