With agents unable to move around during lockdown, more responsibility rests with the seller to ensure their property is attractively staged and photographed
Estate agents may not move around freely until Level 2, so one of their jobs now falls on the shoulders of the seller – home staging and taking photographs for marketing.
The seller has a lot riding on the marketing photos; studies show properties with quality photographs sell up to 32% faster and for a higher price per square metre, says Jill Lloyd, veteran agent and area specialist in Claremont and Clarepark for Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty. While in lockdown, with houseviewing being online only, the staging and photographing of a home is more important than ever.
“Remember, the fundamental purpose of the photos is to showcase the property’s potential to possible buyers who must be able to imagine themselves and their families enjoying the space.” Lloyd offers a number of basic staging and image dos and don’ts for the best chance of a quick sale at the best price.
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Before taking your photos:
1 Declutter: Do a thorough spring clean – including the garage – to rid your home of things you no longer need, while creating storage space for items you want to pack away. “Sort through all the toys and bikes with your children, putting aside things they no longer use to sell or donate to those in need. You can do this with your clothes as well.”
2 De-personalise your home: Pack away photos, kids’ drawings, trophies and other knick-knacks. While your home should not look unlived-in nor too impersonal, it’s important for buyers to be able to imagine the space as their own. “Outside, make sure the garden is immaculate and preferably remove the pool cleaner from the pool before it is photographed.”
3 See your home from a stranger’s perspective: Sellers want to highlight their home’s main features and attractions but they must not simply assume their favourite spots in the house will be selling points. “Rather take a good, objective look at your home and try to see it from a stranger’s perspective. If the biggest attraction of your home is its lifestyle features, show the home as an inviting space in which buyers could imagine themselves living.”
4 Dress for success: Why not stage a dining room table with linen, glassware and crockery, as if for dinner party, which shows the entertainment potential and make outdoor living spaces attractive with bright lounger cushions.
5 Lighting: This is crucial. If possible, take photographs on a clear, bright day and at a time when natural light is at its best. “The right light can make a property look bigger and more attractive and bright photos can also look crisper which emphasises quality. If necessary, leave the lights on, even in broad daylight, especially if you have small rooms and dark nooks and crannies. “To take the best possible outdoor pictures, the best time of day will depend on which direction your home faces as you’ll want the sun behind you when you take your the photos to minimise shadows.”
6 Edit, but don’t overdo it: Photoediting programmes such as Photoshop can be great for adjusting lighting balances or erasing unwanted shadows in listing photos but Lloyd cautions against extreme retouching. “Over-editing can easily give an entirely incorrect impression of the property, which could result in disappointment for many interested buyers, and it could also lead them to think there’s something to hide. This ultimately means that your property will take much longer to sell.”
You can always ask your estate agent to help with the editing once photos have been taken. Also consult the estate agent to get advice about which angles works best. You could take numerous photos of your home and let them advise you on what can work and what will not. Like you, they want what is best to ensure a sale.