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27Jun



·         We experience the world primarily through vision – think of how powerful blindness is as a metaphor, and that shows you the potential power of visual representation. Also think of how fundamental it is, in having an idea of people, to have an idea of what they look like.

·         It’s the same with property, and that old cliché about the importance of first impressions is a tangible reality in presenting property for sale. 

·         In property marketing, the first impression is a photograph.

 

·         Getting photography right for property is a subtle process:

o   As people get further into their idea of any particular property, the story must always be getting better –

o   this builds confidence and makes it easier for your purchaser to make a commitment.

 

·         The typical pitfalls are in over and under promising.

o   You need only look at the main property portals to see the pitfalls of under-promising – a selection of messy rooms drowning in muddy puddles. There’s no appeal. 

o   Most agents that pay any attention to photography go the other way – Wide lens shot of the whole room, flash bounced off the ceiling – it looks like a good photograph in that you can see all the colours. However in practice the net result is a room that feels smaller and murkier than the photograph, and a lot of your time wasted with visits that are unwittingly set up to disappoint your buyers.

 

What does good photography look like?

·         In a nutshell – it looks like what you actually see, when you look at a space and see its potential.

·         However what you see and what you think you see are a bit different.

o   Good photography takes account of these adjustments

o   Your eye sees further into shadows and highlights, having a range of about ten amounts of light, or “stops” as they are called

            o   A digital camera sees around five stops, so shadows look blacker and highlights (like windows) lack detail. Therefore the photos don’t feel real.

o   Effective lighting accounts for this, and is better at conveying the feeling of the space.

·         Your mind chrystalises around various key phenomena – the light mass of the room, fittings, decorative objects

o   Other things disappear

o   The camera sees everything

o   Good styling accounts for this, so images don’t feel cluttered or busy.

 

·         There’s plenty more – using longer lens lenses, avoiding converging vertical lines, shadows of doom all present potential pitfalls. Call us if you’d like to discuss photography in detail.

 

At the marketing stage our aim is to find you the best possible buyer at the best possible price, and effectively managing expectation is one way to ensure a successful sale. 

 

For your buyer, a successful purchase means having moved in with a certain romance carefully nurtured and maintained. For your buyer, the photograph is a window into their future.

 

09Jun

ESTATE AGENTS ST ALBANS & HEMEL HEMPSTEAD

The UK wakes up today to the shock news that there is a hung parliament with no party winning the required 326 seats to form a majority. Clearly the decision to call a snap general election has backfired with the original 15 percentage point margin between the two major parties in polls materialising as just a 3-percentage point margin.

There will be a period of uncertainty as the new government forms which is never good for buyers and sellers alike. We have a good idea of what a Conservative minority government may look like for the housing sector from analysing their manifesto and previous commitments although a coalition will no doubt cause further confusion and a period of uncertainity.

At a time when instructions are scarce, fees are at an all-time low, conveyancing is taking longer than ever, and tenant fees are to be banned, the housing sector needs a government that understands the housing crisis needs to be a priority and it would be a welcome move if the government were to take sift and serious action in relation to these issues.


What should we expect from Teresa May and the Conservatives as the largest party in the House of Commons in the housing sector? 

In a recent report it was alleged that a higher percentage of homeowners thought that the Tories policies were more relevant and sympathetic to homeowners, but do sales and lettings agents working in that sector feel the same? 

Interestingly, I would be unsure how that debate would conclude, as recent changes to SDLT and proposed changes to lettings agents charging tenant fees, have been very unpopular, this coupled with high costs associated to running high street agents and maintain service levels mean that the number of agents struggling may increase.


So what should we all expect in the next four years? 

It is very unlikely that the government will amend or reverse changes to Stamp Duty, why would they? It is raising extra income for the treasury. It is also cooling the UK housing market and reducing transactions levels enabling first-time buyers to get onto the property ladder. 

The proposed tenant fee ban concluded its consultation process on the 2nd June and the outcome will be delivered shortly. All industry experts I have spoken to don't expect any change in direction. The ban has already been implemented in Scotland and Wales and so it appears a foregone conclusion. 

But the real elephant in the room is the announcement within the Tory party manifesto that they intend to hold a full housing review, with particular emphasis on the cost of moving. They intend to make it cheaper for customers. Although in the short term this may be sidelined by other priorities, at some point this pledge will be delivered.

Is there a vendetta against the sector? Or will the Conservatives be considered a party that estate agencies can rely on to produce policies for growth? 

None of us know the answer to that. All I do know is that when the housing minister is appointed they need to get a holistic view of the challenges facing the UK housing market from the agent’s perspective.

To discuss through points in relation to this matter please feel free to call 01727221290 to see how the stay effect your property value  in St Albans or Hemel Hempstead.



05Jun

Did you know Aubrey & Finn offer a bespoke Airbnb management service? Having cut our teeth in this new way of renting property over the last few years, we have quickly become super efficient at helping Airbnb hosts look after their guests and make more money. Most our clients ask us to handle the whole process of renting through Airbnb and as such all a client needs to let us know are the dates the property is available from and until - then we do the rest! 

It could be that you are going away for a few months for work or would rather the flexibility of keeping a foothold in St Albans, so that you could yourself use the property still from time to time. The reasons are varied and wide - whatever your situation Airbnb often works and is well worth exploring. 

The demand in St Albans for quality houses to rent is really high and we have every confidence you will be amazed how much you could make by even using our service for even a fortnight! 

To learn more please click the link below or call us on 01727221290 to learn more...

https://www.aubreyandfinn.co.uk/airbnb-management-st-albans--hemel-hempstead


I look forward to hearing from you soon!


Nick


31May

Pizza Night! And not a pizza in sight. Instead – good times, with appearances from our favourite photographer David Horder, designer Celia Heley, and [many others], some of whom brought guitars and created ­­­impromptu karaoke. I think the Elton John songs had the best mix of easy guitar and recognisable lyrics, and while there were some contenders, there was general agreement that Ben won the singing, reaching enthusiastically for the melody like a drunk knight lunging at a straw dog.