Benefit from estate agents’ tricks of the trade with this guide to effectively selling your property by David Clifton
One way sellers can try to get an edge over others on the market is to give the prospective buyer more and better information than other vendors.
In the UK, houses almost always feature attractive photographs and clear floorplans, yet these are often lacking in France. They give prospective purchasers a good idea of what they are going to see (in the best possible light, of course) and, more importantly, they help to make your property memorable.
If buyers are looking at a number of houses, it is very easy to get the details mixed up (“Which was the one with the large kitchen?” or “Which one looked as though you could knock the two bedrooms into one?”). Good photos and a simple floorplan will make sure that buyers can look at the details after they have left, refresh their memories and even plan what they would do if they bought it.
With the majority of buyers doing their research on the internet, a lack of good photos may mean they don’t even consider viewing your property, let alone buy it.
THE SECRET TO TAKING GREAT PHOTOS
1.Choose your time. Don’t take photos when there is snow on the ground – it may be seen to be hiding something and also reveals when you put your property on the market. For the same reason, avoid interior shots with Christmas trees! Conversely, if you have an open fire, get it working – it gives the room a heart. If it’s summer, scrunch up lots of newspaper and set it alight. And make sure you take the photos on a sunny day.
2. Tidy the house. This means no clothes scattered around the bedrooms, towels on floors or washing-up in the sink. And declutter – even if your ‘stuff’ is only hidden temporarily. This is going to be someone’s ideal house; they want to imagine it filled with their own things, not yours. The important pictures are of the main rooms – you don’t need to include the boot room and keep pets out of the way.
3. Use a wide-angle lens. If you haven’t got one, try to get in as much of the room, or the view, as you can. Have you ever considered using a panoramic photograph? This can put the exterior of a house into its proper context, and can even be used for larger rooms.
4. Create a virtual tour. These are particularly good to consdier if you have an amazing view you want to show off. It will have to be professionally shot, but the results can be very impressive (take a look at http://flashtours.i-spy360.com/3954_32792/self/v2).
OFFERING A FLOORPLAN
Last, but by no means least, offer a floorplan. It gives buyers a clear idea of the layout of your house and, in the case of properties with remodelling potential, an idea of what might be possible. You could, as I did in a recent plan of a manoir, have two plans – one showing the house now, another with possible changes.
You can draw up your own plan. Make a sketch, fill in the measurements (easier on squared paper), then transfer it to clean white paper. You could also use a professional, who will come to the house, carefully measure and sketch, and provide a clear and accurate plan. Names of rooms can be in French or English, and the plan can be as basic or complex as you wish.
Never claim that the plan is a scale representation of the house. A professional drawing will be accurate, but people might be misguided enough to order fitted carpets from floorplan measurements, so add a warning that the plan is for ‘layout purposes only’.
If you are marketing your house privately, take care with the description of the house. Keep the details simple, making it clear how many rooms there are, if there is a bath, rather than just a shower, how much land there is, the location and how much work needs doing. Think of the information you would want before you committed to using your precious holiday to view a property.
If you are using an agent that says they don’t use floorplans, ask why not. Explain that buyers, especially from the UK, expect them. Make sure that you like their pictures and their description – don’t forget, it is your house!