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Alex Stretton
Alex is the Founder of Elements Property, a UK company with a drive to help estate and letting agents market their property better, faster and with more wow factor!
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Crop sensor vs full frame: What’s best for photographing houses?

What camera (or sensor) type do you need for property photography?

If you’re a more advanced photographer, you may have come across the terms “crop sensor” and “full frame”, and the various features of each.

Choosing the best camera for property photography is a tough task, so let’s take a closer look at crop sensor vs full frame cameras.

WARNING: This blog is a little more technical than our normal content, but if you’re looking to deepen your understanding around the two different sensor types available, then you’re in the right place.

What is a sensor?

It’s the bit inside the camera where the light hits. It converts an optical image into an electronic signal; the result – a digital image.

What is a full frame sensor?

Simply put, full frame cameras use a sensor with the same dimensions of traditional 35mm film. Full frame cameras are significantly more expensive than crop sensor cameras and in all honesty, are better suited to the pros.

What is a crop sensor?

As the name alludes to, a crop sensor is a ‘cropped’ version of the full frame sensor. The most common type of crop sensor on a modern DSLR are called APS-C sensors. You can’t talk about crop sensor cameras without touching on ‘crop factor’.

What is crop factor?

A term that comes into play with crop sensor cameras is ‘crop factor’. We’ll keep this brief.

“Crop factor” is the ratio of the sensor size to 35mm / full frame. Take the provided crop factor number, multiply it with the focal length of the lens and you’ll get the equivalent focal length relative to 35mm film / full-frame.

To make things slightly interesting (complicated!), different camera manufacturers have different crop factor numbers. Canon = 1.6x, Nikon = 1.5x.

Let’s look at an example and break this down…

Say your using a Canon EOS 4000D (crop sensor) camera, and you’ve snapped on the wonderful lens that is the 10-20mm Sigma wide-angle lens, and you’re fully zoomed out to the max to the 10mm focal length to fit as much as possible in the shot – this is our scenario.

10mm (focal length) x 1.6 (crop factor on Canon) = 16mm.

In other words, on a crop sensor camera the figure you see on the lens is not correct. You have to apply the crop factor for it to be correct.

Got it? No?

Another way of summarising this is that crop sensors crop out some of the image compared to a full frame camera! Simple.

I think we can park the technicalities here.

Crop sensor vs full frame cameras

Without diving even deeper into the technical aspects, here are the most practical pros and cons of both types of sensor when considering it in the context of property photography.

Pros of full frame sensors

  • Performs better in high or low light
  • Higher quality image
  • Wider angle

Cons of full frame sensors

  • Significantly more expensive
  • Larger and more cumbersome

Pros of crop sensors

  • Much cheaper
  • More compact and portable

Cons of crop sensors

  • Some of the images is cropped out

Which sensor is best for property photography?

I’ll make this simple. The crop sensor.

If you’re worried about cropping out too much of the shot, don’t be. Just zoom out more on the internals and/or stand back a little on the externals.

You really don’t need to go out and buy an expensive full frame camera. It’s perfectly possible and easy to achieve great property photos using a crop sensor camera.

End of.

Buy a high quality wide-angle lens

Instead of splashing out loads on a full frame camera, buy a crop sensor camera and a good wide-angle lens. Lenses are essential when it comes to the overall quality of your property photographs.

As we’ve learned above, a 10mm focal length will actually work out to be 16mm. Don’t worry about this. It’s not an issue, at all. Your shots will still look sensational and fit lots it. Check out these examples all shot with a crop sensor camera and the Sigma 10-20mm wide-angle lens.

Image Enhancement

Sometimes it’s quicker, easier and cheaper to tidy up your shots after the fact rather than trying to set up the perfect lighting, framing and camera settings.

If you’re getting decent shots that just look a little dull or that could do with cleaning up, Image Enhancement is an excellent use of your time and budget.

By lifting the shadows, straightening shots, adding blue skies and removing clutter, a decent photo can be turned into an exceptional one.

Elements Property

Of course, we don’t all have the skills, time or software to work a little post-production magic on our photos. That’s where Elements Property comes in.

Our Image Enhancement service will polish your existing property photos for just a few pounds, and in as little as 3 hours. Simply send us your photos and we’ll return them at their best. You won’t have to lift a finger—or shell out for a pricey full frame camera.

Use code BLOG48 when you sign up, and we’ll give you a completely free trial of our Image Enhancement service.

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7 simple steps to photograph a house at dusk

You’ve seen those really sexy dusk photos on higher-end properties. Who says you can’t do it on any property?

Photographing a house at dusk is a brilliant way to create striking external images and, despite what you may assume, it’s actually a piece of cake.

Don’t listen to those blogs that overcomplicate things. Listen to us and you’ll get shots like these…

But, isn’t dusk photography really advanced?

Your vendors will think it is, which is why they’ll love you if you can do it, but no it’s not.

Google other blogs on ‘dusk photography’ or ‘night photography’ and they’ll have you believe that you absolutely must be an experienced professional with all the gear!

Topics that will get you scratching your head include: getting your aperture or f.stops bang on, playing around with ISO, balancing shutter speeds, metering exposures, adjusting white balance, combining multiple exposures in one, or even… using a dreaded tripod!

What are the benefits of photographing houses at night?

Houses look extremely inviting when it’s darker out but the internal lights are glowing. Using this type of photo as the main image on your listing will make it stand out from the rest of the results.

By offering dusk photography to your vendors, you’ll show that you’re willing and able to do something your competitors aren’t – bring a touch of luxury service to their regular family home! This may well be enough to help you win the instruction.

Property photos shot at dusk are different, eye-catching and enticing. They can create more interest in the property and help lead to a quicker sale.

Switch in a dusk photo as your main Rightmove image

Rightmove say the first week is VITAL for your listing. If interest is not where you (or your vendor) are expecting it to be, try switching out the main image shown on the listing.

Start with a regular image shot in the daytime, then mix it up after a week or so with a lovely glowing dusk shot to get the people going and the enquiries rolling in.

This does make a difference, with a 2–4% increase in detailed views if you change the main image (Rightmove stat).

What’s the best time to photograph a house at dusk?

We say that the perfect time is around 20 minutes after sunset, as this gives a great balance of light and atmosphere.

Obviously, the amount of light will vary depending on the time of year and amount of cloud in the sky, but 20 minutes post sunset is a good starting point.

Do I need a tripod and flash to photograph a house at dusk?

No. Just try to keep very still when taking the shot. Crouch, try to lean or support your arm against something, hold your breath and capture the shot.

We’re not massive fans of either flash or tripods here at Elements. The good news is, even when shooting low light external dusk photography, neither is needed. Hooray!

How do I photograph a house at dusk?

First, a bit of background to set the scene: The date is 27th August, sunset was 8:04 pm, and there was a fair bit of cloud in the sky—you couldn’t see the sun anywhere.

Alex was using his Canon 70D with the Sigma 10-20mm wide-angle lens. You can check out one of our other articles to learn more about the best camera and lens for property photography.

Now, you know us. We’re all about keeping thing super simple here. Here are the simple steps that Alex took when shooting this 3-bed detached house in Nottingham.

#1: Shoot 20 mins after sunset

Check when sunset is by using a website like timeanddate.com or just ask Google “when is sunset in [my city]?”

Around 20 minutes after sunset is your prime dusk shooting window. Don’t worry if it’s a bit before or after, although before is better. If you leave it too late, say 40 mins after sunset, it may be too dark.

#2: Turn on all the lights

Turn on every single internal and external light switch you can find. The more the better. By taking the shots around 20 minutes after sunset, these lights will kick out a beautiful warm glow.

#3: Set your camera to ‘flash off mode’

Spin your mode dial to ‘Flash off’ mode. This is a fully automatic shooting mode that will prevent the flash from popping up and firing.

According to our Canon EOS 70D manual, this mode is “effective for capturing the particular ambience of a scene, such as candlelight scenes.” I would add “…and dusk property photography”.

#4: Set ISO to auto

ISO is about ‘film speed’. Said another way, the darker the light levels, the higher the ISO number should be. Your camera should be more than capable of choosing the correct ISO on its own.

Find a way to set ISO to auto. If you follow our recommendations for how to set your camera up for property photography, it should be set to auto already.

#5: Focus on the house

Point your camera directly at the house and lightly press the shutter button to focus the camera on the house.

Avoid pointing the camera at the ground or the sky when focusing the shot.

#6: Keep still

Light will be low, so you’ll need to keep still to prevent camera blur.

Whenever you can, look for something to help support you. Lean on a fence, against a tree, sit down—whatever it is, just try to support your arms.

Then, take a deep breath, hold it, and take the shot.

#7: Enhance in Photoshop

Unless you get very lucky and there is a beautiful orangey-red sky present when shooting (the shepherds will be delighted!) then you’ll need to edit one in. This is where Elements Property can help with our Image Enhancement service.

You (or we) also need to teak a few other levels to get your dusk shots glowing!

Still not sure how to photograph a house at night?

These tips should help you to get started, but you may need some help when it comes to creating those perfect images to entice buyers and win instructions.

Download our Ultimate Guide to Property Photography for more advice, or take advantage of our Image Enhancement service to tweak your nighttime property photos and make sure that they give the best impression of your special property.

If you’re an agent or property photographer, use BLOG47 for a free Image Enhancement trial when you register your account.

Tips and techniques for capturing amazing property photos (Rightmove webinar)

In a tough property market, you have to be exceptional to survive. There’s no room for average.

One of the simplest and most effective things you can do to turn your average listings into exceptional listings is to focus on property photography. Get your photography right and the benefits are numerous. You’ll create wonderful first impressions, attract more enquiries and win more instructions.

Photography is a fantastic tool to visually show everyone how you do things. If your photos are exceptional, people will associate you with an exceptional service.

Capturing amazing property photos isn’t as complicated as you might expect. In this summary of Rightmove’s recent webinar, given by Elements Property’s own Alex Stretton, we’ll give you the lowdown on the most important property photography tips and techniques to get you shooting like a pro!

If you’re not already signed up to receive the incredible content Rightmove puts out for agents each week, sign up to the Rightmove Hub right now!

The impact of amazing property photos

First impressions count. It’s a cliché for a reason. Rightmove listings has just have three seconds to make the right first impression. Don’t forget that this is also when people will make their first impression of your company or brand, so make sure it’s a good one!

One of the first things that potential customers will associate with your name is your photographs.

If you were a homeowner or landlord, who would you choose? The agent who takes five dull, uninspiring photos, or the agent who puts the effort in and takes 12 bright, beautifully composed shots?

It’s a no-brainer.

Pre-shoot setup

Preparing the property before the shoot is one of the simplest things you can do to improve your photos.

Ask the vendor to tidy up beforehand, move cars and wheelie bins out of shot, turn on all the lights, and open doors, curtains and blinds.

These may seem like minor points but you’d be surprised at how often they’re overlooked, and how much difference they can make.

Use a wide-angle lens

Even if you’re completely inexperienced when it comes to property photos, the right equipment will put you well on your way to professional-looking shots.

The most important tool in your property photography kit is a wide-angle lens. This will allow you to fit more into the shot, giving a more spacious feel. Because human eyes are built to see things in a wide angle, these photos give a more accurate impression of the property.

We recommend the Sigma 10–20mm f/3.5 EX DC HSM wide-angle lens with autofocus, which retails for around £300 to £320. Make sure that the lens is the right fit for your camera brand before you buy!

Purchase a DSLR camera

You may have been able to get away with a point-and-shoot camera for many years, but estate agents can no longer afford to slack off when it comes to property photos.

DSLR cameras provide huge amounts of functionality and customisability through interchangeable lenses and technical settings.

We recommend the Canon EOS 40000D (£230), or the Nikon D3500 (£360). These are both great entry-level models that will give you amazing results.

You can save money by purchasing just the camera body and buying a wide-angle lens separately.

Essential camera settings

When you’ve got the right equipment, you can take great shots with just a few basic settings.

If you’re new to photography and DSLR cameras, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Here are the only settings you need to master to capture amazing property photos:

Image format

  • Save images as JPG rather than RAW.
  • An ideal image file size is 3–6 MB.
  • An ideal resolution is 4272 x 2848 pixels.
  • Setting your camera to 12 Megapixels will give great quality images with a reasonable file size.

Shooting settings

  • Set your shutter speed between 1/5 (slower) and 1/25 (faster), depending on the light. Slower shutter speeds let in more light and are better for darker conditions, but increase the risk of blurring.
  • Set your aperture using the Av or Ev button, depending on your camera brand. This allows you to choose the size of the aperture (f-number) while the camera automatically selects a shutter speed for the correct exposure
  • Using the camera’s internal landscape mode will enhance blues and greens in external shots and keep both close and distant objects in focus.
  • Save time and money by not using an external flash or tripod.

Compose your shots like a pro

Amazing property photos should get people excited about booking a viewing. By taking the time to properly compose your shots, you can improve the visual appeal of your photos with very little effort.

Here are some top composition tips for property photos:

  • Always shoot in landscape orientation. Along with the wide-angle lens, this will help to capture even the tiniest en suite.
  • Crouch down and shoot at waist height to keep walls vertical.
  • Frame the shot by aligning objects in the corners, such as windows, door frames, or where the walls and ceiling meet.
  • Shoot through an open door and include the door frame in the shot. This produces inviting photos and is a great way to capture small rooms
  • Use the Golden Ratio when composing your shots.
  • Show off your property’s unique features. Include close-up shots of details like beautiful woodwork, elegant taps or ornate fireplaces.

Check out our Ultimate Guide to Property Photography for even more tips on capturing amazing property photos.

Enhance your images with post production

No matter how well you take the shots, they can sometimes still look a little flat. Grey skies, rogue wheelie bins and poor lighting can all ruin a perfectly good image.

Fortunately, photo editing software makes it possible to change things we couldn’t control during the shoot.

Here are some of the many edits you can make to ensure that your photos do the property justice:

  • Brightening the shot and removing shadows.
  • Adding an inviting blue sky.
  • Straightening wonky shots.
  • Cropping or re-framing for better composition.
  • Removing unwanted objects like clutter, cars, wheelie bins or competitor boards.

While it’s fine to enhance what’s already there, it’s not okay to make significant changes that would be misleading. Be aware of the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 and the Business Protection from Misleading Marketing Regulations 2008.

Outsource your property photo edits

If you’re not familiar with software like Lightroom or Photoshop, these edits can be tricky or time consuming. Fortunately, Elements Property can help you to make the most of your property photos.

Our Image Enhancement service allows you to benefit from all the essential edits that will give your photos the wow factor without you having to lift a finger—other than sending us the files! We can even add your logo as a watermark for a truly professional feel.

If you want to stand out from your competitors even more, we can turn your photos into an engaging video with our Video Slideshow service.

Take advantage of our free trial by entering code BLOG46 when you create your account and see how we can take your photos from good to amazing!

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5 reasons why branded floor plans are cool

Obviously, custom branded floorplans are seriously cool. Here’s why.

As well as giving your potential buyers a better idea of the size and layout of a property, they also show your attention to detail as an estate agent. In particular, branded floor plans look really professional and are a great selling tool for your agency.

Here are some reasons why you need branded floor plans in your listings.

1: They increase brand awareness

When prospective buyers or tenants are browsing properties online, the chances are they haven’t paid much attention to the names of the estate agents representing each one.

One thing that house hunters will almost certainly pay attention to, however, is the floor plan. By adding your company name or logo to your floor plan, you can increase brand awareness.

2: They stand out

Floor plans have become more and more commonplace on property listings. This means that you need to up your game if you want to stand out.

Using your brand colours can make your floor plans really eye catching. This could be just the hook you need to get someone looking at your property in detail or picking up the phone.

3: They show your dedication

While they’re not a necessity, floor plans really help buyers to imagine how they would use the space.

By not only adding floor plans but also taking the time to create them in line with your brand colours, you can demonstrate a level of dedication that other agencies’ listings may be lacking.

This will give potential buyers confidence in your abilities and attention to detail. It will also show your clients that you’re taking the job seriously.

4: They prevent theft

It can be hard to believe, but theft is more common in the property game than you might expect. With multiple agencies sometimes representing the same property, it can be tempting to steal from competitors.

Branding or watermarking your floor plans can prevent this from happening to you, as your competitors won’t want to advertise where they got it from.

Editing out all of your branding and any watermarks would also be fairly time consuming, defeating the point of stealing it in the first place!

5: They look pretty funky

Let’s be honest; property hunting isn’t always exciting. Scrolling through page after page of similar-looking listings can get tiresome, and one floor plan looks much like any other. That is, of course, unless you add a little branding.

Unlike their more official uses, floor plans don’t have to be black and white when used to market the property. That means you can have a little fun with them!

Don’t be shy—slap those brand colours on there! Use your main colour for the walls and your secondary shade for the floors (or vice-versa!) for a really funky floor plan.

Branded floorplan examples

 

Get your own branded floor plans

Once you’ve measured up your property and drawn out your floor plan (Don’t know how to draw a floor plan? Check out our handy guide and infographic), simply scan it and send it to Elements Property, and we’ll work our magic on it.

We offer lots of choices for branded floor plans to suit all your needs, including:

  • Black and white floor plans
  • Custom colour floor plans to match your brand
  • Zoned colour floor plans
  • Adding your logo
  • Adding your logo as a watermark

If you’re interested in trying out our Floor Plan Sketch Conversion service, take advantage of our free trial!

Just enter the code BLOG45 when you register.

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What does it take to be an exceptional estate agent?

As an estate agent, you’ll know that you’re up against a lot of competition, but what can you do to stand out from the crowd and win more instructions?

We watched Rightmove’s webinar ‘What does it take to be an exceptional estate agent?’ and have summed up the key points for you. Take a look at how you can go above and beyond to be more than just a great estate agent.

What is an exceptional estate agent?

Being an average estate agent isn’t good enough.

A common statistic is that prospective sellers only invite two or three agents out for valuation. So even if you’re the fourth or fifth best agent in your area, you’re still going to miss out.

That’s why it’s important to aim for exceptional.

Rightmove analysed data from 15,000 estate agent branches and conducted 50,000 secret shops by phone and email to assess levels of service.

For the purposes of the webinar, they defined an “exceptional estate agent” as being in the top 5% of estate agents in a given area.

They also identified four fundamental areas that determine an exceptional estate agent, based on what customers want.

Let’s look at these in more detail.

Property marketing

Marketing a property is about more than just sticking it on Rightmove and waiting by the phone.

Exceptional estate agents make sure that their listings are well presented and enticing. This includes:

  • High-quality, eye-catching property photos
  • At least five photos
  • A floorplan
  • A unique and well written description
  • Tailoring the listing to the target market (e.g. “a perfect family home”)
  • Accurate pricing (including reviewing and updating the price as necessary)
  • Updating the listing every couple of weeks (e.g. changing the lead photo or amending the description)

Handling enquiries

How you handle enquiries makes a big impact on the way you are perceived by customers and can make or break a professional relationship.

An exceptional estate agent makes sure to treat all enquiries with care. This includes:

  • Using technology to prevent calls from going unanswered
  • Replying to emails as quickly as possible (preferably within 10 minutes)
  • Using a customer’s preferred method of contact
  • Personalising responses
  • Thanking customers for their enquiry
  • Sounding enthusiastic when answering the phone
  • Asking about a customer’s current situation
  • Confirming next steps
  • Including contact details in emails
  • Using call recording for staff training purposes

Securing a sale or let

While securing sales and lets is key to the success of your business, having a proven track record will help you to build trust and gain more clients.

An exceptional estate agent agrees 65% more sales than an average one. Some of the ways that they achieve this include:

  • Building trusting relationships with customers
  • Being picky about what stock to take on and only doing so at the right price
  • Saying no to sellers with unrealistic expectations
  • Speaking to sellers in person to explain a fall-through, why it happened, and what they plan to do to get it back on the market ASAP
  • Being realistic and up front about timescales<.li>

Winning instructions

Exceptional estate agents win 30% more instructions than the average in their area.

Techniques that help them to do this include:

  • Handling leads well
  • Being consistently good at the fundamentals
  • Demonstrating how they add value when someone contacts them
  • Using certificates on Rightmove
  • Showing how they do things better at every stage of the process
  • Using exceptional care and attention to detail
  • Providing a better service, allowing them to charge a higher fee

Elements Property can help you to become an exceptional estate agent

Having a detailed, enticing property portfolio will not only help you to sell more properties but will show potential customers that you will provide a dedicated service should you win instructions from them.

We can help you to make your property marketing the best it can be and set you on the path to being an exceptional estate agent.

Our Image Enhancement service will make sure that your property photos are high quality, enticing and free from distracting clutter.

We also provide Floorplan Sketch Conversion and branded Video Slideshows to make your Rightmove listing stand out.

To register for a free trial and find out just how much we know about being exceptional, simply use code BLOG44 when you register.

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Personalise and protect your property images with a watermark

As an estate agent selling or letting a property, you want to do as much as you can to make the listing attractive and professional.

You’ve put in all the work, taking photographs, measuring for a floor plan and writing an appealing description for Rightmove. But have you ever thought about how important it is to add a watermark to your property images?

There are several reasons why watermarking your images could be a great idea, and we’ve outlined some of them below.

If you think watermarks are unnecessary, read on and find out how they can help you.

Strengthen your brand

When people look at buying or renting a property online, the property itself is usually the main focus. Prospective buyers often only look at the representing estate agent once they want to book a viewing.

This means that although hundreds of people might look at your listing, brand awareness could still be pretty low. If you’re paying to advertise on property portals like Rightmove, Zoopla or On The Market, you should be getting a little brand recognition out of it!

Adding your logo as a watermark to all of your property photos will make sure that more people see who you are. It also helps to create a connection between the listing and your brick-and-mortar store or website.

Make your listings more professional

Branded photos make your property listings look more professional, bringing in more enquiries. If you’re willing to put your name on something, this creates a sense of confidence in potential buyers.

If a buyer finds their dream property online only to see “SSTC”, they may visit your website to look for other similar properties.

Should they see your name on another listing in the future, they might remember you from the dream property, connecting your brand with positive emotions.

Protect your images

It’s unfortunate, but sometimes agencies lose the instruction to a competitor.

Should this happen when your listings are already live, your images may be stolen by another agency. This isn’t exactly professional, but some agencies will cut corners to save money.

When you’ve gone to all the effort of taking high-quality photos, having them stolen is particularly frustrating. This is especially true if you paid extra for image enhancements.

To prevent your competitors from taking credit for photos they didn’t take or pay for, make sure to add a watermark. Clearly display your company name and logo on property photographs, floor plans and any other images, so it’s clear who they belong to.

Example watermarked property photos

Watermarked images as standard

Elements Property help estate agents and letting agents to show properties in their best light with a range of services to improve your property marketing.

If you partner with us for our Image Enhancement service, one option we offer is to fully brand and watermark your property photographs as standard with no additional cost for including your logo in the centre or corner of your property photos.

Make your listings stand out from your competitors and keep your images safe with fixed prices and a 3-hour average turnaround.

For agents and property pros wanting a completely free trial of our Image Enhancement service, simply create an account and use the code BLOG43 when you sign up.

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Creating the ultimate Rightmove listing

You’re advertising your properties on Rightmove—but so is everyone else. What can you do to make your listings stand out?

We watched Rightmove’s webinar ‘Creating the ultimate Rightmove listing’ and summarised the top tips for you below.

Don’t post your listing before it’s complete

Rightmove listings receive the most views in their first two weeks online. Instant property alerts mean that your listing could appear in someone’s inbox as soon as it’s live.

The majority of people who view your listing will do so when it’s brand-new, so make sure it’s finished before publishing it.

Use at least 5 photos

Using at least 5 photos gives people a good feel for the property. Don’t use two similar photos when you could show different rooms or features instead.

Lead with your best 2 images, as they’re displayed in the search results. Kitchens, lounges and gardens make good lead photos. Use something that will entice people to click on your listing.

Use good quality photos

It can be hard to take good photos for a Rightmove listing, but don’t use photos that aren’t good enough. It’s better to have 5 great photos than 10 bad ones.

Cluttered, dark or blurry photos are off-putting. Try to avoid anything that could be distracting.

Images should be big enough to show detail and fill the full gallery frame. Rightmove recommends at least 1024 x 683 pixels.

Add a floorplan

80% of respondents in Rightmove’s webinar survey said they use floorplans for every property, while 12% said they only did it when they had time.

As rental properties have a faster turnaround time, only 28% of letting listings on Rightmove have a floorplan. By being the agent that takes the time to add this detail, you’ll stand out from your competitors.

Rightmove recommends uploading floorplans at 900 x 900 pixels, making sure to add it as a floorplan and not a property photo.

Consider how your listing is viewed

70% of Rightmove listings are viewed on mobile devices. If you’ve never looked at how your listing displays on mobile, check to make sure it’s well presented.

For floorplans, Rightmove recommends uploading each floor separately, making them easier to view on mobile. While other purposes may require all floors on one plan, separating them is beneficial for marketing.

Write an informative summary description

The summary description on a Rightmove listing is only 300 characters. Avoid writing anything unnecessary or reiterating information.

Present unique information and try capitalising 3 or 4 key features for emphasis. Look at what everyone else is doing and do something different to make yours stand out.

Add keywords to your description

The Keyword Sort tool prioritises results based on a particular word or phrase. Top Rightmove keyword searches include:

  • Garden
  • Garage
  • Balcony
  • Freehold
  • Parking

Use the Key Features section to add incentives such as amenities and location. Try to use all 10 bullet points to make these features stand out.

We’ll help you create the ultimate Rightmove listing

If you think you don’t have time to create floorplans for all of your properties, check out our Floorplan Sketch Conversion service. We’ll do all the hard work, leaving you free to focus your time elsewhere.

Photos are a really important part of a listing, and our Image Enhancement service will maximise the appeal of your shots. We can boost colours, add a blue sky, lift shadows, straighten and crop, and even remove objects like clutter, cars and wheelie bins.

There’s also some prime Rightmove real estate dedicated to a Video Tour. If you’re looking for a nifty low-cost video to fill this slot and show off your property, check out our Video Slideshow service.

To see just how easy it is to make your Rightmove listing stand out with Elements Property on your team, use code BLOG42 when you register and take advantage of a 3 order free trial!

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Zoned colour floorplans

We’re excited to announce a new feature of our Floorplan Sketch Conversion service – Zoned colour floorplans.

A feature that’s been requested a lot recently is the ability to assign different colours to different parts of a property on floorplan orders.

We’ve been working hard behind the scenes to make this a reality and now Zoned colour floor plans are ready for service!

What is a Zoned colour floorplan?

Zoned colour floorplans separate different spaces and areas of the property by filling a particular room or area with a specific colour.

Living areas, bedrooms, bathrooms, storage areas etc are differentiated by using unique colours for each ‘zone’.

How do I order a Zoned colour floorplan?

If you’re new to Elements, get started by creating an account and learning how to place an order. Then, its a simple as selecting ‘Zoned colour’ as the colour scheme on the New order page.

If you’d like to set Zoned colour as your default style of floorplan moving forward, update your settings or your client’s settings if you’re a supplier.

Is this like a Metropix floorplan?

Those of you familiar with Metropix floor plans may recognise the similarity of the colours. We’ve designed the Zoned colour scheme to match this.

This means you can order a floorplan that we’ll produce in AutoCAD that looks just like a Metropix floorplan, but avoids the need to actually use Metropix.

Can I change the colours?

Please note, the colours used in Zoned colour floorplans are fixed and cannot be customised. If you’d like more customisation over the colour of your floorplans, you should order a Custom colour floorplan, please see this article.

Is there any extra charge?

No, Zoned colour floorplans don’t carry any additional charges and are the same price as other Floorplan Sketch Conversion orders. Learn more about pricing.

Want Elements to create your Zoned colour floor plans?

This is part of our Floorplan Sketch Conversion service where we transform your hand drawn layout of a property into a digital floorplan.

LEARN MORE ABOUT FLOORPLANS

 

How to measure a floor plan to RICS guidelines

A chartered surveyor will adhere to certain standards when measuring a property to ensure that it is as accurate as possible.

If you know how much it costs to hire a chartered surveyor, you might be wondering whether you can just do the measurements yourself. The answer is yes, but you’ll need to get familiar with the RICS Code of Measuring Practice if you want to do the job properly.

What is the RICS?

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) is a professional body governing qualifications and standards in land, property, infrastructure and construction in the UK.

The RICS has put together the Code of Measuring Practice to allow property professionals to give accurate measurement of buildings and land on a consistent basis. This includes standardising the calculation of areas and the description or specification of land and buildings.

Accurate measurements are essential for many applications, including property valuation, taxation, sales and lettings.

Many companies measure differently, sometimes adding up to 10% onto a property’s square footage. Inconsistencies in how properties are measured can lead to buyers or renters overpaying, which is what the RICS is aiming to prevent.

It’s worth looking at the Code in full, but here are some key elements that you’ll need to be aware of.

Gross External Area (GEA)

Gross External Area is the area of a building measured externally at each floor level. Party walls are measured to their centre lines.

What does GEA include?

Check the Code for full information. As a guide, GEA includes:

  • The thickness and projections of external walls
  • Areas occupied within internal walls and partitions
  • Outbuildings that share at least one wall with the main building
  • Garages
  • Conservatories

Gross Internal Area (GIA)

Gross Internal Area is the area of a building measured to the internal face of the perimeter
walls at each floor level.

What does GIA include?

Check the Code for full information. As a guide, GIA includes:

  • Areas occupied by internal walls and partitions
  • Corridors
  • Mezzanines with permanent access
  • Service accommodation such as toilets and bathrooms

GIA is the measure normally shown on estate agent floor plans for property marketing.

Accuracy of measurements

The RICS guidelines note that it is essential for measurements not to be misleading, either intentionally or unintentionally. Depending on the circumstances, what is being measured and the equipment used, different levels of accuracy may be suitable.

When pacing out a large area such as a carpark, a tolerance of +/-10% of the total area may be acceptable. When using a laser measuring device to determine the internal area of usable office space, a stricter tolerance of +/-1% would be more suitable.

To keep measurements as accurate as possible, the Code suggests introducing checking measures. These checks might include a regime of regular equipment calibration and software updates to ensure reliability.

Creating a floor plan to RICS guidelines

You can use your newfound knowledge of GEA and GIA to make your floor plan super accurate.

If you’re not sure where to start when drawing up a floor plan, follow our guide to drawing a floor plan. The step-by-step instructions make a seemingly daunting task very manageable.

Once you’ve sketched out the property’s basic layout and added all those detailed measurements, you’ll need to convert it into a neat, clear floor plan. We’ve got a guide on how to do that, too.

Let Elements Property create your RICS floor plan

After you’ve gone to the trouble of measuring and drawing out the property, you’ve probably already spent more time than you wanted to on it, and all you’ve got to show is a sketch.

That’s where our Floor Plan Sketch Conversion service comes in.

Send us your floor plan sketch and we’ll convert it into a high-quality digital floor plan in just a matter of hours. Sit back and let us fiddle with design software while you get on with something more pressing.

We’ll even give you a free trial if you enter the code BLOG41 when you set up your account.

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My first attempt at property photography

What happens when a complete photography novice gets his hands on a digital SLR and the Ultimate Guide to Property Photography?

Well, that novice is me, and I decided to find out.

I’m Chris, and I’ve just started at Elements this week as an Account Executive. I am trying to gain an understanding of the business from a client’s perspective. So, for the purposes of this exercise, I am Chris Britten Estates; an independent estate agent with a house to sell – I reckon I’ll need some decent photos.

I’ve read the Ultimate Guide to Property Photography once, (that’s the guide that Alex, our Founder, wrote) and I am holding a digital SLR in my hand for the very first time.

Let’s go shooting!

Skill level: Rookie

My photography experience consists of the odd snap with my phone. I haven’t used an actual camera since the days of 35mm film and waiting in Boots for 24 blurry photos to be developed. Then followed the game of ‘count the quality control stickers’.

I start the shoot with a standard lens. The guide stresses how important a wide angle is, so I decide to see what the fuss is about. Even before I’d tried with the wide angle, I realised how restrictive the standard lens is. I can barely get 25% of the room in shot. Nevertheless, I persevere around the house, just to see the contrast between lenses.

Wide angle wow factor

So, onto the wide angle. Holding the camera, I remember for external shots I need to turn the settings wheel to the picture of the mountain. Even shooting the outside of the house, I notice the difference. The wide angle seems to offer more freedom, giving me much more space to work with.

I know a common reaction to wide angled property photos is “oh, so you’re making the rooms look bigger than they are!”. However, we see wide angles with the naked eye, do we not? Immediately, I’m conscious that the wide angled photos I’m taking are much closer to the reality of standing in a room than the standard lens.

Let there be light!

For internal shots, I turn the setting to ‘Tv’ (I’m using a Canon; otherwise it would be ‘S’ – I’ve learned something!). I turn on all the lights and open all the curtains and blinds. The more light, the better! I spin the lens to it’s widest setting, as my aim is to get as much of the room in shot as possible. I also open all the interior doors, showing the flow of the house.

Shooting from waist height

I remember that the guide advises to take photos from waist height. This was an initial surprise to me, but it really makes sense! Crouching down in the corner of the room, I find it much easier to frame the shot using the lines of the walls, windows and doors. I am also able to get a great ratio of floor to ceiling in the photo, whilst keeping the walls straight in the frame.

The setting on my camera is a long exposure. This means the lens is open for a relatively long period of time, and may result in a blurry image. So, I crouch down, lock my elbows against the walls, and hold my breath whilst taking the shot. Who knew photography would be such a workout? *cancels gym membership*.

Avoiding overexposure

The kitchen I am shooting is a long room leading to a conservatory. There’s a lot of light coming in through the french windows, so the kitchen itself is quite dark in comparison. I focus my camera on a darker area of the room before shooting towards the light (a light touch on the shutter release button). It’s a bit of trial and error, but it really is a simple way to gain a better balance between light and dark. I’m almost convincing myself that I know about property photography!

No skill, no problem

I think I’ve got the best possible photos that I can. I have the right kit – the camera and lens. I’m also convinced that I have all the knowledge that I need in order to get really top quality property photos. That’s within a couple of hours. Skill? Experience? I have none of either. However, the photos I have taken are evidence that skill and experience is of very little importance if you have the right equipment and a small amount of knowledge.

The clutter

I purposefully leave a few things lying around, to see what magic can be worked in photoshop. Just the odd little thing I planned to get removed – a towel, a dressing gown, a washing powder box, some kids toys, a car! So, I pick the best photos and wing them off for editing. As I settle down to write this blog, they ding back into my inbox before I finish typing.

Better boosted

The enhanced images are great. A few of the photos were a bit gloomy, and they have really been lifted. I went for the vibrant edit, and the colours are vivid; bringing out the best in the property. Whilst I was pretty happy with my photography, it’s really noticeable how much sharper they are now, and any imbalance of light and shade has been corrected. Okay, I admit – one of the photos I took was really wonky. The walls were leaning and it just looked unprofessional. That’s been straightened up too!

The object removal option is really helpful for those things that may have made the photo look a bit untidy. I have no idea how the car was removed from the driveway – now that’s magic!

The results would look great in any estate agent’s window! Not bad for a rookie 😉

Creating great first impressions

So, not only have I learned a great deal about property photography in a short space of time, but the enhanced images take the photos to the next level. Photos on a property listing make a huge difference to the amount of interest generated.

It’s the first thing people look at when searching, and this set creates a great first impression not only of the property but also of the agent marketing the property as well, perhaps more so.

I know from personal experience of property searching that fantastic photos will not be ignored and will undoubtedly get people through the door for a viewing. Surely that’s the first impression every estate agent wants to create on all instructions. It’s simple to market more amazing!

Transforming property photos to video

I also converted these into a HD video using our Video Slideshow service to inject some motion. The slideshow is a great property marketing tool. Combining the quality photos with six key features of the property, everything is there to add more wow to the listing and bag some viewings.

There’s a choice of 12 music tracks for the video, which adds to the professionalism of the tool, and compliments the smooth transitions around the property. So, you’ve got the enhanced photos – why not create a video slideshow to make the listing irresistible and share it on social media?

Do you want the Elements wow factor?

I don’t blame you! If you’re an estate agent or supplier looking for a fast, cost-effective way of creating wonderful first impressions, attracting more enquiries and selling and letting faster, then sign up for a free trial today using the promocode BLOG40.

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