Smaller, Smarter Designs that Sell

August 10, 2018


Small homes with great design and functional floor plans can be built and sold for profit at attainable price points. But enticing millions of potential first-time homebuyers to make a purchase requires a new product approach. As price points decrease, design and spec level remain crucial. For many builders, the math just never seems to pencil out, so they don’t offer attainable options. But across the country, builders are finding ways to build and sell attainable homes profitably. Smaller homes on smaller lots are the common denominator, with high design and innovative floor plans winning the most new buyers. Done right, these attainable homes cycle quickly, and that volume generates great profit potential despite slim margins.




Ride-sharing, public transit, and eventual full automation of the car have decreased the need for integrated garages in many markets. Sacrificing the garage can help you squeeze the most out of the site, but homes must offer great design and livability to make up for this concession. Similar to alley-loaded solutions, surface parking layouts are ideal for walkability and beautiful streetscapes. Plus, that premium square footage gained from the garage can be turned into stunning outdoor spaces that make buyers forget about parking altogether.




Our trademark “Pull-a-Part” townhome solution was developed to help builders leverage density within single-family detached living. Unique layouts maintain privacy through window placement and integrated outdoor living. This three-story hillside example uses a unique split on the first floor / garage to maximize the footprint and provide bonus flex space.


Land scarcity coupled with double-digit sales price growth means Denver is hungry for small-lot solutions that still offer highly detailed, highly authentic design. Alley-loaded garages enable these narrow homes to employ front porches, four-sided windows to visually widen interiors, and a welcoming street presence.




Enhanced elevations and quality spec levels make these 35’ wide homes look and feel impressive despite their small size. The efficient single-story plans mixed with 2-story options will please a variety of buyer profiles. Stats prove entry-level buyers trend toward contemporary, so a variety of elevations were used, all with the simple, linear nature of modern and urban design.



At 30’ wide, this home proves that not everything has to be bigger in Texas. Modern architectural forms dominate the elevation and create a memorable streetscape. A translucent garage door and metal awning increased the initial construction cost but paid dividends later through quick sales in this narrow lot community.


Smaller homes still equal smaller profit, but great design can generate sales volume that will make the margins well worthwhile. Builders who are succeeding in this space have invested in higher-end design and finishes, and the up-front cost is paying off.

Consumers continue to demand value and livability within a great-looking design, regardless of price point. With millions of first-time buyers begging for attainability, builders who figure out how to build great homes at great prices will win big with this market segment.