Tuesday, 12 July 2011

You and Real Estate Photography

I spend many hours looking at homes on the various real estate web sites and I am surprised constantly by the lack of quality of the photos on the web.  I see properties that look nice, but the photos are not capturing the features of the room, over exposing areas that don't attract buyers, overuse of the wide angle lens, too much ceiling exposed the list goes on.  Today, the first impression a buyer will have of your property is through the Internet, so you must get it right.

Do you pay for the advertising?  If YES, then sellers need to take a keen interest in what you are paying for and become actively involved in the photos of their home with the photographer and agent. 

If you paid for a family portrait with a professional photographer, would you just let the photographer or someone else select the photos for you?  NO!  You are personally invested in the selection of those photos. 

So my question is.... Why are sellers not involved in their real estate photography? 

Sellers are either unaware they can be involved, or are too scared as they may offend the agent or the photographer.  They are working for you.  You must be involved to ensure you are satisfied with each step of your sales campaign.
NOW it is different if you are not paying for photography or advertising, then you are most likely going to get a "happy snap" of your home, that will be OK

Here is a great analogy for sellers to consider - Selling the Car..........

We prepare the car for sale by washing, vacuuming, polishing, servicing and putting a nice smelly in the car.  We take a few pictures and  select the best ones to put on the net.  We pay a fee for the Internet advertising and possibly advertise in the newspaper.  Lets say for a  4-6 week sales campaign you have invested $350 in your car presale makeover, photos and advertising.  Your car is worth $20,000 you listed it for that and you get $19,500 (everyone wants a bargain!!).   Now lets look at the figures.................... 

WHAT'S your investment in selling your car  1.8% of the sales value of the car.

It is generally recommended that sellers consider a minimum budget of 1% to invest in your presale makeover (e.g. car cleaning, polishing, servicing) plus advertising and photography (of course not everyone has the money or needs to invest that much).  For example - 1% of $400,000 = $4,000 you want to ensure you invest it in the right areas for your presale makeover, photography and advertising. 

Get this... we seem more comfortable investing large sums in selling our car which is a depreciating asset - reduces value as soon as you drive out the car yard.
Investing in our biggest asset which is an appreciating asset - increases value over time, our home - to maximise the sales price.  Plus we can in some cases, add value through our presale makeovers.


Property Presentation and your real estate photograhy are key to getting buyers through the door and getting them to fall in love with your property.  It all starts with the First Impresssion.   Remember, in this market buyers have lots of properties to choose from and they will prioritise which properties they want to see first based on the presentation and the photos on the internet. 

Investing in your presale makeover will benefit your promotion (advertising/photography) and will benefit your sale price.  You generally can't increase the value of a car but you can a property!

DON'T risk it! - get involved from the start or get Spruce Ups to be involved for you. 

Written by
Sandy Anderson
Spruce Ups by Sandy

Monday, 20 June 2011

5 Tips to Give your Bathroom an Instant Facelift

Bathrooms are an area that can easily date and become tired.  However there are things that you can do to your bathroom and give it an instant Facelift.

1. Update tapware. 

New stylish tapware can instantly give your bathroom a modern vibe.  There is a large range of tapware on the market from the cheapest end at Bunnings through to stylish new squarish modern styles.  Just remember to ensure what you buy will fit your existing sink and plumbing. 

TIP:  Take photos of the current tapware and under the vanity to take to your plumbing store so they can help you.

2. Re-grout / Clean Grout

Updating tiles in a bathroom can be costly.  A cost effective way to give your bathroom a fresh look is by professionally cleaning the grout or re-grouting.  This option can give you bathroom a fresh new look.

TIP:  Do not use harsh cleaners or bleaches in your showers/bath areas as they breakdown the silicones and do damage to the grout. 

3.  Paint

Updating the colour of the walls in your bathroom will give it a fresh new look.  Be colour confident and go for colours with slight hues that will highlight the features of your bathroom. 

TIP: Never paint dark colours in a small bathroom - light and bright colours always gives a fresh and clean look.

4.  Accessory Update

Changing the colour of your towels and your matching accessories is another way to change the look of your bathroom.  It also provides a way to bring in colour rather than through your tiles and painting. 

TIP: To keep your towels absorbent don't use fabric softener.  Dry under cover and they will always stay soft.  On darker towels use wool wash which is generally bleach free and it will maintain it's colour.

5, Create a new Environment

Bathrooms are a place of peach and time out, why not use the simple nic nacs and can impress your guest when they use your bathroom.  Add in pamper style items such as lotions, bath gels, soaps and coordinated flannels.  Add a bath holder to hold these items and fresh flowers or a plant.

TIP:  Minimise mould by ensuring you have air flow and light in the bathroom.  After showering leave doors open to allow bathrooms to fully dry and air, when possible.


Sunday, 5 June 2011

Spruce Up News June 2011

I have recently published my Client Newsletter.  I am running a Refer a Friend Campaign and all are welcome.

Please refer to my latest newsletter

Thank you


Thursday, 2 June 2011

Presale Makeover Currambine Completed

I so just love it when I get to see my finished properties!!.

I worked so hard with this makeover and it was a big makeover with some real challenges which I just love.  But it is a very long process and is another great example of the Spruce Up Ultimate Presale Makeover package.

Little bit about the property.....it has been rented for nearly 7 years.  It was badly managed by a local real estate company in Currambine and I was just amazed that they thought the condition of the property was OK.  The client lived overseas and was not aware at all of any issues.  They had been advised it was in good condition.

Spa Area Before Makeover
 The Spa area is an example over grown, broken tiles on the BBQ area, rusted and broken BBQ, cracks and stains on the perspex fence, stains on paving etc.
Spa Area After Makeover
What a different a makeover can make to the area.

How does the process work with the Ultimate Presale Makeover.

I start with a presales makeover assessment and detailed report. During the property visit I take indepth notes, and lots of photos of all problem areas, rooms, back areas, model numbers, equipment.  This proeprty I look over 135 photos - these enalbe me to show damage, repairs required, problems, general room photos etc to the client and also refer back to for clarification.

I provide a very honest and independent view of the property.  This then unfortunately reflects on the property manager who have not done their jobs, as the property was in poor condition. 

The report is indepth and very detailed and discuss the outcomes wit the client and agree an action plan for the way forward.

In the report I provide for a range of options of any major repairs and maintenance or minor renovations or replacements that need to be completed. 

The quoting process commences prior to the departure of the tenant and recommend my clients to not extend or renew the lease as it is much easier and more conveneint to makeover and style the property without the tenat and can be completed in a shorter time period.  

I start the process of gathering estimates and quotes and collate the information and compile for the client to review and work out what is going to be completed and what is not to be done.  Generally it is budget that restricts some of the items being done, but also the category of "nice to have but not necessary". 

As part of my service I do the entire design/styling of the property which includes areas such as floor coverings, window treatments, paint colours, kitchen and bathroom changes along with garden design etc.  I personally oversee all steps.

I have experienced times where the clients have a set idea on what would be good for the presale makeover, when it fact it will add no value and they are unlikely to get their money back.   I have to convince them NOT TO SPEND MONEY... What?  Yep I do that so I can ensure that their presale makeover and property styling budget is spent wisely and there is money in the kitty for the things that do matter.

So Spruce Ups by Sandy has swung into action and things are all go once the tenant vacates.

We start the implementation and each trade and service has been engaged and is aware of the date they are to complete the work and the importance of them turning up when required.  Every service is planned based on the work they need to undertaken and one slip can delay others

The work is completed, services and trades are paid, then we start the styling and staging of the property.  The fun bit!  It's a blank canvas.

I install the hire furniture, style it up with the furniture and furnishings and I transform this property from a very unattractive property into an amazing well presented home!

It looks just amazing and each time my clients are happy and just amazed at how wonderful their home can look.  I can also do this for existing and new home owners, it is not expensive.  Currambine is no different, it is a beautiful home, great layout, great feel and great entertaining area and will sell fast!!
Living Area Before Makeover
Very cluttered with the tenants items and it would just not be suitable to leave the tenants in and try and sell it.  It would significnatly discount the value of the property.

Living Area After Makeover
 For more before and after photos visit my gallery click here

A little bit about the styling...paint colour selected is Dulux Sandy Day Half.  Blinds and carpets supplied by Spruce Ups by Sandy. Blinds Chino and carpet Coffee colour.  It all blends well and modernises the home instantly.

The stats on the makeover to show you that presale makeovers work.  Post presale makeover the property will list in the low $600,000.  Prior to any presale makeover it would have most likely listed in the low $500,000 possibly below.

Investment return for the client = up to 2 times their investment.


Saturday, 14 May 2011

Currambine Makeover - Progress Report 1

My current project is an ex-rental property in Currambine and progress is going well, on budget and on time....you can view the .Currambine Presale Makeover on my website.

The property is an ex-rental that has been poorly managed by the property managers and there has been substantial amount of work to bring the property even to just a reasonable state for sale.  The property has some great features and is on a good size block on a quiet street.  It has large multiple living areas which can be used as either a parents retreat or kids games/TV room.  There is a real demand in todays buyers market for split living areas/retreats.

The bathrooms are slightly dated, but are very clean and are in great condition.  It really wasn't worth the extra money to update the bathrooms in this market and given the needs in other areas due to the poor management of the property.  The budget just didn't stretch that far, but there are things that can be done to minimise the bathrooms being slightly dated.  Painting, update tapware, accessories, blinds and styling.

The backyard is coming up a treat.  It was very plain, no shade, bare patches of garden mixed with overgrown patches of garden, chipped tyles, badly placed shed, rusted BBQ etc.  Overall it was really unappealing.  The feature of the backyard is the spa area, therefore it is important to ensure this is maximised so that it becomes the key feature in the backyard and buyers attention is taken straight to the spa and BBQ areas followed by the garden.

The front entrance has a little courtyard and the owner wanted to put in a water feature.  Very keen to do this as the owner wanted the front courtyard to be very appealing.  Totally agree about making the courtyard appealing.

However, the cost of buying a water feature that would be suitable for the area, the electrical work and plants saw a budget set at around $1200.  I managed to talk the owner out of the water feature idea and invest in styling with large pots and appropriate plants. 

This area is still to be completed, but watch this space.

The water feature would not be a good return on their investment, therefore I can't stress enough be mindful of what you spend your Spruce Up budget on. 

There are so many cost effective areas that sellers can spend money on that will help modernise the home such as tapware, blinds, flooring, tiles, sinks, door handles, lighting etc.

Activities for this week, new blinds, carpets, front yard, lighting, kitchen etc.... So keep posted there is much more to come.

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Furnishing for Sale

One of the biggest challenges facing sellers these days, especially those with vacant properties is how to cost effectively furnish the home ready for sale.  It is a known fact that vacant properties can generally take much longer to sell and possibly at a discount.  This generally comes about because buyers can't visualise the room sizes and see the potential the property has. 

Not all sellers have the ability to visualise their furniture in the property or the potential of the property, therefore styling a property is about enabling the visual ability of the seller.  Styling a property for sale is not cheating the seller, you are simply helping them to see the property potential through the use of accessories.

Hire furniture is generally high quality modern style furniture and accessories that is targeted at the large modern home, developer and renovated homes.  In many cases, I have clients that are interested, but I know the furniture will look out of place in their home.   So this can leave the seller with few options to help them style their homes successfully for sale. 

Clients are surprised when I discuss the cost of styling their home with hire furniture.  It is not a cheap exercise, but the benefits pay off when you go to sell.  So it comes down to the cost/benefit analysis of investing in hire furniture to style your property.

Average time to sell a property is somewhere between 70-90 days so that is essentially 3 months of hire costs that you need to recover from the sale price.  This is generally not a problem as it is a good investment, but not everyone has the budget to hire furniture for 3 months.


I believe there are alternatives for sellers to mix and match with purchased and hire furniture options.  In some cases it is much cheaper to hire certain items and purchase others. Oh I hear you say "what do I do with the purchased items".  I'll deal with that later.  The reason I suggest purchased items, is that it presents a cost effective solution to styling and furnishing your home ready for sale.  There are a range of well prices furniture shops such as Ikea, Furniture Spot, Fantastic Furniture etc.  Each one presents different cost options and price ranges.

NOW you don't have to style the whole house, you just need to style the main areas, such as Master Bedroom, Living and Dining.   In addition to these areas, you can consider an additional bedroom and the lounge/theatre area set up as a second living / kids retreat.  AND if you can the alfresco/pergola area.

I heard you earlier "what do I do with it once I sell the property"   You can sell it with the house, or you could place an advert on Gumtree and sell all items as a package for half price.  You will still have cost effectively furnished your home for sale.

I have a client with a small 44 x 2, that may not sell straight away and therefore the cost of hiring furniture was going to really push their budget over.  Essentially , the hire options would be up around  $2000 per month to rent furniture plus one off costs.  They chose to purchase a range of items with my help, and my final styling for photos and home open.  They invested nearly $$2000.  If they sell the excess items on Gumtree as a package and recover 50% of their initial investment, they will have only invested $1000 for the sale period.  Great options for those on a tight budget.

However, word of caution, this may not work for all properties and can be dependent upon the Sales Campaign.  If you are going to auction, then it maybe worth investing in hire furniture to ensure you have maximise WOW factor for the property.

THE KEY to successfully styling with cheaper ranges of furniture, is ensuring you select items that aren't cheap looking or tacky.  Always keep the colours of the furniture similar and plain, something that would easily be sold on afterwards.

Accessories are another difficult area, as these cover items such as plants, fake flowers, artwork, vases, bowels, table runners, lamps, cushions, rugs etc.  These items are just as important as the furniture itself and can really help add the WOW factor in the room.

Watch my web gallery for the after photos of this property.

Written by Sandy Anderson

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

To Feature Wall or Not to Feature Wall?

This is the biggest question when it comes to painting homes these days.

Are features walls still in fashion or are they out of fashion?  To be honest I love a good feature wall as long as it is on the "right" wall in the right room with the right colour. There are too many feature walls on the wrong wall, in the wrong room in the wrong colour.

So which is the right wall?  Well there are many factors to consider when deciding on which wall can be used as a feature wall.  The first thing you should ask yourself is WHY do I want a feature wall?  Consider this - Is it because you think you should have one?  Is it because you want to add colour / texture to your house?  Of it is because you think it is fashionable to have one and therefore I must have one in my house?   If it is because you think you should have one because your friends have one and say that you should have one, then maybe you shouldn't?  Once you have worked out the WHY, then you can explore WHICH wall as you may not have a suitable wall.
WHICH wall should I use as a feature wall and in which room?  Not all rooms require a feature wall. 

I did a feature wall in my living area, not on the big plain wall, but on the wall surrounding my very large windows - the wall is essentially 80% windows / sliding door.  My WHY - I saw the windows as a piece of artwork looking onto my garden and I wanted to frame it like you would do with any artwork.  In addition, the blinds where white and I felt it was sterile and lacked warmth.  If I had chosen the big plain wall opposite the windows, it wouldn't have made the room too small.

You will need to consider the size of the room, window location, number of windows, window furnishings,  artwork to be used in room or on wall and furniture that is in and near the feature wall.  All of these factors can can impact how your feature wall will look.  If there are heavy curtains or coloured blinds, it might not be suitable to do a feature wall as these items will bring in colour and texture.  Furniture size and colour can also impact negatively on a feature wall.
The most common areas for feature walls are Living/Lounge and master bedrooms. Now WHAT colour do you put on your feature wall.
WHAT colour should you choose?  Not all feature walls need to be bright colours and take up more than one wall.  A subtle colour can be more effective in the styling of your home.  It comes down to what you want to create with your feature wall and will it give you the style you are looking for.  Unless you have the time and money and an ultra modern property, I would stay clear of fashion fad colours and textured paint, as these can easily date and you might be re-painting in 12 months.  

Some recent feature walls I have completed have been subtle with only a shade or two darker than the  main wall colour,  through to beautiful greens to break up the "neutral" overall look of the property.  I call it the builder look "neutralising tones", beige tiles, cupboards, walls, doors etc.  Therefore no personality in the room whatsoever and all you can see is beige and cream..... eeeek. 

How best to test that your chosen colour will suit your feature wall.  Pick more than one, as the hue of the colour will be different once you get it home.  I recommend that you get tester pots of a range of colours and paint them onto an A4 sheet of paper and blutac them on your chosen wall in at least 2 positions.  Leave them there for a week so you can live wit the colour on the wall.  This enables you to view the colour during the day and night.  I personally don't like textured paints as feature walls as they are very difficult to remove and paint over.

With my chosen feature wall I think I went through 5 colours before I found my colour.  I felt I had lost my colour mojo, or maybe I was just being extra fussy.  But I love it now as much as I did the day I painted it.
The feature is very subtle but creates the frame and warmth I wanted in the area.

Here is a picture of partof the wall

If you are unsure of your colour and want to maximise the colour in your home, I would recomend a colour expert to help.