Catching a buyer
Selling is a dance. The dance really begins, once you get a buyer through the front door and the buyer has to emotionally connect to a home and imagine him or herself living there if a sale is going to be made. Presentation and photographs draw a buyer into a home so the selling dance can begin.
Rod Amos is a real estate agent and is one of the most respected and experienced industry based photographers in Australia. Working along the eastern coast of NSW, Rod knows what buyers connect to. He believes that now more than ever, the purchaser is more discerning. He says, “The purchaser is making decisions. They’re screening; they’re doing all the work on the web via the advertisements, and occasionally with the signboards as well. The agent has no control once a vendor has decided, ‘That is the property I want to look at, and I’m discounting A, B, C, and D’.”
Rod therefore believes that how a property is presented and photographed is more important than ever. He explains, “Photography and presentation go hand-in-hand. If you’re preparing a property for photos, that’s exactly the way it should appear for each and every open home, for each and every buyer inspection and throughout that marketing campaign.”
Create a positive first impression
In Rod’s experience, he has found that most buyers and in particular women, “make up their mind between getting out of the car and about 30 seconds after walking through the front door.” What buyers see in the photographs on the web has to match with what they see when they get out of the car.
“You have to make the impact, and that’s exactly the same procedure we work through with the photography,” says Rod. “We’ve got to make sure that we work on the strengths and we minimise any potential weaknesses as far as presentation goes. So in order to prepare a property for photography, it’s exactly the same as what you’re looking at to get it ready and on the market for the buyers themselves to walk in.”
Rod believes therefore to prepare a home for photography and a sale, it is essential that the front of the home creates a strong impression. Declutter. Clean. Make sure the front yard is tidy and hedges are trimmed. Paint the door jambs in a high gloss, Make sure all the cobwebs are gone from those eaves that you no longer look at. Wash the home.
“If you’ve got faded, peeling paint anywhere, whether it’s fascias, eaves, weatherboards, or whatever else, that needs to be addressed,” says Rod. He adds. “As a photographer working for real estate, under the Office of Fair Trading, we are not supposed to make good anything that is not actually done properly in the first place. So whilst it might be tempting to retouch that bit of gutter that’s falling down or to fix in the hole in the side of the home, again, as an agent, you have a responsibility for ensuring that it appears correctly by the time you get it on the market.”
Rod believes that a pristine, glowing home says, “I care about this home. I’ve looked after it. So the person that purchases this home is going to benefit from the love, care, and attention I’ve given the home during my ownership.”
Market the home to suit the purchaser
Once inside, Rod advises to think about who you think will want to buy the home and make the surroundings appeal to the potential buyer. He says think about “who are we trying to appeal to? Is it a single person’s apartment? Is it designed really for couples? Is it a first home buyer’s home, or is it a family home? So think about the atmosphere you’re trying to create. And again whether it’s the deck, whether it’s the verandah, whether it’s a balcony, how does it integrate with the rest of the atmosphere you’re trying to sell about the location?”
He suggests, “Minimise the amount of furniture and utilise the furniture that’s going to make an impact, that’s going to create the scenario, the kind of emotions that you’re targeting in that buyer.” For example if you are marketing a home to a family, Rod says, “There’s nothing wrong with having a photograph of the kids’ bedroom with a chalkboard and some posters on the wall because we want to create that family ambience. Maybe beside the television, you might even want to leave the Xbox controllers there.”
Again, he advises decluttering and clean, clean clean and add one or two small touches. He says, “Bathrooms need to feel clean; they need to be almost clinical.”
Keep the lights on
Rod believes that lights are essential. He says, “We’re always, even in daytime, going to be shooting with lights on. Because most professional photographers are going to create an ambience somewhere between using their flash equipment and utilising the available sunlight and the lights as well.”