Harrogate District Chamber of Commerce News

One look is worth a thousand words

9 Sep 2017 by Source Harrogate

It was Frederick R. Bernard, who published a piece commending the role of graphics in advertising with the title “One look is worth a thousand words” in Printer’s Ink, December 1921. Nearly a hundred years on and at times we seem overwhelmed by images in social media from Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat and everything else. So, what’s the value of photos when selling your home today? There’s no doubt that there’s a degree of intimacy and directness that estate agency prose just can’t match.

Chamber Blog Image 1 Chamber Blog Image 1

I would argue that photography matters more than ever, but the relentless commoditisation of photos is a clear and present danger. Every mobile phone or device has a camera, but that doesn’t make the owner the next David Bailey. Owning a tennis racket doesn’t make you Roger Federer either!

So don’t be afraid to talk photography when you are negotiating terms with your estate agent.  It doesn’t matter whether the photographs are in the negotiated percentage agency fee or agreed as a separate fee (usually £100-300 for a modest home), but ensure the photographer is top notch and always ask to see previous work.

Your photos are there to tell a story; a story about the lifestyle available in your lovely home. Photos are critical in standing out from the jumble of hundreds of property descriptions on the web or jumping off the shelf in the agent’s office: there are no prizes for being complacent. However, it is also possible to overdo the number of photos – less is always more. Just remember that sinking feeling you get when you notice that you are looking at image 23 of 56!  A maximum of 10-15 photos is enough for most people’s short-term memory including three ‘wow’ shots and a ‘killer’ shot for your thumbnail and brochure front. Get creative: night shots for that cosy feel; double exposure to bring the garden outside into the home. I had the photo below taken as a double exposed image – one image focussed on the crisp interior; the other image focussed on the garden.

There’s a long list of common mistakes I see almost every week: watch out for the van parked in front of the home; blinds or curtains that have forgotten to be drawn; a kitchen so sterile that food preparation seems an improbable dream; photos of your downstairs toilet; the children’s football boots from last night’s practice.  It could be amusing at times, but not when you’re trying to sell your home. Be fussy – if it’s not right, ask for your home to be shot again, you are the customer at the end of the day. The next time you look at your favourite glossy magazine, just pause and look at the photography. Advertisers know that great photos really matter; firstly, to catch the eye and secondly to pull the reader into the text.
Increasing broadband speeds have led to home video tours becoming more mainstream although there are still traps for the unwary. Photos display a carefully choreographed set of images of your home, videos tend to display everything. An iPhone recording which judders around your home with a description as profound as ‘this is the kitchen, now we are moving into the living room….’ just doesn’t make the grade. You are selling your dream home, not showing off student accommodation (no offence to student accommodation). A video really has to be done well so it’s better to use a professional that will edit footage, add commentary or background music and gives you a production that brings your home to life.

The newest kid on the block is drone photography. It’s always worth pausing first because a camera on the end of a pole still often does the job. Drone photography requires appropriate training, is tightly regulated and so comes at a cost. But for the right house, it can transform the impression of space and grandeur and create angles that only Superman could access previously.

So, the final question I’m often asked is how much should you spend on photography including perhaps videos and drones.  That’s a tough question with no easy answer. I’d be completely confident that presenting your home properly (photography, sharp description, maintenance sorted with finishing touches) can improve the value of your home by perhaps 5% and its marketability hugely. So, in terms of photography, I’d never be afraid of spending £150 on a £100,000 home, £250 on a £500,000 and even upwards of £500 on a £1,000,000 plus home, if including drone and video.

If that doesn’t convince you, try asking a new bride how important photography is to tell the story of the big day. Those photos start a life together and your sales photos could secure your sale and start someone else’s new lifestyle in your former home!

If you are considering selling your home and would like some advice, please feel free to get in touch at an early stage. We can kickstart the process with a tailored marketing strategy and introduce the right agency for your needs and work with them to get the best outcome for you. Source Harrogate is only a phone call or an e mail away: 01423 788759 or shereefoy@sourceharrogate.co.uk.

Photography by Anthony Farrimond Photography, anthonyfarrimond.com  Copyright Sheree Foy