Photos: Animal Real Estate Photobombers

 

An important part of real estate photography is the ability to showcase a property in it’s setting and portray the lifestyle it affords to a potential buyer. Often while our photographers are busy at work capturing this, they get some curious bystanders coming in for a closer look! Here are some of our favourite animal photobombers we’ve captured while out on the job….

On the hunt for a new home? View more property photos on our website (even ones without photobombing animals!): www.open2view.com

You can also keep up date date with our latest news, featured properties and giveaways on Facebook:

Open2view New Zealand Facebook Page

Open2view Australia Facebook Page

Preparing your home for photography…

titlepic

Your home is one of your most valuable assets. When the time comes to sell, the way you present and market your property plays a big part in attracting potential buyers and gaining the best possible sale price.

Having professional photography taken is often the first step in the marketing process. Even if you don’t have the budget to renovate before selling, there are many things you can do to help present your home in the best possible way, ready for photography and you will also have it looking shipshape for your open home viewings.

Here are some tips….

General

general

  • De-clutter the home
  • Clean the windows
  • Ensure all lights are working and are the same colour and type
  • Hide electrical cords as best as possible
  • Ensure all doors and windows can be opened and keys are available
  • Mow lawns (at least 3 days prior), weed gardens, add fresh mulch if possible

 

Bathroom

bathroom

  • Clean shower screens, basins and mirrors
  • Remove personal items, bottles and hanging items from shower and basin
  • Remove mats, scales, waste and linen baskets
  • Ensure toilet rolls are tidy and toilet seats are down
  • Co-ordinate the colour of towels and fold neatly

 

Living Areas

living

  • Remove unnecessary furniture and clutter
  • Clear tables of remotes and magazines. Tidy bookshelves.
  • Ensure curtains are hooked up and properly open
  • Remove sheer curtains altogether if possible
  • Add colour – for example flowers, cushions, throws
  • Remove heaters, fans and dehumidifiers

 

Garden and street front

garden

  • Remove toys out of sight
  • Remove pet related items and droppings
  • Keep cars out of sight
  • Remove laundry from washing lines
  • Hide rubbish bins
  • Water blast decks if necessary
  • Trim trees to enhance the views

 

Kitchen

kitchen

  • Tidy kitchen and clear bench tops
  • Remove dishes and drying racks from sinks
  • Remove tea towels, mats and remove fridge magnets etc..
  • Remove rubbish bins, pet bowls and litter trays

 

Bedrooms

bedroom

  • Make beds and turn on lamps
  • Clear items from bedside & dressing tables
  • Remove clutter and clear area underneath beds

 

Swimming pools

pool

  • Clean the pool. Remove pool cover
  • Remove pool cleaner and cleaning equipment
  • Remove pool toys etc.

 

Seek advice from your Real Estate professional as they may have some other suggestions specific to your property. Remember, your property will be photographed as presented, so neat and tidy presentation is essential to maximise the impact of your images. This holds true whether your potential buyer is viewing them on the internet or in a print magazine.

To view examples of how professional photography can enhance your property marketing, check out our services page or follow our facebook pages for our property for the week and other home inspiration ideas…

Facebook.com/Open2viewNZ

Facebook.com/Open2viewAustralia

NZ Property: Summer sales keep rolling on……

O2V ID#335063

O2V ID#335063

Ahhh Summer… it’s been a good one so far. You can tell from all the glorious Summer scenes and vistas our Photographers have been capturing around the country…

Seriously…take a look at these…..

The good summer weather has been great for the sunbathing, but it’s done nothing to cool the heated housing market, particularly in Auckland.

Recent figures from REINZ show that the number of dwellings sold in January (4,841) was up 2.6% on January 2014 with the National median price of $426,000, up $24,000 from the same time in 2014. The national median price rose 6.0% in the 12 months to January 2015, while Auckland’s median price increased by 16.0%

“The continuing strong performance of Auckland prices is vexing commentators and policy makers alike, however the root cause of the problem remains a shortage of property available for sale” says Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (REINZ) Chief Executive Helen O’Sullivan.

REINZ data shows that Auckland’s median price increased by 16% over the past 12 months, compared to just 1.8% for the rest of the country.

Backing that up are the latest figures from Barfoot & Thompson, where the all-time high pre-Christmas values held throughout January, with the average selling price of $757,319, was only $1572, or 0.2 percent lower than December’s all-time high price.

January sales figures of 859 properties is inline with the previous January figures over the past two years, however the total value of sales in January of $650,537,392 is up $97,822,014 from the same time in 2014.

For full market reports including regional & rural statistics, visit the REINZ website.

Now, if we could just get back to working on that tan…..

O2V ID#333884

O2V ID#333884

 

Astrophotography: Capturing the Sky…

IMG_7190
The right angle. The best light. When it comes to property marketing, our photographers know exactly how to present every home at it’s best. But for many, the passion for photography doesn’t just end with real estate.

As well well as producing stunning property images for his agents, Open2view photographer Matthew Lowe also has a keen interest in Astrophotography.

We asked Matt to tell us a bit about the region he covers and what Astrophotography is all about.

IMG_7508
Q. How long have you been a photographer with Open2view?

I started with Open2view in December 2010, so it’s almost my 4th Birthday! Do I get a cake, or is that next year?

Q. What area in New Zealand do you cover? What do you like most about it?

I cover the Eastern Bay of Plenty – the sunshine capital of NZ and home to NZ’s beach best – Ohope Beach.  It is a large area to cover, from Matata / Kawerau down to Whakatane / Ohope and right up the coast to the East Cape. I like the diversity in the area – you can go from photographing a little 1 bedroom converted garage to a bare block of land with 100km views all the way to Mt Maunganui, then to a million dollar beach front home or a farm all within 30 minutes drive.

A lot of my photo shoots consist of rural or coastal properties, which isn’t a bad thing given the stunning locations we have right on our doorstep.

IMG_8593

Q. How did you get started in real estate photography?

Photography has always been a hobby of mine since I was about 10 years old, when I got into astrophotography.  Career-wise I started out as a graphic designer for a newspaper in 2004 and progressed from there over the next 8 years.  Sitting in front of a computer in an office where you couldn’t see outside for 40 hours a week was starting to do my head in, and the opportunity to purchase the Open2view franchise in my area came up.  After a few enquiries and discussions I decided to make the jump into real estate photography.  Even though I still spend half of my time at a desk processing photos, emails, invoicing etc, being able to combine my hobby with work is far more satisfying.  I can’t imagine there are many jobs where you can spend 40 hours a week working, and then on your days off go and take photos just for fun!

IMG_2070


Q. Tell us about Astrophotography…

I think every photographer needs a ‘personal project’ that they work on for no reason other than to provide a creative outlet and a bit of fun, so I try to focus on astrophotography in my spare time.

Astrophotography basically covers anything in the sky – the stars, moon, milky way, satellites, the sun, planets etc etc.  There are many different styles of astrophotography such as shooting star trails, where you leave the shutter open for a period of time (anything from 10 minutes to 8 hours) so the camera captures the movement of the stars; or you can shoot through a telescope to capture deep-sky objects such as distant galaxies and gas clouds which aren’t visible to the naked eye.

An interesting thing is some cameras can pick up parts of the spectrum which are invisible to the naked eye (ie UV light), so you can often pick up detail which you could never see with the naked eye or through a telescope.

Oct24-2014

I have recently had the opportunity to use some of the equipment at the Whakatane Astronomical Society where they have a solar telescope which allows you to safely view the sun without burning your eyeballs out (literally, don’t try this at home!)  It is fitted with special filters to separate certain light wavelengths so you can actually see the detail and explosions happening on the surface of the sun, and when you attach a camera you can get some pretty cool shots.

IMG_2021

When I started out with astrophotography I was using a film camera, before I went away from it for a few years while I focused on my graphic design.  Now everything is digital I have to re-learn all the techniques as they are slightly different.  For example digital camera sensors are more prone to image noise or batteries running out on really long exposures, but the advantage is you can immediately see the result and whether you’re on the right track or not.

IMG_7148

You can view Matthew’s real estate photography portfolio on the Open2view website here

Or follow his Facebook page here

All in a day’s work..

profilepicIt’s not everyday that you get to dangle 35 meters in the air from a crane. But for Open2view photographer Grant Drummond, it’s just another day at the office.

Grant covers the busy Auckland central area, but took some time out to do a little bit of a Q & A for us, about some of the challenges and highlights of the job, as well as sharing some pics from his recent travels…

Q. How did you get started in real estate photography? | What was your career path?

Before this I managed an apartment building. I was looking for a business and this looked ideal. My technical knowledge of photography was limited but I was confident I had an eye for composition.

Q. Shooting properties in central Auckland must have it’s challenges, but what do you enjoy most about it?

There’s so much variety. St Heliers mansions to shoebox apartments and everything in between. Sometimes I get more satisfaction from making a mediocre place look good than making a beautiful house look great.

Q. What’s the most challenging shoot / photo of a property you’ve had to take?

I was hoisted by a crane to take some ‘view’ shots for a ‘to-be-built’ apartment building. I had to use the camera one-handed at 35m as I wasn’t letting go of the ‘basket’.

crane

apartment

Q. (Apart from your camera) what piece of technology could you not live without when you’re working.
iPad!

Q. In your opinion, what makes a good real estate picture stand out from the rest?
Excellent use of lighting (though I look at the Property Press a bit differently than the average reader).

Apart from real-estate… what other types of photography do you enjoy?
Travel photography, random scenes from the street (though I mostly use my i-phone for these).

You’ve recently been travelling. Where to? What was the highlight?
Brazil. Getting to some World Cup games. Some of the street parties were pretty good too.

(click image for fullscreen)

Finally, (very important question)….who’s your favourite to win the 2014 FIFA World Cup?

When I read the question yesterday I was going to say Argentina. After (the first semi-final) it’s hard to look past Germany.

 (click image for fullscreen)

Cheers Grant! Guess we’ll find out on Monday who’s going to take it out.

Follow this link to view Grant’s portfolio and get in touch about the Open2view services available.

Are there times when just one photo is a good idea?

cluttered bedroom

One can’t help but wonder if some vendors deliberately sabotage the home selling process.

We reckon having plenty of high quality photos is crucial to presenting your home at its best. But this article from Inman.com made us ask, is this true of every home?

I may be wrong about this, but there are times when having just one photo in the MLS listing may actually be in the client’s best interest.

I saw a house almost three months ago that had just come on the market. My relocating client from Maryland was very interested because the solo photo — of the front — was very attractive and the home was in an area that she liked.

Ok, so far so good. But what happened when Jeff the Author got to the house?

The listing agent was showing the home, per the seller’s instructions, and asked us to wait until the other party was done. No problem.

Very shortly after, no more than one minute — LITERALLY — the other party came back out. We knew immediately something was amiss.

Uh oh.

We walked into the house and it was immediately clear why there were no other photos taken. It looked like a war zone, with stuff piled everywhere in the kitchen, dining room, enclosed back porch and living room. Carpet was being pulled up in all the main rooms and, per the agent, was being replaced by the seller. We couldn’t see two of the three bedrooms, “because someone was sleeping in there” and the doors were locked. We may have spent two minutes in the house, max.

It was, in my client’s words, a total waste of time. She wryly commented that it was clear why there were no other photos online.

Perhaps it was that there was only one good photo that could possibly be listed!

I suspect this agent felt one photo was in her client’s best interest, since the front looked quite nice and it got people interested in touring the house. She probably figured someone would, perhaps, see the potential and overlook the disaster area once they were at the house and saw the neighborhood.

Well, according to Jeff, the house is still on the market – and in a sellers’ market, at that – two months after it was listed.

So was this a case of the fewer the photos, the better? That old saying “you can lead a horse to water, but you cannot force it to drink” comes to mind. A decent house photo may pique a buyer’s curiosity enough to lure them in – but if the rest of the place is a shambles, good luck filling them with any enthusiasm. More likely, the buyer will be furious at the agent for wasting their precious time.

Buyers want to see themselves in the house, with their stuff in place of the vendor’s. If they can’t see anything but clutter, the buyer will be unable to declutter their mind long enough to envisage the house as their home.

So, agents and vendors of the world, there is really only one thing to do: get the place tidy, then get plenty of professional photos taken. Whoops, two things.

It can be hard to remove old possessions that hold happy memories, or even those-things-that-have-never-been-used-in-ten-years-but-you-never-know-when-they-might-just-come-in-handy.

In an earlier blog post on this topic we provided some ideas for overcoming that mental hurdle and clearing away the physical one. They are:

  1. Note all the things you plan to absolutely keep – furniture, antiques, children, etc.
  2. Divide the rest of your stuff into three piles: ‘Yes’, ‘No’, and ‘Maybe’.
  3. Throw out everything in the ‘No’ pile.
  4. Throw out everything in the ‘Maybe’ pile.

Is it worth just hiding it all in a closet? Not really – storage space in itself is a great selling point, so if you’ve got it, flaunt it.

Back to the original question: is having plenty of photos important? Assuming you’ve been good and tidied your room, then definitely.

Real estate is aspirational: people generally sell a house, then buy another, to improve their quality of life. As a vendor, you want people to look at your listing and see that buying your house will do this for them.

So help them see themselves in any room of the house by displaying photos of every room. You don’t need 20 shots of every room – an excessive number of photos will bore the viewer – but you need enough to get people thinking “you know, I can see myself living there – better call the agent and arrange a viewing time.”

So what next? If you’re unsure how many photos you need, head to the Open2view website and (as a rough guide) see how many photos houses similar to yours have listed. Then make sure your agent knows to contact us for the best real estate photos on the internet. We offer packages including photo tours of many sizes – your agent should be able to help you pick one. Finally, check out what else, of our vast range of services, can help you showcase your home at its best.

But in saying all that, if your house has features like this, no amount of photos will help.

living room with toilet

Photos: The changing face of a City….

I’m a born and bred Aucklander (but don’t hold that against me!). I’ve travelled a bit overseas and visited many places in New Zealand, but it was 2010 before I managed to make my way to Christchurch. I had a fantastic time. A fun long weekend in the city. Now, my only wish being that my visit was longer. I consider myself lucky, even though it was all too brief, that I got to see and experience Christchurch pre-earthquake.

Like so many others around the country, I sat watching with a feeling of total helplessness and disbelief at the images that were broadcast out to us three years ago. I couldn’t for the life of me see how the city would ever recover….but I’m sure glad it is.

As we approached the anniversary of the February Earthquake that caused so much destruction, we wanted to be able to reflect and commemorate in a positive way.

Taking some inspiration from the ‘Day in the Life’ post we did last year, I asked our team of Christchurch photographers if they would send in photos of their favourite places, buildings and views, new or old, from around the city.

Now we would like to share them with you:

“The stark contrast between the demolition and the new and novel use of resources to start the rebuild of Christchurch is very dramatic.” Paul Willets, Open2View Christchurch South

It’s truly amazing to see the creativity, colour and art in what is emerging and taking shape from the expanse of area that has been demolished within the city.

Christchurch, I can’t wait to visit you again soon….

A very big thank you to our Open2view photographers in Christchurch for their time.