How pictures sell houses

Rose Dene, Sheriff Huton, �785,000, www.savills.co.uk
Rose Dene, Sheriff Huton, �785,000, www.savills.co.uk
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The sun has brought feel-good factor to the property market. It also offers the chance for your home to shine via great photography. Sharon Dale reports.

If you see an estate agent with their face pointing skywards and with hands together and eyes closed, they may well be praying for sun.

Sunshine puts heat into the property market and often leads to a bumper crop of “For Sale” signs.

The recent balmy weather is a perfect example of this, according to Ben Pridden, Head of Residential Sales at Savills York. He says: “The long-awaited better weather has restored feel-good factor. It is so often the case that as the temperatures gradually start to warm, the sentiment returns to the market. We have seen an influx of homeowners looking to sell and buyers looking for their next move.”

He adds that many vendors wait until the sun shines in the belief that blue skies, a home bathed in light and a garden in bloom will help them get the best possible picture of their home’s exterior.

“One of the main reasons for the popularity of launching a property for sale in spring is the improved weather, which in turn means improved photography. We at Savills York see many people holding out until this time of year to market their properties in order to get the best possible photographs,” says Ben, who also suggests that homeowners planning to sell later this year or next year get ahead of the game and have their main exterior photographs taken now.

“Strike while the iron – and sun – is hot and get those photographs in the can,” he says. “That way, if you decide it’s time to put your home on the market in the autumn or during the darker winter months, we won’t be delayed by the one factor that is out of our control: the weather.

“We have seen many a seller delay launching their home this year as they’ve patiently waited for better weather. Those that had their photography taken during last year’s hot spell in readiness for a spring launch are already reaping the rewards as they gain interest from the increasing number of potential buyers looking to make their next move now the sun has started to shine.”

Good pictures have never been so important in marketing a property. The slideshows on property portals are scrutinised and can make the difference between a buyer booking a viewing or dismissing your home as unsuitable.

Almost all the top-end estate agents insist on using pictures taken by a professional architectural/interiors photographer. The cost may be included in their overall fee and sometimes it is an added extra. The average price for a set of pictures is £300-plus but if you consider the cost benefit analysis it is money well spent.

At the mid to lower end of the market, estate agents will attempt to do the job themselves, which means they will pop round with a point and press camera or their smartphone and take snaps of what is likely to be your most valuable asset.

Some have invested time and energy in learning the art of styling and taking interiors pictures, but many have not and the results are out there for us all to see.

The shampoo bottles on the side of the bath, the stack of loo rolls on top of the toilet, the unmade beds, the washing up on the kitchen sink, the sitting room that looks dark and gloomy, the socks drying on the radiator, the plastic toys scattered across the lawn with the trampoline centre stage and the house covered in snow even though it is now May. Not forgetting the wheelie bins on the drive and the exterior of the house obscured by parked cars. You’re selling a home not your Toyota Corolla.

“Good photography is absolutely key to the sale of a property in this day and age and should be central to the advice being offered by your agent. With almost every property available on the internet to view and compare with others at the click of a button, you have a second, perhaps two at most, to make an impression,” says Ben.

“Strong photography adds a new element to the marketing campaign, opening up opportunities for editorial and exposure through picture-led social media platforms such as Instagram. We need good photography to drive buyers to pick up the phone, so we can do our job and sell the viewing.

“When choosing an agent, you should find one that uses good photography.”