So you’ve had a few estate agents round to look at your house, and chosen the one you want to market your home. What next?
They will be keen to come round, measure up with their laser gizmo and make lots of estate agent-type notes (they really do speak a different language, but we love them!)
Photos are arguably the most important part of advertising your home or rental property and it’s really, really important to work with the estate agent (or their photographer) to primp every room to perfection.
Think about when you were last looking for your dream home on one of the the main property portals (Rightmove, Zoopla, Primelocation etc) or browsing estate agent windows. Did you find yourself skipping through quite few as they just didn’t look very appealing? We all judge potential homes based on looks as well as location (I know, it’s shallow, but we all do it!)
Your property needs to stand out (for the right reasons) and encourage your prospective buyers to take a good look at all the pictures, hopefully liking each room even more than the last. If they’re happy with what they see they’ll be right on the phone to the agents to arrange a viewing.
So how do you avoid your home being left on the shelf?
Top Tip: Don’t be rushed into getting the photos taken. If you need a week to finish off any DIY jobs, tidy up the garden, or treat the house to some new accessories, then do that. “You only have one chance to make a first impression”.
Tidy and clean –
Obviously the house needs to be completely tidy and as clutter free, clean and shiny as possible. Why not make your life easier and hire a cleaner in to do a thorough spring clean (this should last until your first viewings, all being well, so well it’s worth doing). Get your carpets professionally cleaned (look out for an offer on your local deals website) and insist on shoes off for viewings.
If clutter is a problem and you feel overwhelmed by everything, arrange for a professional de-clutterer or home organizer to help you. Find one locally via the Association of Professional Organisers (http://www.apdo-uk.co.uk). This will help you in so many ways, making your life easier, less stressful, and also help you get ready for the move by letting go of possessions and paperwork you no longer need.
Kerb Appeal –
How’s the front of the house looking? This could well be the most important photo the estate agent will take. Hanging baskets or planters are inexpensive, and even in winter you can plant them with ivy, pansies or cyclamen. Is the driveway and garden clear of leaves, oil patches, kids toys and bikes and loose or blocked guttering?
Finishing touches –
cushions, throws, plants and flowers can all make a huge impact and make your house look loved, welcoming and relaxing. Gladioli are a big favourite of mine, they’re available late summer, they are really cheap, but beautiful and high impact. Place vases on dining tables, kitchen islands. Use smaller vases with hydrangeas or a small fern on a coffee table or bedside tables. Plump up your cushions, add soft bedspread to the foot of your bed and add matching bedside lamps if you don’t already have them.
On the day
Ideally the photographer will be using a wide angle lens on a decent camera and will be taking pictures of rooms from the best angles, showing off the light, interesting architectural features and giving a sense of the quality and desirability of your home.
Don’t just leave them to get on with it though. You do need to work with them, so as they go round from room to room act as their assistant, opening curtains wider, moving furniture, plumping cushions, smoothing bedding etc (you did make the bed?!)
It’s in your interest to get the pictures completely right.
Ask to look at the photos on the camera as they move from room to room, and if you’re not happy or something’s in shot that needn’t be, then move it and ask them to re-take the picture.
Checklist – these items should not appear in your photos:
1. Raised toilet seats – sounds silly, but they really detract from bathroom pictures
2. Children’s toys – box or bag them up and keep them out of sight. It’s fine to have them (tidy) in a children’s bedroom but anywhere else will give the impression the house is too small. Ditto baby chairs. buggies, prams etc
3. Laundry baskets/dirty washing
4. Dirty dishes (you’d be surprised!)
5. Shoes, coats (if you have a coat rack or hooks, thin out your jackets and coats to just a couple)
6. People and pets (and pet paraphernalia – no dog bowls, cat litter trays)
7. Magazines, paperwork, general clutter, again box it up and clear all surfaces as you move from room to room
8. Excessive toiletries on display, chuck the bottles of Pantene in a box or carrier bag, prior to the photoshoot. Keep pretty bottles out on display. Fold towels neatly on the towel rail, 2 maximum.
9. Personal or family photos – remove them both for your privacy and as it can put people off a little. Hang mirrors in their place instead to increase the sense of light.
10. Mow the lawn or sweep the leaves, remove the kids toys and set the garden furniture out (even in winter).
These are all tips that can help you work with what you already have, no money need be spent if your house is already well cared for and appealing, but sometimes even the nicest looking home can be let down by disappointing photos. (Have you ever noticed a house for sale with different agents – it’s fascinating to see how different the photos of the same place can be!)