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The Smallest House on the Market has Big Charm

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It's only 363 square feet, but it's causing buyers to wax poetic

Right now, the smallest house on the market is a 363-square-foot home in the Mission District that sits behind a three-unit condo building at 444 14th Street. The asking price is $495,000.

The three-room space (living/sleeping area, kitchen, and bathroom) is undeniably diminutive, yet listing agent Laura Taylor of Paragon Real Estate says that everyone who sees it falls under its spell. "When people get a look at this property, they start dreaming about getting rid of all of their trappings and living the simple life," she says. "It's a really stunning spot."

Part of that charm is the home's exterior, which looks like a sweet cottage. (Its classic lines inspired the real estate agent to dub it "Mission Mini Mansion.") It's fronted by a plant-filled, tree-lined patio that's shared with the residents of the larger building in front.

Inside, the ceilings are high and topped with clerestory windows. This makes sure the space is filled with light, which likely gives what could be cramped quarters a more expansive feeling. Some storage needs are met by floor-to-ceiling, built-in bookshelves in the living room and, on the way to the bathroom, a wall unit that contains closet and drawer space.

The home's former owner was a poet and a teacher, and Taylor speculates that potential buyers will range from people looking for their first home to people searching for a pied-à-terre. Whoever buys it will probably pay more than list price. "I would expect that it would go for more," says Taylor. "But it's really hard to predict where it will go, as there hasn't been anything like this on the market for a while."