Ideas to help you optimise the sale price of your property
Increasingly these days, potentially life-changing decisions to view properties, or not, are being made in an instant – at the push of a button.
Once a viewer’s search criteria has been entered, Rightmove presents them with a beauty parade of potentially suitable prospects; it stands to reason that the properties that most catch the eye are likely to attract more interest than those that don’t.
Additionally, many people are now viewing property particulars on 50” high-definition screens. This is a good thing if your home is beautifully presented and professionally photographed, but it’s not so clever if it’s been made to resemble the lowest deck of Noah’s Ark following a nasty storm.
So, it has become incredibly important for sellers to realise that the very first impression potential buyers will gain of their property will be created by the photos used in its marketing. And if the photos are to look great, then work to prepare the house for taking those is well worth the effort.
The average value of property throughout the UK is in the region of £150,000; it is difficult to think of another product or item of similar value that would not be marketed with professional-looking images. Even cornflakes come in brightly coloured boxes! Not only should the quality of a property’s photographs be top-notch, but its presentation should be a true reflection of just how much you want to achieve its optimal selling price. Broadly speaking, the more care and imagination you put into preparing your home for the photos, and the better the images, the more interest you will potentially attract.
Architectural, interiors and lifestyle photographer, John Durrant of www.Hello-Photo.co.uk has put together some ideas to help you prepare your property for marketing. These are suggestions, they’re not rules; however, following some of these ideas could make a real difference to your property’s marketing presentation, and consequently to its potential selling price.
1) If you have a favourite view of your property’s exterior or interior, tell the photographer and ask them to capture it. Chances are it will have similar appeal to your potential buyers too.
2) Perhaps if you have a rug or piece of furniture that doesn’t ‘look right’ or about which you are uncertain, consider moving it out of the way before the photos are taken.
3) Make sure all light bulbs are working – especially low-voltage downlighters. When one or more of those are broken they’ll stand out like a sore thumb. If you have them, picture lights, too, are very effective at creating visual interest – but only when they are working.
4) Plastic bottles and other plastic items such as washing-up liquid, shampoo bottles, toothbrushes/toothpastes etc are best kept out of the way. An exception would be for more upmarket branded products such as Molton Brown or similar, especially if the bottles are colourful.
5) Tidy away papers, newspapers, VAT returns etc; but in moderation, quality magazines and coffee-table books can add appeal.
6) Remove birthday cards and invitation cards from mantelpieces and shelves. Also clear the fridge of fridge magnets and whatever they’re helping to display.
7) Bookshelves look their best when they are stocked neatly with books rather than box files, children’s toys or mobile phone chargers etc.
8.) If you have an open fireplace there is nothing, when the weather is cold, that creates a homely feel better than a roaring fire.
9) Consider using props. For example, colourful vegetables and tomatoes, or a cottage loaf and some cheese would work well in a country kitchen. Coloured glass or bottles with coloured liquids can be complementary to a contemporary, white or otherwise minimalist town kitchen. Think about the lifestyle you’re trying to promote – who will want to live in your home? Dress it to attract them.
10) Plump-up cushions and straighten curtains.
11) Towels look their most luxurious when they are folded on shelves or other surfaces, never let the photos be taken when they’re hanging over the side of the bath. If towels are hanging on towel rails they need to be presented neatly. Towel colours should complement the decor. If they do not, then it is best to remove them. Shower screens should be clean, if possible.
12) Fruit and flowers provide attractive splashes of colour.
13) Move cat/dog bowls and beds/baskets.
14) Dressing tables, sideboards and other surfaces should be neat and tidy. The less clutter the better.
15) Trouser-presses are old-fashioned and are best removed.
16) Consider opening French windows and other windows and exterior doors when the rooms are being photographed, so that a sense of airiness is created.
17) Do not be frightened to use colour – tastefully – especially in accessories such as glasses. Dramatically coloured decor, too, can look more appealing than Magnolia.
18) Decluttering is a very good idea, but not to the extent that the property looks sterile. The objective is to promote a tidy and comfortably attractive lifestyle.
Some more sophisticated ideas for your consideration:
Consider dressing your dining table. A bare table with nothing on it will look dull and uninteresting. As a minimum have a centrepiece to break up the table’s slab-effect. A fully dressed dining table can look sensational. It can be as important for your property’s photographs to illustrate an attractive lifestyle as it is for them to display the accommodation! Some coffee cups and a milk jug on a breakfast table will look more interesting than an empty space.
Dressing beds with colour-coordinated throws, cushions and crisp, white linen can make a bedroom look fabulous. A small child’s bedroom can be imaginatively dressed with a couple of good quality (not garish plastic) toys, arranged on a rug perhaps.
A garden table, if you have one, could be dressed with a gingham tablecloth and a jug of squash and some glasses, or something similar. Alternatively a bottle of wine and some glasses might be more fitting in other properties. Place cushions on garden chairs and loungers, if you have them, to promote the idea of a luxury lifestyle. Be as creative as you like. Garden umbrellas should be opened, especially if they can be seen from indoors through your windows.
Move garden trampolines as far away from the rear elevation as you are able, so that when the photographer takes the photos the elevation isn’t obscured.
Keep hosepipes wound and tidy and remove fallen leaves from the lawn if that is at all possible.
For the exterior photos, curtains and blinds should be left open, especially if you know that you will be going out when the photographer is due to call. Try to move vehicles and other distractions away from windows so that they will not be visible when the interior photos are taken.
A freshly mown, stripy lawn will create the right first impression and make the rest of the property look well cared for. Try and arrange the photo shoot to immediately follow any garden tidy-up. However, if you are in a hurry to put your property onto the market, then good weather is more important than a pristine garden – so don’t delay a shoot until after the garden has been tidied. It might not be sunny again for a few weeks!
Unless your are selling a property for renovation/refurbishment, every property – regardless of its value – will benefit from the attention you give to its presentation and marketing. A small flat can, with a little thought and not a lot of money, be made to look stunning. But not everybody is gifted in the arts of property presentation, so do consider asking a friend, or a professional who is versed in home-staging. This is a growing industry due in large part to the market’s recognition that homes achieve their best value when they are marketed properly, and not just offered to the market without thought or care for the way they are perceived.
www.hello-photo.co.uk photographs property throughout Surrey, Sussex, Hampshire and Buckinghamshire.