Prepare Your Property Like A Pro

What can home sellers learn from the professionals?

There’s a local Property Developer we regularly work for, and every time we visit one of their properties we know it’s going to be our favourite shoot of the day, probably of the week and maybe even the month! We know in advance that it’s going to be perfectly presented, beautifully staged, warm and inviting, and ready for us to capture some of the best images and video we’ll produce.

We’re lucky that he likes what we do too, so he insists that the Estate Agent he uses must instruct us to do our bit, because as well as knowing how to renovate and present each of the properties he buys, he also understands how his properties should be marketed. (When I was younger he ran the area’s most successful local Estate Agency, before selling up at the peak of the market).

So he and his team really know what they’re doing and how to best prepare a house for the market, but what can the rest of us learn from professionals like our developer when it’s time to make our homes ready for sale? We probably can’t go to the lengths that a dedicated team of builders, decorators and home stagers can, but that doesn’t mean we can’t follow the principles that the professionals use:

1 First impressions 

Both the front of the property and the entrance should be immaculate. Many buyers make their decision within 8 seconds of entering a home, so this bit is critical to get right. No shoes to trip over, or coats to brush past – just an attractive front door and a tidy, welcoming hallway 

Smart Front Door

Smart Front Door

Immaculate Entrance Hallway

Immaculate Entrance Hallway

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2 Living rooms 

If you can stage your living room like this then viewers will feel like they’re in a luxurious home and you’ll be half way there, but even if you can’t, there are things you can do to replicate the feel of it. Look carefully and you’ll notice some things you can see, that you can copy, and others you can’t see.

Luxurious Living Room

Luxurious Living Room

Let’s start with what you can see:

  • Fresh flowers – always improve a room 
  • Cushions, to add colour and a sense of luxury 

And what can’t you see?

  • Clutter – there’s nothing ‘hidden’ by the side of the sofa, or anywhere else 

There’s nothing you would have to do in these rooms other than sit down and relax – that’s how you want your viewers to feel at your home, and there’s no reason you can’t copy these easy steps 

Fresh, bright & clutter free

Fresh, bright & clutter free

3 The kitchen 

Another really important room to get right. Firstly, it’s got to be spotlessly clean – buyers don’t want to imagine themselves preparing their meals in your grime! Beyond that you want to show just how much space they’ll have to work on, so clear all surfaces of everything except one or two high quality feature items … a nice bottle of extra virgin olive oil, for example, and a bowl of fresh fruit always looks good.

Keep kitchen surfaces clear

Keep kitchen surfaces clear

Fresh flowers always help

Fresh flowers always help

A bowl of fruit (or decorative balls) looks good

A bowl of fruit (or decorative balls) looks good

4 Bedrooms

I know we live in ‘the real world’, and that you’ve got too much ‘stuff’ and not enough room to store it, but you’re also trying to get someone to spend £000s on your home, so it’s worth the effort to make them feel like they’d love living there.

Flowers work upstairs too

Flowers work upstairs too

Common issues we face when filming & photographing bedrooms include:

  • Items visible under the bed
  • Boxes etc on top of wardrobes
  • Clothes hanging on backs of doors/chairs/bed-knobs etc

Whilst there’s nothing wrong with hanging your dressing gown on the back of your bedroom door, it looks messy on the photograph, so put it away. Bedrooms should feel like a luxurious place that you can escape to without thinking it needs tidying up – if you can make your viewers think like that then you’ve got a much better chance of them turning into buyers.

Keep bedrooms clutter free

Keep bedrooms clutter free

5 Bathrooms

Again, these rooms should feel like a relaxing place to escape to, without clutter or anything that suggests it’s going to need cleaning. A few attractive shampoo bottles and soaps are perfect – too many and it will feel cluttered, and nobody wants to see a collection of bleach/cleaning products. Towel rails usually look better without towels, but you can leave them if they are immaculately folded (you’ll really need to channel your inner OCD to get it right!)

Minimise your soap/shampoo collection

Minimise your soap/shampoo collection

Remove towels or fold them with military precision!

Remove towels or fold them with military precision!

6 The Garden

“It doesn’t look it’s best at this time of year” If we had a penny for every time someone told us that before we went to photograph a garden, we could retire and spend our days tending the roses! The fact is that, unless you happen to have a viewing on one particular day in mid spring, your garden won’t look at it’s best, but that’s OK!

Concentrate on the space, not the weather

Concentrate on the space, not the weather

Your buyers are almost certainly more interested in the space that’s available, than whether your flowers are blooming, so make the most of what you’ve got. Set a table & chairs up to show the al-fresco dining potential, but otherwise tidy everything away. Not only will it maximise the space, it will also suggest that not much work needs doing to maintain the garden, which is a big plus for most people.

You probably won't have the perfect day, but you never know!

You probably won’t have the perfect day, but you never know!

So that’s it. There’s nothing complicated about making your home look its best, but it might involve a little bit of work. The thing to remember, though, is that you want to sell so you can move on to the next stage in your life. That means you need to convince someone to spend many £thousands of their money with you, so you need to make that decision as easy as possible for them. Buying a house is an emotional decision, so make sure the emotions your home evokes are positive ones.

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