Dress for success - presenting a property ready to sell (Updated)

by Alistair Helm in

Update: I have been asked by many people the question - "so how much more did this house sell for after being cleaned up?" - well the facts are: It was sold in January 2013 for $435k which represents how it looked in the Before pics and then it was on the market again within 5 months and sold in July 2013 for $550k.


I have over the years seen many examples demonstrating the value of do-ups where for the sake of a bit of tidying up and a lick of paint a property can be re-marketed after only a short period of time and through the process attract a wider audience and as a result attain a higher price. It is the subject of TV makeover shows in this country and overseas.

I was therefore delighted when some eagle-eyed person contacted me a while back to share just such a real life makeover. They brought this property to my attention as it was close to where they had bought their first home some months earlier.  Given the property details they provided, I was able to collect together the images of the property in a before and after state. This gave me the opportunity to undertake a interesting and hopefully helpful evaluation of the process to examine the enhancements.

Exterior of the property

The property was the subject of a general clear-up with lawns cut and levelled, The somewhat sad looking tree was removed opening up the front of the property to emphasise the clear tidy lines of lawn and path. When it comes to photography removing extraneous objects in this case the car and defining the property better by using a filter to create a clear blue sky effectively lifts the property creating a sense of presence and makes the property far more appealing. The exterior photo of a property for sale is so important as it should be the No.1 photo - the one that appears on the primary search results page. This photo has to be good enough to get people to click through to the fuller details. I think you would agree the After photo is far more likely to attract attention and engender click through. 


The Kitchen

More and more attention is these days paid to the kitchen as the hub of a property and for this reason it deserves close attention to optimise its appeal.

The key to the presentation of the kitchen is de-cluttering to create a sense of space. The removal of the items on top of the kitchen cupboards effectively lifts the room to seem more open and lighter. More internal lighting is used to add warmth, this is accentuated by the addition of a rug that softens the hard vinyl floor coverings. Kitchens are functional areas of a house but when it comes to presentation, less is more and extraneous items like the microwave can be removed to create this sense of space. Notice also the professional photographer captures external images through the window to balance the internal artificial light - so much better than the glare in the before photo.


The Living Room

This is a striking "before & after" photo set that highlights the content and the photo. This area has received the benefit of the new floor coverings which together with a clean white lick of paint has brightened up this area, additionally helped by the removal of the heavy old curtains. The modern chunky style of furniture on the vibrant new rug creates a focal point for the room with the bold touch of red in the chair cushions creating visual impact.

As for photography, the angle of shot is important as is the lighting; hiding the ceiling detail so evident in the before shot. Excess exterior light so dramatically darkens the room thereby diminishing the opportunity to showcase the rooms. Again a wider angle lens on the camera creates a sense of space and allows the property buyers to see more context of the whole room.


The Bedroom

In the bedroom the old curtains set to the height of the window effectively lowers the height of the room. The new carpet adds warms and in this case adding more furniture adds a sense of richness with the red rug adding a feature. The headboard also creates a sense of height and the bedside cabinets appear to create a bigger room. The lack of curtains is a functional loss but an aesthetic gain. In terms of photography the critical issue here is lighting using extensive internal lighting as well the wall lights provide warmth also in so doing it allows to create definition through the window to the trees outside by shooting later in the day without bright sunlight.


The Bathroom

The key improvement here in the bathroom is the fitting of  shower attachment, providing for a much needed requirement of any bathroom. The room has been painted and as ever decluttered. This is a clear demonstration of the benefits of a wide angle lens which captures the room from door to towel rail with full view of the window and vanity. Again the light balance is so key ensuring that the window does not become the distraction as it clearly is in the 'Before' photo.


The point about this exercise is that this property was not the subject of a very expensive makeover - I would judge that the total costs of the work, materials and finally staging and photography cost around $7,500. The eagle eyed neighbours told me the closer inspection at an open home showed some less than perfect painting, but the overall impression was appealing. When it comes to selling a property success is all about maximising impact. This before and after photo comparison in my opinion certainly testifies to the enhanced impact that can be created by a make-over and a great photo shoot. Naturally as you would expect the property sold for a great price with significant interest far better than the initial sale - not surprising when you view the before and after shots.