Almost everything changed in 2020, from our daily routines to the way we do our jobs. After such a major world event, it’s no wonder lots of perspectives and long-held beliefs are changing—and the real estate world isn’t immune to this change. Home staging is an important part of selling a property, intending to attract interested buyers by enhancing the home’s value. Here are some developments and trends in staging that we expect to see over the next year.
1. Incorporate the great outdoors
Many people grew to truly value the outdoors during 2020, with some picking up new hobbies like biking or jogging in socially distanced areas and others simply dreaming of an eventual vacation. Now that we know what it’s like to be cooped up indoors during the gorgeous spring and summer months, many potential buyers are yearning to find a home that can allow them to soak up the sunshine.
Spaces like back patios, gardens, screened-in porches, gazebos, and pool areas are of utmost importance! Make sure any and all of these spaces look as appealing as possible. Pressure wash walkways, brighten up outdoor furniture in a way that appears inviting rather than cluttered and get the pool cleaned and sparkling. You’ll also want to emphasize the privacy of these outdoor spaces, so it doesn’t feel like the neighbors are too close. If the home comes with luxury amenities like hot tubs, fireplaces, comfortable furniture, premium lighting, or the ever-popular outdoor kitchen, make sure to spotlight these as well. Buyers will love to envision themselves enjoying these spaces—their own private vacation home!
No outdoor spaces? No problem! Showcase any stunning windows or sliding glass doors, getting them as clean as possible to allow buyers to enjoy the beautiful view. If the windows are screened and it’s a particularly nice day, you can even open them up to let the natural light and fresh air pour in. When taking photos for the listing, make sure the windows are included; potential buyers will love to see the view from inside.
2. Get the home looking party-ready
It’s been a long year without social gatherings, and people who love to entertain are feeling the strain! Many people are desperate to throw their first party, or even intimate gathering over dinner, since the pandemic began in 2020. If the home has any features that would lend themselves well to entertaining, make sure these are staged appropriately! Arrange living room furniture like armchairs and sofas to face each other, creating conversation spaces. Spruce up guest rooms to get potential buyers thinking about all the family and friends they can invite over.
You should also consider outdoor spaces when focusing on entertaining. If the home has a firepit, arrange chairs comfortably around the space—who wouldn’t love toasting marshmallows over the fire with friends during a warm summer evening? Grilling is another popular summer activity that adds pizzazz to parties, so if the home has an outdoor kitchen with grilling space, make sure this is cleaned and staged. Many of these outdoor kitchens now include amenities like wine fridges, counters for prepping food, and even mounted televisions; make sure to photograph and display these spaces prominently.
3. Keep it simple
As always, residences should be completely depersonalized before potential buyers set foot inside. This means removing personal items like toothbrushes or shampoo or identifying pieces like family photos or children’s artwork. It’s also best to keep a simple, cohesive style throughout the entire home.
Everyone’s tastes are different, and while some people may love crowded and cozy interior decor, others prefer minimalism. To appeal to as many potential homebuyers as possible, the home’s style should be simple.
One of the most helpful staging tips, regardless of the year, is to limit the amount of furniture on display. If you can, rent a storage unit to stash extra chairs or end tables that add clutter. While you might not personally feel like the living area is cluttered, a potential buyer walking through the home for the first time will want to navigate the space as easily as possible. You don’t want to run the risk of them tripping over anything. Also, consider the fact that they’ll likely want to inspect nooks and crannies; this becomes difficult if the room is full of furniture.
4. Show off home offices
It’s no secret that remote work has become staggeringly common over the past year. According to a New York Times survey, 86% of Americans are satisfied with working from home; interestingly, even as the population gets vaccinated, many workplaces are not requiring employees to come back into the office—or at least are allowing them to work from home far more regularly, coming in for occasional meetings. The world has acclimated to Zoom meetings, and homebuyers are eager to find an incredible home office.
The New York Times survey also found that one in three employees would move to a new city if they had to continue working from home indefinitely, and many people are doing just that. If you’re not tied to a particular location for work, opportunities become limitless! People can move closer to family, further out into the country, or simply to a place where they always dreamed about living.
As you’re staging the home, pay special attention to which rooms could potentially serve as a home office and then set them up accordingly. If the home already has a designated office space, show it off just as prominently as you would the kitchen. If you’re working with more of a blank slate, consider converting an extra bedroom or a space in the finished basement into a work-from-home space. While open-concept layouts have been popular for years, the past year scared buyers off that particular layout; no one wants to deal with background noise on an important conference call or have an embarrassing moment as someone walks behind you during a video meeting. Similarly, kids and teenagers need a way to attend class, complete homework, and take tests without distractions. Smaller and more compartmentalized spaces are the trend now, making it much easier for each member of the family to get the privacy they desire.
5. Kitchens are more important than ever
When it comes to staging, kitchens have always been a top priority. Everybody needs to eat, and buyers typically have high expectations and strong preferences for what a kitchen will look like. With everyone stuck at home during 2020, the kitchen experienced a true renaissance! More and more people spent time learning to cook, honing their skills, or trying fun and trendy new recipes.
Get that kitchen looking spotless—scrub countertops and stovetops, dust off light fixtures, and set up storage spaces. Organization is even more important than usual, with more people buying items like paper towels and snacks in bulk, so make sure to show off any spice cabinets and spacious pantries. You’ll also want to keep counters as clear as possible, so stash any extraneous appliances like coffeemakers, blenders, and toasters; potential buyers will want to investigate the space, making sure there’s enough room to display their own items.
6. Hype up the home gym
Another popular pastime that many of us turned to in 2020? Working out! With gyms closing down and many public spaces being unavailable for outdoor recreation, people had to get creative if they wanted to keep up with their fitness regimens.
Does the home have a space that could easily be utilized for workouts? Spotlight this by staging the area with exercise mats, weights, or yoga mats—if there’s a television in the area, that’s an added plus! A finished basement can make for a great place to add a space like this.
You also might consider sprucing up bathrooms to create the feel of being at a spa, another amenity that many of us missed over the past year. Get the entire space looking spotless and full of natural light, and consider adding staging details like pleasant-smelling candles, luxurious towels, and elegant flowers in a vase. Update old lighting fixtures, clean the toilet and shower thoroughly to make sure they’re free of rust, and consider slapping a fresh coat of paint onto the walls if they’re looking drab—white or pale gray paint can really lighten up a dark and dreary bathroom. Freestanding and soaking bathtubs are perfect for relaxation, so if the home has one of these, make sure to show it off in a photo!
Browsing new homes in Malibu? Contact real estate agent Brian Merrick and his talented and experienced team today! Their extensive knowledge of Malibu real estate will allow them to help you find the luxury home of your dreams.
*Image Credit: Brian Merrick