March 13th, 2019 at 11:00 am


Are Southern California homes attracting enough international buyers? Afshin Homayoonmehr, a sales professional with our San Diego Downtown office, thinks that bolder design could bring in more foreign buyers for new or existing homes.

A lot of up-and-coming interior designers feel that way, says Afshin, who’s more than just an agent. He also holds a certificate in interior architecture from Cavendish College in London, and a certificate in interior design from San Diego Mesa College. On top of that, he earned a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering. So he pretty much knows everything there is to know about homes, inside and out.

Like a lot of his contemporaries, Afshin is outspoken when it comes to home-design trends. Even before he became an agent in 2009, he traveled extensively internationally, designing residential properties for a variety of clients.

He recently served as a panelist at Design Connections 2019 in Florida, an exclusive, invitation-only event where emerging designers, new graduates, experienced architects, and design-firm principals discuss the future of the design industry. He feels he was asked to participate due to his global exposure, background in engineering, and real estate, and because he won the 2018 “I Like Design” award from the Interiors + Sources publication for his conceptual design of Casa Frondosa, a WELL-Certified bookstore and cafe in San Diego’s Balboa Park with the latest international trend of modern Italian Art Deco.

We asked Afshin to discuss some of the event’s takeaways.

How can Southern California home design appeal to more international clients?

With his global design exposure, Afshin has seen the types of homes that appeal to international buyers. He feels our region could attract more of them if builders and developers think about their impact on globalization.

Blending western technology and design with different cultures and traditions, if done correctly, will have outstanding results, he says. Not only will it be more appealing to a larger group of end users, but the designs also will be unique and one-of-a-kind, creating design varieties and fewer cookie- cutter homes.

To accomplish this, Afshin says homebuilders should consider involving a more diversified design team comprised of different ages and cultural backgrounds, or designers who have been exposed to different cultures. This also will create the need and market for new products–which will be an opportunity for manufacturers and international designers to collaborate to produce more attractive home fixtures and accessories for a larger group of buyers. 

What is the best way for designers and builders to diversify their design?

Offering buyers a bolder, more diverse variety of finishes on floors, walls, counters, and other home basics is the way to go, Afshin believes. He says tones like neutral, vanilla, and beige are on their way out, although still available as an option for those who really want them. To attract more buyers from other countries and cultural backgrounds to Southern California, design choices should be comparable to those in international markets, moving away from safe neutral color tones to designs that are desired and accepted internationally.

Is Southern California keeping abreast of the latest international design trends?

Afshin feels our distance from the key home-design centers in London, Paris, and Milan might be why some developers aren’t as aware as they could be. As a result, Southern California listings are possibly not as attractive to international buyers, who have seen what else is out there.

How can developers and buyers get acquainted with international designs?

Being more open-minded to reinvent their design knowledge and using social media to find inspiration is what Afshin recommends. Today’s social media-savvy buyers are looking at and following designs around the globe, so they are much more open and connected to the international trends than before.

Virtual reality technology can allow walk-throughs of homes that haven’t even been built yet. This technology can quickly display different colors and textures of amenities including flooring, counters, cabinetry, and paint surfaces. Though it’s still very important for people to touch and see physical samples, combining them with virtual reality tours can enhance the experience.

Want to learn more about design from Afshin?

Afshin is passionate about helping clients who seek properties that combine prestige, artistic style, and urban functionality. He can help you find and enhance livable spaces that are both elegant and practical. Contact Afshin today and follow him on Instagram.

Would you consider incorporating bold, international design trends in your home for sale? It might be a great way to make your listing stand out from other listings and attract just the right buyer for your home.

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