Just an extra half a day’s work could add £1,000’s to the value of your rental property
While this may seem like common sense to some, if you take a look at Spareroom, even in 2021, many landlords fail to see the advantage of staging their product in order to make it more appealing to customers.
Truth is, buying a property is a very expensive and time consuming project, it seems ludicrous that only an extra few hours work at the very end of the refurbishment process and you can be adding huge value to your project. (Ok there’s travel time there and back)
Many investors are so focussed on getting their first tenants into the property that they rush to get things finished, let lots of the small details slide and fail to take good photos at the very end, meaning that in future all they have are some pretty poor photos to upload onto Spareroom and when you are selling product digitally, image is everything.
So what do you need to add to a room or property to make it stand out and add all this value?
Well assuming you have completed your refurbishments, everything should be clean and tidy, no tools left lying around etc. If light fittings should have lamp shades and bulbs & windows should have blinds. If there is a garden, this should be tidy too, remember 1st impressions count.
If you are furnishing a property then simply putting a landlord furniture pack into the property will make it look bland and lifeless. You are selling a home, a lifestyle, the buying decision very much depends on how you make someone feel, and your photos will greatly help your chances of securing a good tenant, so making the effort on dressing your property and making it look like a home is a big factor in attracting customers to your accommodation and fetching a good price.
How to dress a room:
There are some basic elements that are required to make a room feel like home, the first is a place to put things, like ornaments, books, plants etc, so shelves in any space are an essential ingredient.
If you are putting up shelves on a stud wall (a frame of timber or metal studs secured to the floor, ceiling and walls, which is then covered with plasterboard) then be mindful of choosing s shelf that has good support (a floating shelf may not stay fixed for long) and be sure to use the correct fixings (raw plugs) that are designed specially for this type of wall. A brick or solid wall is obviously the best choice to fit shelving. If you are fitting shelves in a basement, be careful as you may have a damp proof membrane, and piercing the membrane may cause the membrane to fail.
Dressing items needn’t be expensive, in fact we all usually have all the items needed to dress a room for photography in our own homes. A clean bedding set (preferably white, or neutral coloured), scatter cushions of varying colour, vases, books, plants, magazines, lamps and a laptop. In furnished accommodation you will need mirrors and some artwork that will remain in situ.
You really only need to stage rooms for photography, once the photos have been taken, you should leave a bedroom and the living room staged until the property has been let, after that, take the items back home.
In the past you may have needed an expensive digital camera, but today our mobile phones have incredibly powerful cameras that are more than up for the job. You may want to invest in a subtle, but quality wide-angle lens, but be careful as these lenses can also distort an image, so avoid cheap ones. I use an app called Pro-Camera on my iPhone, it does the job of cleaning up and enhancing an image automatically.
When taking a photo, be mindful of composition and light. Avoid using a flash and turn on all lights and lamps. Always try to take photos during the day, as daylight is the best light source. Taking photo where the window is in frame, will make the rest of the photo darker, so again be mindful of your composition. If you want to take a couple of ‘lifestyle’ shots (close ups with a blurred background) the iphone has a great native camera feature called ‘Portrait Mode’, this does all the work for you and creates amazing close up shots.
Note about HMO’s/Co-Living accommodation and Serviced accommodation: Shared spaced in HMO’s/Co-living developments should remain staged, so use fake plants. Cushions and ornaments should be left on site. Serviced Accommodation won’t need tons of staging, but it is supposed to be a home away from home, so depending on your customer demographic (families, contractors, business travellers), you should take some time to think about what you customer would like. A 5-star rating is very important as customers will look for your rating when choosing their accommodation.
If you are looking to sharpen your Interior Design Pencil, who not book your place on my upcoming Interior Design & Refurbishment Masterclass, where you will learn new skills that will make your property stand out from the competition and attract better tenants.