Selling your Federation Home

Styling and Photography are important when selling your beautiful home!

Three articles from Domain to inspire you:
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Passed in … Ruth Woodley in her Pymble home, on which she and her husband, Ted, spent $6000 before putting on the market. Photo: Steven Siewert

Spruce-up not enough to get property over the line
Domain, September 8, 2012 by Antony Lawes and Stephen Nicholls

A styling makeover was not enough to help Ruth and Ted Woodley sell their four-bedroom home in Park Crescent, Pymble, today.

  • The property was passed in and post-auction negotiations had reached $1,475,000, the Belle Property agent, Ian Clarke, said.
  • “We’re very close,” Mr Clarke said. “I expect to get it across the line in the next few days.”
  • The couple had given the house a lick of paint and the garden a spruce-up before it went on the market after 20 years as a family home.
  • And Mr Clarke had suggested they freshen up the inside as well.
  • They employed a stylist who advised them on how the house should look, which included painting, getting rid of a lot of their furniture and personal items, and bringing in some rented furniture to complement their own.
  • The Woodleys said the cost of renting the furniture (about $6000) was a good investment as it would bring up the price of the house (which they had hoped would be more than $1.4 million).
  • “We think there’ll be no doubt about that,” Mrs Woodley said.
  • “Styling gives you ideas about how you could furnish it yourself, whereas you wouldn’t have got those ideas the way we had it furnished.”
  • Mr Clarke said that, in some cases, a well-presented property could sell for up to $100,000 more.
  • For other properties “it just puts theirs on the top of the shopping list for buyers because suddenly it’s created a ‘wow’ factor that so many others are not offering”.
  • Most properties he sold had at least some work done to them.

Even the owners of a partially destroyed storm-damaged house still tidied up the garden before putting it on the market. “It’s about making it presentable so people can see the potential,” Mr Clarke said.

Spring styling tips

  1. Declutter: clear benchtops and have nothing on fridges, hide family photos, remove unnecessary furniture.
  2. Tidy gardens: cut grass, weed, sweep paths, and keep garden looking good throughout campaign.
  3. Hide garbage: make sure the the outside of the house looks good, especially the entrance and front door. Clean it and if needed apply a coat of paint.
  4. Let light in: open curtains, clean windows.
  5. Use colour: whether it’s cushions, art or plants and flowers.
  6. Don’t overstyle: make the house feel like a home, but not personal, people have to imagine themselves there.

Clever makeovers could add thousands

Antony Lawes Domain columnist September 7, 2012

'I was very reluctant to change it but it's not supposed to be an emotional thing' ... Steve Dodds painted the black walls of his Surry Hills apartment white before selling.
‘I was very reluctant to change it but it’s not supposed to be an emotional thing’ … Steve Dodds painted the black walls of his Surry Hills apartment white before selling.

‘I was very reluctant to change it but it’s not supposed to be an emotional thing’ … Steve Dodds painted the black walls of his Surry Hills apartment white before selling. Photo: Edwina Pickles
Steve Dodds’s Surry Hills apartment used to be painted black, from ceiling to concrete floor. He loved living there in his single days: he called the one-bedroom converted warehouse his man cave. It was in a popular building on Bourke Street and, despite the colour, had big windows that let in masses of light, while a large loft gave proportion to the five-metre ceilings.

  • Yet when it came time to sell, his agent Walter Burfitt-Williams of BresicWhitney told him the black had to go if we wanted a good price on auction day.
  • “No one’s ever walked into a place and said: ‘Wow it’s so wonderful and dark in here,’ ” Mr Burfitt-Williams said.
  • So Mr Dodds reluctantly painted the walls white and listened to Mr Burfitt-Williams’s other suggestions, totally remodelling the bathroom, laying new bamboo flooring and replacing the steel cages around the mezzanine with funky plywood panels and stainless steel wires. All up he spent about $25,000 in the hope of reaping up to four times that figure at the August 25 auction.
  • “I was very reluctant to change it but it’s not supposed to be an emotional thing, it’s an economic and financial one and that’s why I’ve done it.” The apartment ended up selling for $610,000, which was not as high as Mr Dodds was hoping for, but he thought the presale makeover was worth doing.
  • “It’s hard to say what it would have gone for if I hadn’t done anything,” he said. As the biggest selling season of the year gets underway properties will be jostling with many others for attention. Experts say to successfully stand out in a crowded market where buyers are more demanding, sellers need to present their homes in the best possible light.
  • “There’s a lot of competition out there and the buyers are harder than ever,” Mr Burfitt-Williams said. “It’s not like five years ago when people would just buy to get on the property ladder and were less fussy … now a lot of them particularly in the inner city are time poor and they don’t want the hassle of having to go and [fix up a property].”

Stylist Mia Cipolla, who runs Mia Creative Interiors, said even a quick cosmetic makeover on a house or apartment before a campaign helped buyers imagine themselves living there, which meant they were more likely to form an emotional attachment “that creates a sense of urgency to own that property”.

  1. “It’s really important for a property to stand out when there are lots of others around, such as in Spring,” she said.
  2. Her “No.1 rule” was to get rid of excess furniture and other personal items to create a greater feeling of space. This also allowed the furniture to be arranged in such a way that it gave a “good spacial flow” when potential buyers were walking through.
  3. “What might work for a family as they’re living there might not work well for an open for inspection,” Ms Cipolla said.

Photography tips to turn your average listing into ‘bait

Short of hiring a professional photographer to give your home a visual makeover, here are some tips and tricks on how to photograph your space like a pro. This way, you can let your pictures do most of the talking when inviting buyers to your listing.
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We asked an expert photographer for advice and tips and tricks on how to add professional quality photos to your listing with minimal effort.

Clean up that clutter

This should be a given – “Each item seen within the camera’s small frame must be an intentional part of the message you want to communicate,” says Liz Dawes-Ordoñez, a professional photographer specializing in architecture and interior design photography.

If a jar of pens doesn’t add anything to the picture of your coffee table, there’s no need for it. It’s important to not feel pressured to add things to the scene with the hopes of making it unique, personified, or as if the room has tons of gadgets visitors can play with. That’s what the description section is for!

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Not sure how to create focus in a room?

Moving furniture away from walls, even five or six inches, will help a room appear airy rather than stuffed,” Dawes-Ordoñez tells us.

“Choose the most appealing camera angle and then move furniture so it looks good through the camera’s viewfinder and not the naked eye. Through strategic positioning of furniture you can create a photo with three dimensional feeling, paying special attention to items close to the camera.”

You should also remember the small details, such as making sure the mirror is fingerprint-free and folding bathroom and kitchen towels to create a calm and tidy feel to the home.

Foolproof interior design

external image 2000968136.jpgAdd some personal touches to make your space come to life.
Add a bright color, even if the decor is neutral or monotone,” Dawes-Ordoñez suggests. “It will instantly brighten up any photo.”

Even something as simple as a fleece throw, stack of books, or a bundle of flowers can change the feel of the space.

“For a contemporary look, use a single type of flower such as a couple dozen tangerine tulips in a crisp white vase. Placing them close to the camera lens will create an inviting point of interest then guide the viewer’s eye to examine the space further.”

For a Victorian or shabby-chic space, consider using a bouquet of field of flowers or one funky art piece to draw interest that makes sense with the style in your home.

If you are planning to use pillows as accents, try stacking pillows in tones of the same shade to add dimension. An object that gives off an interesting shadow, such as a large vase, may also create intrigue in the space.

Preparing to shoot

One of the principles of photography is learning how to use light to your advantage. Most people say natural light is soft and more visually appealing in a commercial use, but artificial lighting can prove helpful as well.

Time of day is very critical. It should complement a style,” our expert says. “Mixing light sources such as fluorescent, tungsten, and daylight will create unwanted color casts. When possible, opt for a single type of light source.”
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Use candles or tungsten bulbs under shaded lamps to show off the dining room, either of which can add a warm tone to the atmosphere. ”What you’re doing is trying to illustrating a lifestyle, not just showing the best features of the space.”

It’s understandable that natural lighting can be rather limited.
”If a space has deficiency with light, use a tripod so you can do a long exposure. That way, just about any space can become bright.” If you do not own a tripod, you can try placing your camera on a steady surface or shelf.

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Even though your house may be tiny, don’t be tempted to shoot with a super wide angle lens to try to fit more into one frame.

Your iPhone with iOS 6 offers panorama view? Don’t you dare touch it. “Although you see more of a space in one shot, it creates more distortion and gives the illusion that objects are far away from the camera,” Dawes-Ordoñez says.

Additionally, you may want to shoot from an angle that leads into the rest of the space rather than a distorted wide angle photo that inaccurately represents your home — because once your guests are there, they will know what the space actually looks like, and you could be asking for a negative review.

Follow these guidelines and you’re on your way to professional quality photos without emptying your wallet. With just a small time commitment and a willingness to experiment with photography a bit, you’ll have travelers flooding your inbox requesting a night at your personal bed-and-breakfast in no time.

Image Credits: Flickr: stevebennettbuildersrogueinteriordesignsgooglisticoco+kelley

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