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How to show a property in its best light

publication date: Oct 21, 2007
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It is a challenging world out there – landlords wanting high rents, tenants with a great deal of choice, brand new properties that are bland and difficult to let, middle of the road properties that are, well, middle of the road and difficult to let, old characterful properties that are costly to run and difficult to let … just how do you make them all work?

Knowing your market is one thing, presenting properties in their best light is another. So, here you are with a wonderful landlord, an amazing home, but ever so slightly concerned about who, exactly, will be able to see that this could be the home of their dreams.

Savills in Sevenoaks, Kent have one such property. For anyone seeking to live in the splendid grandeur of days gone by, Seal Chase is the home for them – but will they be able to see themselves actually living there? This splendiferous 7 bedroom, 4 bathroom 1930s Palladian style country house is set in rolling grounds with views across the North Downs and it provides modern living in magnificent and elegant surroundings.

Theresa Wallace, Director of Residential Lettings for Savills Southern Region commented “This is the ideal home for those who love entertaining and typical of many properties in our portfolio. It has been tenanted for the last year by an American family who just loved the space and beauty of this very English country home. With its fine triple aspect drawing room with oak flooring and stone fireplace - ideal for serving mulled wine to guests in the winter - and the gloriously bright summer room being just perfect for Pimms on the lawns in the summer, we would normally expect a corporate executive to secure the property, or quite simply a family that loves entertaining.”

“Once the current tenants moved out at the beginning of the autumn, we needed to present the property in a way that would delight viewers on a chilly autumn day. You have to bear in mind this is the sort of property that, as you approach it via the long driveway, flanked by mature coniferous trees, you get the feeling that you are about to experience a classic ‘Gosford Park’ weekend. To be honest, to show the house empty of furniture would be criminal.” said Theresa.

“We called upon the services of Fully Furnished, who specialise in home furnishings and interior design.”

Fully Furnished ’Imagineering’ Interiors Steve Russell, Managing Director, Fully Furnished, was delighted to help:

“We see many properties available for let or sale, which, in principal may be quite lovely or even outstanding but unfortunately there is a general lack of imagination in the public, so even the best of properties need to ‘sell’ themselves. In today’s market particularly, prospective purchasers and tenants actually expect the vendor/landlord to have made a real effort to market the property.

The Walt Disney Corporation coined the phrase ‘Imagineers’ for the people designing and building the theme park rides, and I really believe that this is exactly what we do….creating a look or feel that is right for both the property and its potential occupant.”

So, having visited Seal Chase (and spent a while just gazing at the wonderful views, the grounds, the sheep…) Fully Furnished ‘dressed’ what are seen as the critical rooms; the spaces that really make a difference to the viewer and that, in the main, they can struggle to imagine how they will work. The kitchen and master bathroom in this house are very attractive – key points when marketing as we all know, but the unadorned drawing room, dining room and master bedroom were not making the house ‘sing’.

Theresa Wallace was delighted: “Thanks to the expertise of Fully Furnished staff we are now able to show Seal Chase in all its splendid grandeur - and all within a couple of days from our request!”

From time to time many agents have apartments and houses that benefit from being “dressed” prior to showing and Fully Furnished are very experienced in getting the balance right; they can provide as little or as much as is required.

“By simply placing a few complementing pieces of furniture and pictures with some subtle lighting, a property can be transformed from a house to a home creating an atmosphere that prospective tenants feel they would like to enjoy.” said Steve. “We were delighted to assist Savills with the ‘Staging’ of this impressive property and we are confident that a positive result will be achieved very soon.”

Gone are the days when simply placing a For Sale/To Let board outside with an advert in the local press will result in a deal, properties now need to compete in a very tough market, often against many similar properties. If you want to go the ‘extra mile’ for your clients, this could be a great route!