Photographs, film & visits

How to prepare your property

In a world of visuals, photographs are perhaps the singularly most important factor in selling a property. An image has a more direct and positive impact than the spoken or written word.

The growing popularity of social-media sites such as Instagram reinforces time and again the importance of the image. Before a buyer will read a text they will look at a photograph of your property.

Internet surfers are ruthless. They may take less than a second of their time when seeing an image of your home in deciding whether to click on the link – or scroll on by.

When seeing the first image of your property – and this at the speed of light – the buyer will have already asked themselves the following questions:

  • Does the house look attractive?
  • Does it look light and spacious?
  • Is the architecture pleasing ?
  • Does the house look dark and depressing?
  • Does it look in good condition?
  • Would I want to live there ?…

And perhaps most importantly of all :
Does the asking-price appear to correlate with the property I am seeing on the photograph?

It is amazing how many properties – often at considerably high asking-prices – are presented to the market with poor photographs.

Your property may be eliminated from a pre-selection quite simply because the first image is a poor one.

Your house may well be worth the 500 000 euros you are asking – but does the photograph stand its ground when compared to all the other pictures of houses in that price-bracket?

The trophy shot

This is a term coined on the other side of The Atlantic in American property sales.

The trophy-shot is your leading number one image. The first image a buyer will see.

This photograph should show your property at its absolute best. No ifs – no buts.

  • If possible the skies should be blue – or in winter clear of cloud.
  • Wherever possible, the house should have neat and tidy gardens free of tools or incumbrance.
  • Lawns should be mown.
  • Pathways clear and free of leaves.
  • Tiles around the pool should be jet-washed and clean (not black and tired)
  • The pool should be open, shining and blue.

Even if you are not considering marketing your property immediately it is always a good idea to have your photos taken in good weather.

Photographs with Christmas trees on them or snow will send out a clear message in August that the house has been lingering on the market for far too long.

Photographs should look timeless and wherever possible should be renewed with the change of seasons.

Do not hesitate to ask your BLISS agent to come back when your roses are in bloom to improve on pictures taken in the winter.

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The interior
Preparations for photographs, visits and films.

Think Zen !

Buyers shy away from cluttered interiors, untidy or unclean properties. The subliminal message given is one which says : “this property is not loved – hence there will be issues with it – perhaps serious ones.”

The following advice is clearly not always relevant. You may be marketing a ruin or a property in need of full renovation. However for the majority of lived-in homes we market, here are our recommendations:

De-cluttered areas look more spacious and appealing. Start to pack. Throw away items which will not be moving home with you. Seize the opportunity to begin your move. Give The Universe a helpful nudge – and set the wheels of change in motion. Be ready to move – and more often than not – your buyer will come knocking.

Stagnant waters do not move fast. Imagine this period as one of change – a fresh and flowing river. Be minimalist! Start the process with a good clear-out.

  • Windows should be sparkling clean to let in the natural light of day.
  • Cushions should be positioned on sofas. Throws neatly arranged.
  • Beds should be properly made up with sheets, covers and a duvet cover.
  • Bare mattresses should not be on show.
  • Garden equipment – bikes, chairs, furniture, should not be piled up on internal shots.
  • Work-surfaces should be clean and uncluttered
  • Kitchen equipment should be tidied away where possible
  • Washing-up liquid, sponges, cloths, brushes, should be removed from sinks.
  • Bathrooms should be free of tooth-brushes, shampoo bottles, shower gels.
  • If any bathroom towels are left on show these should be neatly folded and decorative
  • Dressing-gowns and clothes behind doors should be put away
  • Medications should be removed from bathrooms and bedside tables
  • Bed-side tables should be emptied of everything except a lamp.
  • Washing-baskets full of dirty washing or piles of ironing should be removed.
  • Ironing-boards should be put away.
  • Wood-burning stoves and inserts look better with clean glass fronts.
  • Dog baskets should be removed.
  • Cat- litter trays should not be on show.
  • Dead plants and flowers should be removed from inside and outside.
  • Old toys and junk should be removed from lofts and outbuildings so the buyer can envisage the space available.

As a general rule of thumb, a buyer needs to project onto a blank canvas.

If your property is too cluttered or personalised – with family photos on each and every wall and surface – it may be difficult for the buyer to mentally project their own vision of their family into the space available.

If you do not need to see an object (other than for decorative purposes) please put it away.

NB – All preparations to the property must be made before the photo session and the appointment with your BLISS agent.

Lastly – For that extra touch of fairy dust –

Freshly cut flowers in vases look wonderful on photo-day.

Have fun with your photo/film session – imagine you are being featured in a luxury magazine.

Why not set the table for afternoon-tea? Make a lovely cake and set out your best china.

On a sunny day – set up the terrace area with deck-chairs, cushions, pots of flowers – perhaps an inviting bottle of wine and crystal glasses on the table.

Buyers respond best to visual clues and when each room has a clearly defined purpose.

The dining-room may recently have been transformed into an impromptu office with piles of papers or children’s toys. Put these away.

  • The sitting-room should look a welcoming place to relax.
  • The dining-room should encourage thoughts of happy family meals.
  • The study should be a zen place to sit and concentrate
  • The kitchen a clean and sparkling place to prepare food
  • Bedrooms should look the perfect place to rest – with beds made up with freshly smelling linen.
  • Towels should look clean and fresh and be folded.
  • Bathrooms should look clean and fresh – sanitized.

 

Preparations for visits

The following tips are always much appreciated by buyers :

Air your property thoroughly before viewings.

Open windows in bedrooms ( to remove « beddy » smells).

Kitchens should be aired to remove the smell of your last meal and bathrooms should be aired and condensation free.

Much as you love your four-legged friends please ensure that your house does not have a lingering smell of « dog » or an acrid smell of cat urine in the litter-tray.

Things buyers love !

Yes it is a cliché but it works. The smell of freshly baked bread or freshly brewed coffee is far more appealing than the scent of wet dog hair.

In winter a crackling log-fire helps set the mood. Buyers have often spent the day covering long distances in the freezing-cold and stepping into a warm and clean room, with the dancing flames of a log fire will set your buyer in the right frame of mind.

If it is dark and gloomy outside be a beacon of light – put on the low lights and lamps. Plug in the « fairy » lights. The warm glow of the interior will draw your buyer in.

On cold winter days – or roasting hot summer days – a drink is often much appreciated.

If a buyer has travelled several hours to see your property, and spent an hour admiring the gardens in the baking heat or the bitter cold, a glass of iced-water left on a tray or hot coffee on the hob- works wonders.

 

Peace & quiet!

The greatest gift you can give your buyer on their first visit.

Be friendly – but discreet!

Studies have proven that the more time a buyer spends inter-acting with the vendor – or chatting about non-related subjects – the less likely it is that the buyer will remember the details of the property when questioned after the visit.

Why? Quite simply because the buyer is so conscious of wanting to please, or be polite – or is so « aware » of being inside the intimate space belonging to the vendor – that statistically the buyer will spend longer looking at the vendor’s face than the house itself.

Valuable viewing time is wasted by « wanting to be polite ».

Buyers will know within the first few minutes of viewing a property if they wish to purchase it – or not. Some may even want to leave immediately but feel they must put up a whole charade and pretence « so as not to hurt the feelings of the vendor ».

Do you really want to waste three hours showing clients your property and explaining how your integrated watering system functions if sadly they have already decided not to buy?

It is not by engaging in long conversations about the weather and the rugby or by being « nice » that the buyer is any more likely to part with several hundred thousand euros of their hard-earned cash.

During their first viewing a buyer tries to visualise herself and her family in your home.

Time and space in which to project are vital. This is a psychological process. For some buyers it is almost a « spiritual » moment as they try to sense if they can be happy here.

Some clients ask to sit down and take a quiet moment to reflect. The agent knows not to talk too much unless questions are specifically asked.

Buyers need to « sense » a property and to « feel » the energy.

It is very difficult to do so when concentrating on a conversation with the vendor or having to make small-talk or being dragged off to look at another room when they have not quite finished in the first. Remember: what is important to you in your property may not be important at all to your buyer.

Time and again buyers return to the agency saying they were not able to « concentrate » on a viewing because the vendor was « too present ». Some ask to go back but request the vendor goes out.

From a practical point of view a buyer is more likely to ask pertinent questions or have a good « in depth » look at a property when left alone with the agent.

The decision to buy or to make an offer is more likely to be taken if the vendor is absent.

The best tips for a first visit – are to go out for a walk. Leave some cold drinks or coffee and vacate the property. Go to the shops or the cinema. Take out all leaping and bounding four-legged creatures. Not everyone likes dogs. Some buyers are afraid of them. Ripped stockings on arrival or scratched legs in the summer from Winston the Wolfhound are not likely to get your viewing off to the best start. Neither are young children haring around. The property should be a quiet and tranquil space in which to relax- without stubbing your toe on a Lego brick!

The time to meet and chat with the buyer and to explain all the minutiae of how the pool and boiler works will come at the time of an offer or a second or third viewing when the decision to make an offer or to purchase has been made.

 

Trust your agent.

The best person to sell your property is most likely someone other than yourself – however hard this may be to accept. (This is said with the deepest respect and many years of experience).

Your agent will have spent time in the car or the agency getting to know their buyer and will already know which elements of the property to concentate on.

Unwittingly – by trying to help – or to promote a sale – a vendor may appear desperate or pushy.

By the time of sale – there will be plenty of opportunity to clink glasses of bubbly by the pool and get to know your buyer.

You might even be allowed to show the future owners of your property the integrated sound-system of which you are so proud.

But not too fast ….. 🙂

Be patient.