Pretty as a picture


Q. I understand the importance of good photographs in “selling” my house – particularly on the internet. Do you have any tips?

A. You’re right. Even if you don’t go for the more exotic options that the internet offers, like video clips or virtual tours, buyers still expect to see a whole array of photographs, illustrating just about every conceivable aspect of a property.

But quantity isn’t everything. If the pictures are badly composed, ill-lit, or just plain uninspiring, a lot of buyers will simply switch off and move to the next property.

From the purely technical point of view, you should be able to rely on your estate agent to take pictures that will show your home to its best advantage. At the “stately home” end of the market, of course, agents routinely use professional photographers. But many mainstream agents these days also appreciate the value of decent pictures, and some even put their staff through special training to ensure quality results.

However, while agents may be happy to offer advice on how to prepare your home for the camera, you can’t expect them to do the work. That’s your job.

The key thing to remember here is that a photograph captures a split second in time with piercing clarity - so it is arguably even more important to prepare your house for the camera than it is for visiting buyers, who are much more likely to be distracted by other sights and sounds. I’m sure we have all seen examples of what homes can look like when a camera is pointed at them, if those preparations aren’t made!

The key here is tidiness. So…Outside, make sure the garden looks well tended and clear of anything unsightly, like a rubbish bin. In reception rooms, make sure cushions are plumped up; dining tables either laid for a formal meal or completely clear; children’s toys or discarded magazines tidied away, etc. If necessary, remove surplus pieces of furniture to create a feeling of more space.

Try to ensure that your kitchen looks as pristine as it did the day it was installed. Make sure all beds are properly made. In the bathroom, fold towels neatly and remove any unsightly collections of shampoo bottles, etc. Loo seats should always be down!

Finally, check that all the lights work. Quite apart from anything else, they may be needed for the shoot.