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We have all heard that first impressions count and never is this truer than when trying to sell your property. Not only will excellent photographs catch the attention of eager buyers, but by emphasising the lifestyle your home actually offers, a well-planned photoshoot is likely to draw in serious viewers who won’t waste your time.
So why not pinch a few tips and tactics from the world of professional photography to get your home ready for its market debut?
Lay the Groundwork
There is a lot to consider before inviting a photographer to take pictures of your house. Everything from the weather on the day of the shoot, to the quirks and features of your home, and even the experience of the photographer can influence the outcome.
While there isn’t a lot about these factors you can control, you do have the power to set the scene to achieve optimum results. Here are some expert tips to help you on your way:
Clear the decks
You can’t add inches to the size of your rooms, but poor lighting and clutter can certainly appear to shave them off when taking pictures. Avoid pictures of dingy corners or garish decor by thoroughly decluttering, polishing, and rearranging furniture as necessary to maximise the beautifying benefits of reflective surfaces and light. This way, you can be sure you’re displaying the full potential of every room.
Top Tip – Photographers are often tempted to use a wide-angle lens, which in some cases may mislead a viewer or make the room appear to have strange angles. Consider this fact when discussing the options on the day.
Shop for Props
Luxury homes in magazines elicit such desire because they have been expertly staged to hint at the lifestyle most people crave. No matter the size of your property, you can take a leaf out of these glossy publications and apply their style tricks yourself.
Here are some ideas for the different areas of your home that won’t break your budget:
Even if your kitchen isn’t fully bespoke, it’s always better to present it positively rather than avoiding pictures of it altogether. Help viewers imagine spending their days in the heart of the home by adding:
- A wooden board piled high with rustic loaves of bread and delicious cheeses
- Bowls of fresh fruit (strawberries, apples and limes work well)
- Champagne and pastries
- Flowers that chime with the home – wildflowers for a country farmhouse, or elegant lilies for modern properties
While people enjoy spending family time in the communal areas of the home, avoid displaying an array of toys or sentimental items in your photos. Many potential viewers may also find evidence of pets off-putting because of the damage they can cause to floors, carpets, and other areas of the property. Instead, opt for:
- Pillar candles
- Fresh flowers
- High-end magazines and coffee-table books
Bedrooms & Bathrooms
At the end of a stressful day, we often want to unwind in our own private space. You can help ensure bedrooms and bathrooms seem warm and inviting by including:
- Crisp, ironed sheets
- Plump pillows
- Fluffy white towels – for display only
- Spa- and salon-quality toiletries
Even small lawns or courtyards can exude charm, aided by:
- Tealights or church candle lanterns
- A flowering plant as a table centrepiece
- Hanging baskets in bloom
You have likely lived in the property – No one knows your home as well as you do. By taking note of special features, attractive design elements, and favourite areas, you will have a useful brief to use as a reference point when discussing the upcoming shoot with your photographer.
Make sure that they receive a copy of the brief in advance to avoid confusion. It is also a good idea to request ‘lifestyle’ shots featuring your carefully chosen props, and ‘vignette’ photos that use doors and mirrors to frame key features or views attractively.
Time it right
Understanding the way your home presents on the compass will help you determine the best time of day to take certain shots. No one wants to see a gloomy exterior or a cold-looking garden, so your photographer may need to return in the evening to catch the sun to the front or rear of the property.
Be a co-producer
On the day of the photoshoot, make sure you are waiting in the wings to assist the photographer by removing distracting objects or adjusting the lighting. A good photographer will point out any potential obstacles for you to correct. Involving yourself in the process can reduce the chance of disappointment in the final result, so don’t be shy about getting stuck in.
Style to season
Spotting pics featuring flowers in full bloom in the middle of winter may make browsers question how long your property has been on the market. Autumn house hunters are also more likely to be drawn by a Yuletide scene than those who have just put the season of giving behind them and are desperate for sunnier days.
This may require refreshing your photos throughout the year to avoid giving buyers an excuse to put in a cheeky offer. The good news is that some images can be airbrushed to improve the scene – a service your photographer may provide.
Don’t be tempted to cut corners by asking a non-professional to take some pics. A real pro will take their time and understands the need for ambience and the best way to set up a shot. This will save you a lot of heartache in the long run.
Delegate to the Experts
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In the blink of an eye, the trees are dappled in burnished reds and golds. That first waft of coal fire smoke garnishes the dusky sky. Dust off your autumn boots and dig out your gloves…September is here.
Summer brought with it the UK’s busiest month of house sales in a decade. Everyone agrees, the housing market is booming.
So, alongside crisp misty mornings and crackling log fires, what delights does autumn hold for sellers?
Over the last few weeks, we’ve taken calls from family buyers looking for larger homes. These guys like to buy in autumn, spring and early summer. If these times ring a bell (the school bell) that’s because they are term times!
We find that buyers with children tend not to house hunt during the school holidays. After all, when the sun is shining, ice creams at the seaside and outdoor escapades with the family beckon, leaving little time for viewing homes.
It’s also worth remembering how stressful viewing a home can be, with children who just want to be outside.
Instead, parents tend to wait until the children return to school, so they can view homes in peace. But there is more to it than convenience alone; psychology of space can come into play too.
As the days stretch out and it’s light until late in the evening, kids often spend much more time outdoors. Whilst their children are busy playing in the garden until the last glimmers of sunset fade, it’s easy for parents to feel their home is bigger than it is.
As a result, ‘upsizers’ tend not to feel as squeezed for space in the warmer months. After all, with the children outdoors, the house seems so much bigger. With more room to stretch out, a house move may not feel as urgent.
But as the nights begin to draw in, the house begins to feel crowded, meaning parents once again are looking for a change and a larger home in which to grow.
House hunters searching in September and October tend to be keener to make an early decision. After all, everybody wants to settle in ready to start enjoying their new home in time for Christmas. In fact, ‘a quiet and settled Christmas’ can be a real driving factor. Buyers are more motivated than ever to get the deal done.
With that in mind, let’s explore the top seven reasons why selling in September might be the best option for you:
New school year = new start
The schools have gone back. At long last. For parents, it feels like a new year and a fresh slate. With the children no longer cluttering the decks, they can see things with clarity. They can also take steps to move on. School bags strewn in the hallway and cluttered desks in the evening add more impetus. New school year = new start. Where better for a new start than in a new home?
Ordinarily, buyers looking at property in September are keen to get moving. With Christmas on their minds, they want to have contracts signed and house moves completed well in advance of the festive season.
Adding to the festivities this year are the tax duty slashes from chancellor Rishi Sunak. Will the removal of stamp duty levies on properties below £500k light a fire within would-be buyers?
With plans for a pre-Christmas move supplemented by big savings, this excitement will no doubt drive them on.
An empty home is a clean home
Does the prospect of keeping a home clean and tidy for viewings fill you with fear?
If you have a family, having the children out of the house and at school during the day is a big bonus.
An empty home is so much easier to keep tidy. This means you can prepare for viewings without the worry of your hard work being undone at every turn. No more painting of the Forth Bridge!
Cosy September marketing
In September, your home is looking at its most warm and cosy, with lamps lit and the fire on. Never has it looked more welcoming and inviting.
Capitalise on the misty evenings and create a haven of comfort and cheer for house-hunters. A ‘twilight’ image during this season can showcase your home at its toasty best.
September weather may leave you feeling cold on the outside, but your home will be enticingly warm on the inside.
Size matters in September
With the colder weather and darker evenings, homeowners often retreat inside. A home that seemed spacious in the summer months suddenly feels much smaller.
Children who fled to the garden and local parks to meet friends in the summer are now flocking home. Sometimes with their friends in tow.
All these ingredients provide motivation to move on and seek out a bigger house.
Freedom to view at leisure
Not only is your home child-free in September – so are you! Harried parents trying to balance entertaining children with house-hunting are finally free. Free to focus on that essential task of moving home.
Now the schools have gone back, mums and dads are free to view homes child-free.
Free of distractions, questions and demands, parents are more relaxed. No need to rush through a viewing in a hurry, you are now free to view in a better frame of mind. Take the time you need to make a decision.
September’s garden glory
Although you might not realise it, September is a great month for the garden.
No longer scorched by the summer sun, the grass is looking lush and green. Shrubs are beginning to display an autumn glow … your garden still looks lovely.
Even when the leaves start to drop, this can be a bonus, with views often improving. As well as the low sun providing a great backdrop for twilight photo shoots, it can also bathe the house in a lovely glow for early evening viewings.
As you can see, September can be a wonderfully successful time to sell your home! But following the summer surge in home sales, will autumn sales follow suit?
Rishi Sunak seems to think so; the Chancellor’s recent cuts to Stamp Duty now extend until March 2021 and with the Stamp Duty threshold raised to £500,000, less than 10% of buyers will have to pay any Stamp Duty at all.
Whatever your plans, chatting them through in full confidence can help. We’d be proud to be part of your moving journey.
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When you chose your estate agent, you did so because you believed they could sell your home.
You felt so certain, you even put your name to it when you signed the contract.
However, months down the line, hopes of lots of viewers and competing offers from eager buyers, are starting to fade.
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You know your home looks good. You’ve chosen your estate agent, the photographer’s booked and you’re ready to launch.
But is there something missing….?
Let us help you transform your home from ‘market ready’ to ‘market ravishing’ with our home styling tips.
So, what is home styling?
Home styling is ‘fine-tuning’ your home so a buyer can imagine themselves living there.
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If you have had your house on the market for some time without success, dropping your asking price may seem an inevitable, if unwanted, next step. Your estate agent will often suggest this move if they have run out of ideas, motivation and most importantly, confidence in your asking price.
But is dropping your asking price really the answer to selling your home more effectively?