As the housing market continues to recover and the number of prospective buyers grows, the quality of a property listing becomes increasingly important.
In a survey by Bankrate of 2,750 consumers thinking of buying a new property, the results reveal house hunters’ biggest gripes regarding listings and how to make the most of your property if you’re considering selling. The data show that the most complaints about listings concern visual imagery.
No less than 82% of respondents criticised a lack of images, saying that the inclusion of fewer than 10 good-quality photos is a major turn-off. 79% disliked the absence of a video of the home. Unsurprisingly, as many have passed the time during lockdown watching videos or engaged in video calls.
It’s very likely that a high-quality video will soon become an essential component of any property listing.
75% mentioned poor-quality or unflattering photos that don’t do a home justice and wouldn’t encourge them to read through the listing. And 49% cited a listing with photos taken on a rainy day which they felt makes a home look drab and uninviting.
Almost as many of those surveyed (80%) who mentioned a lack of images, complained of a boring or trite property description which fails to showcase the home and emphasize its unique qualities. These potential buyers went so far as to say that they would avoid reading such a listing, even if it contained a gallery of quality photos.
52% of the respondents also cited incorrect grammar and spelling, together with poor writing, as reasons to reject a particular listing.
As regards the home itself, 73% were put off by a untidy, cluttered interior, 70% by a floor plan that wasn’t logical and well laid out, and 63% by interiors that were not co-ordinated and consisted of a hotch-potch of different styles and colours.
The remaining complaint concerned overpricing which 73% felt was a good enough reason to reject the listing.
Top tips for preparing a property for sale
Cleaning. Above all, make this a number one priority. Make sure flooring, upholstery, curtains and blinds are clean and stain-free, bathroom fittings are immaculate (use grout cleaner to ensure grout is mould-free), and remove dirty fingermarks and scuff marks on paintwork. Ensure windows are clean and smudge-free.
Declutter and depersonalise. Hopefully, you will be selling to someone who can imagine moving in straightaway, so remove all traces of you and your family: treasured photos, notice boards, toys and books. But feel free to use props.
A vase of flowers in the hall or dining room, some quality scatter cushions on the sofa or a bowl of fruit in the kitchen will inject a dash of colour and style to a room without being overly personal. Similarly, style beds attractively with clean linen.
Update. Give dingy walls a coat of neutral-coloured paint. If your kitchen needs refreshing, replace or paint the cupboard doors and add contemporary handles.
Spruce up the exterior
Make the most of the garden. Mow the lawn, cut the edges, prune shrubs, weed and deadhead, clean paving and decking and repaint gates and fences, if necessary. Add some colour with plants in pots and arrange garden furniture in an attractive, inviting group.
Maximise kerb appeal. First impressions are ultra-important, so deal with flaky paintwork, repaint the front door if needed, add new door furniture and make sure the bell works. Tidy the garden and remove weeds from gravel. If there’s room, you could add evergreen shrubs in pots either side of the front door.
How to create quality photos for a listing
Given that visual imagery is critical these days, if you’re thinking of marketing your property yourself, here are a few tips to ensure quality photos:
For the best results, photograph during the day, ideally with the sun behind the house, which will produce images with plenty of natural light and bright, saturated colours. Avoid cloudy or rainy days for obvious reasons.
Take advantage of the maximum amount of natural light by raising blinds and drawing back curtains. As a result, natural daylight will highlight the important features of your home and make your photos super-realistic.
To avoid the possibility of lopsided and blurred photos, try mounting the camera on a tripod, which will lead to good sharp images and enable you to achieve controlled shots in confined spaces.
Be careful not to put off potential buyers by making your home look too small or too large. Consequently, avoid shots where there is too much floor or ceiling, as these can make it hard to judge the size of a room. Decide which are the best features in each room and experiment with various camera angles to see which ones best compliment your home.