Great photographs will sell your house faster, and for a better price!
However, to take great property photographs you need more than a photographer with a good camera, great lens, flash, tripod, years of photographic experience etc. You also need the property to be well-prepared for the photo shoot. This can make all the difference. A beautiful bathroom shot can be ruined by having the owners´ toothbrushes in sight with the toilet seat up and a smear on the mirror. A great kitchen shot can be ruined by a tea-towel hanging over the oven handle and the fridge covered in post-it notes and fridge magnets. A wonderful lounge shot can be ruined by a couple of pets lounging on the sofa and Jeremy Kyle on the TV! I think you get the picture! It´s about de-personalising the property but still making it inviting. It´s fine to show off your furniture because that´s something that anyone could use, but if you have personal items on display such as clothes, photographs, toothbrushes etc these are things that nobody else wants to use and only serve as a reminder that the house is somebody else´s home. The buyers need to start imagining themselves making it their own home.
So, here are some tips for how to prepare your home for the photo shoot:
REMOVE OR HIDE AWAY THE FOLLOWING ITEMS:
* as many personal belongings and photographs as possible (clothes, shoes, family photos, football or religious icons)
* bins and cleaning equipment - we all know kitchens don´t stay beautiful without a mop and bucket and a waste bin, but those things won´t sell your property! - so please try to keep them well out of sight! That goes for cans of insect spray too! (you´d be surprised.....)
* pet bedding, dishes, toys....in fact everything to do with your pets including your pets (except fish tanks, fish tanks can stay, if nice and clean!)
* anything in the garden or on your balcony that can be easily stored away to make the outside space look more presentable
* vehicles in front of the house - park them round the corner please, and preferably not in your garage
* ash trays
* paperwork, letters (especially bills!), newspapers, crossword books, knitting, craftwork, tools
* coats and dressing gowns on the back of doors. I often take a shot that includes the back of the door, and so the backs of all the doors need to be free of coats, bags and dressing gowns please.
* in the bathroom, remove ALL toiletries (even the soap) and ALL towels (unless perfectly clean and folded - but if in doubt just hide them away). Don´t leave anything hanging over the side of the bath or the shower cubicle. Toilet rolls should either be full and unused or taken away completely. Packets of toilet wipes should be out of sight too. Bath robes/dressing gowns? No thanks, not even slinky leopard-print ones. Less is more! Remember that anything hanging on the back of the door will possibly be seen in the mirror, so nothing on the back of the door please.
* in the kitchen have the bare minimum on the worktops - ie no cleaning equipment, no crockery (clean or dirty), nothing in the kitchen sink, no Fairy Liquid, no boxes of cereals, nothing except shiny worktops and maybe just one feature appliance or two if they are of high quality. So unless your kettle and toaster are things of beauty that shout out "living the dream" - just hide them!
* take all fridge magnets, calendars, post-it notes and shopping lists off the fridge and hide them somewhere, (and maybe keep them hidden so that when we do viewings you don´t have to go to that trouble again.)
* people - that´s right! It´s important that everybody stands behind the camera and not in front of it, so to make that easier the fewer people that are present the better. I can take quite a long time doing the photos, so feel free to go for a nice long walk whilst I concentrate on getting the photos right.
THINGS TO CLEAN BEFORE THE PHOTO SHOOT:
* windows (it´s nice to see the view!)
* ceiling fans (especially if they look like they would create a brown snowstorm if you were unlucky enough to turn them on)
* make the beds please (!) and don´t have anything under the bed that will appear in the fotos if possible
WHAT ABOUT LIGHTS?
Before I arrive, please turn on all the lights that you think enhance the property, eg bedside table lights, spotlights in the ceilings etc. If you have multiple light fittings, make sure that all the bulbs are working and are preferably of the same colour (eg if they are a mix of yellowy-white and bright white, that doesn´t look good). When I´m taking the photos it can be quite difficult to manoeuvre the tripod from room to room, and having to worry about finding light switches and plugging in bedside lights can slow me down and detract from the business of taking great photographs. The extra electricity costs involved in doing this will be forgotten when you find a buyer for your home!
If your home looks great at night, eg if you have pool and garden lights, let´s talk about the possibility of me returning to do some twilight shots.
CAN WE USE THE PHOTOSHOOT AS AN OPPORTUNITY TO FINALISE THE PAPERWORK AND LOOK FOR BILLS?
We prefer you to visit our Villas Fox office prior to the photoshoot with all your bills and documents and to sign the agency contract. Our office is the ideal place for us to scan your original documents if required, sign the contract, give you a copy of it, and discuss the marketing of the property if required. That will make it easier for you to have the property prepared for the photographs, and for me to concentrate on taking them. Of course that´s not always possible if you´re unable to visit our office, so we will try to be as flexible as possible of course.
Remember - if you do as much of the above as possible before the photographer arrives, you will probably be handsomely rewarded by having much better fotos that will sell your home faster, and for a higher price! It will definitely be worth it!