You never get a second chance to make a first impression, so your property photographs need to be good enough to grab people’s attention and make them want to come and visit. A little preparation and a small spend could yield big results; get inside the mind and the eye of the potential buyer and give them what they want to see.
Some obvious tips
Make sure all furniture is clean, free of dust and hair. Magazines, paperwork, stray clothing including shoes, and general clutter should be removed. Pillows should be puffed out and curtains straightened.
Mould and scum should be cleaned from the bathroom and the shower curtain should be washed. The kitchen surfaces should be clean, with food packed away. Clean all carpets and floor tiles.
Finally, make sure the garden looks smart, and if possible remove weeds, stray leaves and branches from the grass. Potted plants and bright flowers create a homely and interesting scene that should be investigated.
Missing handles, broken tiles, cracked windows, peeling wallpaper and other little examples of sloppiness should be eliminated. A good rule of thumb is to imagine that someone you don’t like is coming to your house, and you don’t want to give that person an excuse to sneer at you.
Your rooms should be bright and vibrant, so in an ideal world the pictures would be taken in July and August, bathed in a sunshine glow. If the natural light is inadequate then turn on as many lights as you can.
Of course, if you have very dark or heavily patterned walls it won’t matter how much light is shining. If you really wish to showcase your home think neutrals or pastels – essentially you want to create a canvas for a buyer to stamp their own authority.
A spare bedroom in white or yellow, for example, could be equally suitable for a five-year-old child and an 80-year-old woman.
You’ve spent years putting your stamp on your home, but for the property photographs it is time to clean away that stamp, and give others that chance. Take out photographs of loved ones, certificates, awards and other items, to allow others to mentally superimpose their objects in place.
Removing all evidence of cats and dogs is vital; you might love them, but some prospective buyers will instantly dismiss your house if they see claw marks, litter trays or any other tell-tale signs. Pets leave smells and stains that are stubborn.
This is entirely subjective, but human beings are fickle and may be dissuaded by the smallest items that can cause unease such as evidence of strange hobbies or bizarre art.
For example, if there were a model skeleton in a corner of a room, a bed packed with 150 teddy bears or a room daubed with Japanese horror film posters, consider the effect that would have on buyers – even though they know they can remove them.
Space to breathe and live is a precious commodity, so consider removing a chair or table if either constrict a room, and create an impression of claustrophobia. Move furniture around and experiment with various angles to create an ideal composition.
If you’re taking the photographs yourself use a wide-angled lens (up to 35mm), which will create a spacious environment. Use the flash if necessary, but don’t blast out the room into an overexposed mess. For real enthusiasts off camera-flash could give good results. Use a tripod if you have one, as it will enable you to line up the vertical lines perfectly and take the snap with a lower shutter speed – beneficial in a naturally dark room.