A Picture Paints a Thousand Words

Private Property South Africa
Lea Jacobs

If the adage “seeing is believing” holds any water then some properties that are advertised on the Internet are never going to sell. Blurry pictures, untidy rooms and scruffy gardens add no value. In fact it has the complete opposite effect, they lower the value.

The real estate profession has in recent times gone all out to improve the educational standards of estate agents and generally speaking buyers and sellers get their money’s worth. However, unfortunately there are still agents out there who, to put it quite bluntly, are not doing their jobs properly. The fact that these types of agents are still able to sell speaks volumes about the South African buying and selling public and one has to wonder if the fact that no money is put on the table until the property has been sold is one of the main reasons that ‘bad’ agents are still out there.

While it may be initially difficult to know what sort of agent you have employed, it should become apparent fairly soon if the person you have chosen to sell your home is actually up to the task. Homeowners need to keep tabs on how their property is being marketed and these days it is far easier and becomes apparent far quicker who should and who should not be allowed to handle the sale of their prized possession.

The right photographs sell homes, the wrong ones don’t. Buyers are often unforgiving and if the photographs that have been uploaded onto the Internet portray a property in a bad light, they are going to move on until they find something more appealing. A good agent knows this and will advise the seller how best to improve the situation. Sometimes it is a simple task of tidying up and removing the clutter. Other times it is a little more drastic and could include repainting the walls and generally fixing up a sad looking property. Regardless, a good agent will be frank about what needs to be done. Every situation is different and although there are genuine ‘renovators dreams’ out there, it is a buyer’s market and in this situation unless the price is a ‘bank managers dream’ the property is not going to sell.

Real estate agencies have a flood of properties on their books and every seller wants the same thing – the best possible price. Advertising a property that is not ship-shape or at least doesn’t look good in the pictures is not going to help any seller to sell their home. For this reason sellers need to start thinking like a buyer and look at any photographs that are on the web with a far more critical eye and if they are unhappy with what they see, call the agent back to rectify the situation.

While we can’t and certainly don’t expect agents to be photographic geniuses, they should be experienced enough to see which photographs are going to promote the property and which ones aren’t. When people live in a situation it is often more difficult to see faults – that is until they see photographic evidence. For this reason any seller who is serious about selling his property needs to double check what the rest of the world is seeing and if they don’t like what they see, amend the problems and ask the agent to come back and retake the pictures.

Different types of property appeal to different people and although you may think that because the property is on the market at a lower price and you might not have to be as fussy as those selling a R5m home, think again. Buyers have budgets and more importantly have choices – sellers need to start thinking from a buyer’s perspective and adopt a buyer’s stance. Look at the pictures and ask yourself, “would I buy this home?” If the answer is no, then perhaps the time has come to rethink the entire selling process and if the person you have employed to do the job isn’t doing the job correctly, move on to someone who can.

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