If 80% of what we as humans absorb is visual then it only makes sense that 80% of the focus when marketing property should be on the image (or photography). Not just good photography, great photography!
First impressions count they say and these words couldn’t be truer when it comes to buyers eyes scanning the various websites and/or local property guide. To increase the chances that a buyer will do more than just scan over your property you’ll need to ‘wow’ them with a great first impression and in real estate first impressions are all about the image. The ‘hero’ shot (being the main image used in your marketing) has to stand out from the crowd and draw the buyers in leaving them wanting more.
When you’re interviewing real estate agents for the sale of your property one of the first questions you should be asking is if they use professional photography as part of their real estate marketing strategy. If they do then continue with the interview, however, if they don’t then I’d suggest asking why not (and probably not continuing the interview)? In reality it’s highly unlikely that a real estate agent will also be a professional photographer, and if they are then you would have to ask the question, are you a professional real estate agent also? Being a professional real estate agent and being a professional photographer are two very different roles and you want to make sure you employ the right person for the right job. Get the agent to sell your property and get the (agent to arrange) photographer to photograph your property.
Professional photographers have many tricks to assist in making your property look ‘a million dollars’ but you can help too. By taking the time to tend to the property (or have someone tend to the property for you) you could not only increase the enquiry you get but you could also increase the dollars you get – top images = top dollars.
Here are some simple tips that you can do to prepare your property for it’s very own photo shoot:
- Mow the lawn – It sounds obvious but having your lawns mowed, edges trimmed and gardens looking neat and tidy is paramount considering this will be the ‘backdrop’ of your properties ‘hero shot’.
- Check the fence – If you’ve got a fence (particularly front fence) make sure it doesn’t have any missing palings, bricks knocked out or any graffiti on it. You don’t want people to think there’s hooligans around.
- Clear the front porch/deck – You want to give people the impression of a large open entrance to the property.
- Clean out the gutters – Having leaves, plants, sticks, balls or anything for that matter hanging/growing out of the gutter just gives the impression a property hasn’t been looked after and is generally not a good look.
- Clean windows and doors – Particularly the front door and also windows are a focal point for people first viewing a property and if they are not clean and/or are damaged it’s not a good look.
- Wash the exterior – If it needs it you can hose/scrub/wash the exterior of the house and you’d be amazed the difference it can make. If that’s beyond you there are professionals who will come and wash your house and it’s money well spent if it’s needed turning dreary and drab into fresh and clean.
- Declutter the yard – Remove any toys, bikes, hoses, pool equipment, etc. from the yard leaving it as open and spacious as possible.
- On the day – Remove your cars from the driveway, hide your bins and remove yourself and your family (including pets) allowing the photographer to his job undistracted
- Declutter – This is the single biggest change you can make to a property. By removing bulky and/or unnecessary furniture you can even make a small room look big.
- Clear all surfaces – Make sure that all your surfaces are cleared off. This includes your kitchen bench, dining table, coffee table, side board, vanity etc. The clearer a surface is the bigger it looks.
- Depersonalise – Take all the photos and magnets off the fridge, minimise or remove the family portraits on the wall and put away any religious items. By taking your family out of the property you’re allowing someone else to put theirs in.
- Make the bed – Not only make the bed but make sure there’s no clothes on the bedroom floor and your wardrobes are closed leaving the bedroom looking neat and tidy.
- Clear the bathroom – Remove or hide all your shampoos, soaps, toothbrushes, make up, hair dryers, towels, bath mats etc. and put the toilet seat down leaving the bathroom looking as clean and fresh as possible.
- Lighten the property – Let as much natural light as possible into the property. Open all the blinds and curtains, lift any shades and even turn lights on if necessary, light is a photographers friend.
- Clean – Give the property a good old fashioned Spring clean (no matter the season) removing marks from the walls, stains from the floors and making surfaces shine.
If Top Photos = Top Dollars then then the first step to achieving top dollars is getting the photos right. Getting the photos right is all about presentation and you can do as little or as much as you like towards getting the presentation right, but just remember, what you put in is what you will get out.
You can do it all yourself or you can get people to do it all (or some of it) for you – whatever you do just get it done! I mean when was the last time you saw a model on the front page of a magazine not ‘getting it all done’ before their photo shoot? Never, right…?