It’s no secret that the real estate market is real hot right now. Folks everywhere are selling and that means that real estate extraordinaire Rizwan Malik is as busy as ever. In addition to being the youngest VP of Sales at Sotheby’s International Realty Canada, he’s also the host of HGTV Canada’s Hot Market. We had a chance to chat with Rizwan about what everyone should know about staging their kitchens and got his tips on getting their homes ready to sell.
See below for everything to know about getting your kitchen space ready to stage and sell!
Blair Stutz: What are some misconceptions that people have when getting their kitchens ready for staging?
Rizwan Malik: Some misconceptions people have when getting their kitchens ready for staging is that they feel like they need to overstage it. When it comes to your home, less is more, but even more so when it comes to the kitchen. You don’t necessarily need to put out tea-towels or any excessive accessories just because you feel like you should cover the entire space. That doesn’t really help with the flow of the kitchen, nor show it at its best.
Especially now with virtual showings during the pandemic, you want certain things, like the backsplash and the beautiful kitchen countertops, to be the highlight in themselves. You want those items to speak volumes on their own.
I’ve seen staged kitchens where cookbooks are left open on the countertop. But that’s not practical, people don’t live that way. You’re not cooking from a cookbook 24/7, so it looks really fake and staged, and in my opinion it doesn’t get the proper message across. Remember that you don’t need to over-clutter the countertops to make it look like a busy and functional kitchen.
BS: Why is it so important to stage your home and especially your kitchen?
RM: It is extremely important to stage your home and especially your kitchen. Staging your home with the appropriate size furniture showcases your property at its best. There’s nothing worse than having a condominium with big, oversized furniture, because now the room looks that much smaller and not as good as it can look.
The reason why it’s good to stage or accessorize your kitchen is because it’s the heart of the home. It’s the place where many conversations are had, where people stand, cook and spend time together. So being that pillar location, that center-point of every single household, the kitchen can’t be overlooked.
BS: How does a seller know if they should stage their home and kitchen?
RM: A seller’s trusted advisor should instruct on whether their home and kitchen should be staged or not. When you hire a realtor, you’re relying on them for their best advice, so I’d leave it up to them to help guide you and assess whether you need staging or not.
As a realtor, I have a very lifestyle-based approach when it comes to selling or presenting a home to market. Thus, if you feel like you can take photos of your space with your cellphone as practice, and you feel like they will entice people to want to come and see your home, then you’re fine. But if you feel like even in the slightest that the images you’ve taken of your space don’t do it justice – like the stain on your couch pillow will deter people, or maybe that coffee table you have is actually too big for the space – these are reasons why you should really consider getting the property staged. But I would rely upon my trusted advisor and see what their advice is.
BS: What are most potential home buyers looking for in a kitchen these days?
RM: These days, I think most potential home buyers are definitely looking for more updated appliances and countertops with lots of space with it comes to the kitchen. Lately, home buyers are looking for stone countertops of any kind. Even man-made fabricated materials, such as Corian. I also think potential home buyers are looking for kitchens with lots of storage space. If you can get a pantry, that’s a huge bonus!
BS: Is staging always worth it?
RM: Staging is 100% always worth it. Staging just highlights your home at its absolute best. Staging will help you get more for your home because you’ll get more interest when it’s being showcased and displayed in a beautiful way. You’re now selling a lifestyle. The more interest, the more of a bidding war you may encounter and therefore it’ll drive the price up and in return you will benefit significantly.
BS: Are there any items that should NOT be on the counter when showing a house?
RM: When showcasing a home, I recommend having only one or two appliances on display. It’s not a display of everything you own or may use in your kitchen like your blender, toaster, juicer, bread maker and air-fryer, etc. Minimalism is key, so you should have only one or two items out – that’s enough.
Personally, in my kitchen I always have my kettle on display as well as a cutting board with some lemons, limes, garlic and a bottle of olive oil. I only keep out things that I practically use on a daily basis. They also add a punch of colour.
You want to display items that make sense. That’s more important than staging items that aren’t used daily, such as an opened cookbook sitting there collecting dust.
BS: What are some big kitchen no-nos when it comes to staging and showing a house?
RM: When it comes to staging and showing a house, a big kitchen no-no is a sink full of dirty dishes. This is a huge faux pas! If you’re leaving your home and need it to be ready for a showing, at the very least you should put all your dishes into the dishwasher if you can’t wash them and put them away before you go. You should never leave out any dirty dishes for a potential buyer to walk in on.
BS: If the seller has a low budget for staging, what are some easy and affordable things they can do?
RM: If a seller has a low budget for staging, the easiest and most affordable thing they can do is to declutter their place. Less is always more.
Go buy some bins or cardboard boxes and put things into them. Prospective buyers should be opening cupboards and drawers and NOTHING should ever fall out. No spices, utensils or any item should be out of place when a potential buyer is exploring the space. Dishes, cutlery and cups should always be neatly stacked according to size and if you’d like to have any on display, there should be no more than four. Again, less is always more.
BS: Is there a kitchen trend that you just can’t get behind? If so, what is it?
RM: There’s a huge kitchen trend where people are starting to have concrete countertops and it’s personally not for me. I can understand wanting to save money in a lofty space, so instead of using natural stone, people opt for a concrete slab as the kitchen countertop… but it’s personally not my style. I personally find concrete super porous, and once it does get wet, even if it’s sealed, I don’t think it looks great. Stainless steel countertops are also not for me, but we’ll save that for another day.
BS: Are there any non-negotiables when it comes to kitchens and staging?
RM: When it comes to kitchens and staging, I would never compromise or overlook the appliances or the overall function of the kitchen.
Feature Image: Rizwan Malik