As we go from lockdown to lockdown due to successive waves of the current pandemic, it’s becoming clear that - at least for the foreseeable future - this is a new normal. The carefree days of 2019 when the scariest thing close to a global pandemic we had was the swine flu, Zika virus and Ebola are long gone. This means we have to adjust to the new reality.
One impact has been the increased reliance on the internet when it comes to making purchases. Traditional e-commerce is booming but so is non-traditional e-Commerce. Making a decision whether to buy or rent a given house after only viewing it online was something rare before the pandemic but these days it’s fast becoming the norm. Thanks to various rules and precautions you need to take, house viewing is fast becoming an online activity.
At the very least, potential buyers or renters are using real estate sites such as Propertybook to make a shortlisting decision before they go out and view the prospective premises. This means that having professional looking photos or video of your house is now a must rather than just an advantage. It might mean the difference between a quick uptake at the right price and failure to lure customers at all.
If you don’t know where to begin, I have a bit of good news: PropertyBook now offers professional photography and videography as part of our extensive list of services.
Not preparing is preparing to fail
If you are a real estate agent wanting to propel the reach of your listing, and you’ve booked a property photo session with us, your next step will be preparing the property to be photo-ready.
Here are a few tips to help you along the way:
Check the interior lighting - photography is all about light; dark areas tend to compromise the quality of resulting photos. Open some windows, part the curtains, check if there are blinds covering any natural light into the room. Keep an eye out for any heavy colour casts from artificial lights or reflections. If you are uncertain, talk with the photographer about whether to keep the lights on or off.
Clear the clutter - do what you normally would when you have important visitors coming because this is essentially what is happening. People might not be physically coming to your house to do the viewing but the resulting photos or video is going to be viewed and important decisions made based on that. Clear sink counters and make sure floors are visible. Make sure beds are made, the floors are polished and the rooms are neat and tidy.
Put away books, clothes and shoes - this should go with the clutter point above - people tend to associate clutter like this with lack of storage space.
Get those bathrooms spotless - Clear away any toothbrushes and toothpastes, untidy soaps, razors, and other personal items. Tuck them into a cupboard or out of the room. This will make the room look bigger too. As for the toilet, put the lid down. Clean, neatly folded towels make a huge difference - this applies to the kitchen space too.
Turn off TVs, computers and fans - TV and computer screens can interfere with the resulting display and can end up ruining the experience. The same goes for fans - the less movement, the better. It’s best to keep these off.
Remove magnets from the fridge - it’s not uncommon for people to have notes and marked out calendars in their home. Make sure to remove these for privacy reasons, if you feel it necessary.
Remove personal photographs - This is an entirely optional subject. Some homeowners would prefer to have their personal photographs removed from the walls and displays. You can leave paintings up if you feel they give character to the place. You can also make use of stock photographs to replace your actual photos if you would like to fill the empty spaces after removing some personal frames.
Remove pet items - not everyone likes having pets around, so it’s better to be neutral and keep toys and litter boxes away from view.
Tidy up the yard and do a little bit of landscaping - A little bit of trimming and tidying up goes a long way. Make sure the yard is clean and free of clutter & litter.
Clear cars from the driveway if possible to give a quiet look.
Accessorize - never underestimate the power of a fresh bunch of flowers on the dining room table, a teddy bear on a child’s bed, and some sprigs of herbs in the kitchen!
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