Tips for Real Estate Photography

real estate photographyShowcase Your Home in the Best Possible Light (Literally)

Property adverts are fairly useless without pictures – people want a visual of their potential future home. Indeed, photographs are the quickest way for someone to tell whether that piece of real estate suits their expectations or not. So, if you have a house or flat that you want to sell or rent out, it is imperative that you obtain some high quality images of the property in question, in order to attract and entice buyers.

You don’t need to be a professional wedding photographer Surrey or have a super-fancy camera in order to take decent pictures that showcase your home and garden.

Tips for Real Estate Photography

• Take plenty of photographs. Allow people to see the interior of the house from different angles and in different rooms. Unless you have a fantastic bathroom, however, experts advise you refrain from showcasing a tiny cramped shower and a pint-size wall cabinet.
• Be aware of the lighting. The interior of a house tends to be dark, for obvious reasons. Adjust the exposure on your camera, particularly if you are including the window in your shot. The light from the window fools the camera, which then adjusts to make everything in the room even darker. Turning on the interior lights will help immensely.
• Get a good picture of the front of the house. Tidy up the garden and front porch, and take the picture on a day when the weather is sunny and the sky is blue. Ensure that the front door can be seen in the shot. Try to take the photograph from a lower angle, looking up. This technique makes everything seem bigger and more impressive.

You can retouch your photographs once you’ve uploaded them, but refrain from overdoing it. If you follow these steps, your real estate pictures are sure to rival those of the commercial photography industry.

UK Property Market Improving?

Source: Terry Robinson

According to the latest report released by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RISC), there is increased activity in the UK property market. Reportedly the number of property sales rose to 17.4 per estate agency in March, the highest number in three years.

The Latest RISC Report

Peter Bolton King, a director at RICS, told The Telegraph that; “A buoyant, healthy property market is central to economic recovery and, while these are still very much early signs, it is encouraging that sales are beginning to pick up. The increase in potential buyers getting out there and viewing property is particularly encouraging.”

The UK Property Market Outlook

According to The Guardian, the biggest rise in house sales for the first quarter of 2013, was in the West Midlands while the London property market remained strong. The East Midlands and East Anglia reported the weakest growth.

Whilst house sales seem to be increasing, house prices were more or less flat in March, according to the RICS report, which goes on to point out that residential property prices have been relatively stable across the board for the last six months.

Why the Improvement?

According to lenders credit for the current uptake in the property market is at least partially due to the Government’s Funding for Lending scheme; which has helped to lower bank costs and reduce interest rates for buyers. The concept of shared ownership mortgages has also done much to open the market to first time buyers.

A survey conducted by the Bank of England also predicts that mortgage rates will drop even further over the next three months, whilst the Help to Buy and other measures announced in the Budget will bolster the market as well.

The Telegraph does report that there are concerns from various parties that the Chancellor “risks supporting a “bubble” in prices through his Help to Buy push, which will massively expand the mortgage guarantee and shared equity schemes available to would-be buyer”. Time will have to tell whether these fears are well founded or not. In the meantime the property market is benefiting from these measures as more people are able to obtain mortgages and Britons can certainly expect to see more shared ownership properties popping up.

Alphabets and Addresses

It’s All in the Name

According to property search website Zoopla, houses that are located on streets that start with the letter U are worth around £25 000 more than the average house price. Just something to keep in mind when you’re looking for a shared ownership property or a house to buy!

In second and third place came the letters T and O respectively. Houses on these streets were also priced far above the average. The rest of the top ten property values according to street letter were H, C, P, W, F, L, S, in that order.

Spell Check

Unsurprisingly, on the lower end of the property price spectrum, houses located on streets starting with the letter Z were only worth four fifths of the average UK property price. Indeed, the bottom five letters were Y, V, A, J and Z respectively. The letter X was not included in the survey, since it is so uncommon.

Furthermore, street names that started with vowels fared better than consonants – the average house price for consonant streets was £6306 lower than those located on streets starting with a vowel letter. The most expensive street, meanwhile, was Upper Phillimore Gardens in Kensington, West London, where the average house goes for £5.6 million.


House prices from over 750 000 UK streets were included in the study. A spokesperson for the website that conducted the survey mentioned that “With a £70,000 difference between the average property price on streets starting with the letters U and Z, and a £6,000 difference on average on streets beginning with vowels and consonants, it is advisable to select your street wisely”.

So once you’re about to sign on the dotted line for your shared ownership property, you might want to reconsider your street name first!

Shared Ownership Awareness

Help for First Time Buyers

The National Housing Federation just sponsored the UK’s first Shared Ownership Week, which was held from 18th – 24th March. The aim of the event was to raise awareness regarding the part buy/part rent housing option, as well as emphasise the various benefits of this system – namely, getting a foot on the property ladder.

With property prices skyrocketing in prime areas, shared ownership London could be the ideal solution for many potential homeowners. The large deposits required when buying a house are simply out of reach for the majority of people.

How Does it Work?

The shared ownership principle is actually rather simple. When approaching a house or apartment specifically designated as shared ownership, the future homeowner purchases as large a share of the value of their house as they can. (There will always be a set minimum amount, usually 25%.) The part-owner then pays rent only on the portion of the house that they don’t own.

When one has accumulated enough money, one can then buy a greater share of the property – this is known as staircasing. Eventually, the part-owner will become the full owner of the house once they have bought up the entire percentage of the property. Obviously, as the portion of the house you own increases, the less rent you will have to pay on the un-owned piece. This makes it easier to save up and purchase your property over time.

There’s No Place Like Home

One of the promoters of the shared ownership campaign said that “At a time where more and more people are finding it difficult to save for their first home and also to meet the deposit requirements, shared ownership is an ideal solution. It offers buyers an affordable route into home ownership, enabling them to buy a home in the area they live and/or work”.

New Home for West Ham

Football Team Wins Bidding War

When we think of football teams and the term “bidding war”,  it usually has something to do with the latest in-demand player being sized up like a piece of very athletic meat by various sharp-eyed managers. However, in this instance, West Ham United has won a 99-year lease on what was the main Olympic stadium from 2012. The stadium will undergo renovation, and become the team’s new home ground in 2016.

Work in Progress

Indeed, the skills of a flat roofing contractor may be required – the original roof is set to be torn down, and a new one installed in its place, as the seating count is being reduced from 80 000 to 54 000. The renovation is estimated to cost between £150 000 and £200 000. Whilst West Ham will contribute towards the project, the bulk of the cost will be shouldered by the Newham Council and the government.

The redesign of the Olympic stadium will include retractable seats, and will ensure that the structure can be used for both football and athletics. The running track will be covered by spectator seats when not in use. At 84m high, the proposed roof is set to be the largest spanning tensile roof in the world. The stands at each end of the stadium will be named after two West Ham United football legends – Bobby Moore and Sir Trevor Brooking.

World Class

The West Ham website released a statement that said “The designs are such that the seating distances will now compare favourably with the best in UK stadia such as the Emirates and Wembley and the top stadia around the world. By way of example they will be 10m closer to the goal line than the Stade De France in Paris”.
With a stylish, modern design and landmark potential, the stadium is good news for roofing services London.

Sweet Success for Sugar Quay London

Christian and Nicky Candy, London’s famed billionaire brothers and property developers, have been given the green light for their latest project, Sugar Quay. The brothers’ company, CPC Group, will be constructing this new luxury development in the City of London on a site that used to serve as the headquarters of Tate & Lyle. The current building, located on the north bank of the Thames, will be demolished to make way for Sugar Quay – a 280 000 square-foot residential scheme consisting of 165 luxury flats. The CPC construction team will soon be donning their hard hats and work gloves to build the following units:

Floating Village for London Thames

london thamesMayor Announces Waterway Construction

A six hectare area of the London Thames, located by the Royal Docks, is set to be transformed into a floating village, consisting of homes, hotels and recreational facilities. Boris Johnson believes it possible to turn the waterway into one of London’s most sought-after addresses, conveniently located next to the DLR, Crossrail and the northern end of the Emirates Airline cable car service.

A Liquid Postcode

Citing the success of the floating developments in Amsterdam and Hamburg, the mayor is now calling on construction and design firms to come forward with ideas for the London version. “Right across London there are incredible investment opportunities that I’m determined to bring to market, creating more homes and jobs for Londoners.”

In an effort to regenerate run-down areas and provide much needed housing, many more such public developments are in the works – workers clad in their indestructible combat trousers and distinctive yellow hats are once again a familiar sight in the post-Olympic renovation phase. Silvertown Quays and Royal Albert Docks also have reconstruction plans in the works.

Bigger and Better

Newham Mayor Sir Robin Wales gave his support to the proposal, stating that “London is moving eastwards and the Royal Docks offer an investment opportunity in scale unmatched anywhere in Europe. This exciting development is a pivotal part of their reanimation”. Get ready for the sound of safety shoes on scaffolding in a few months time – the London skyline is set to change once again.

The Opulence of One Hyde Park

It is known as one of the most desirable addresses in the world, and with 84 apartments left for sale, it’s an address that is still open to wealthy buyers. One Hyde Park has left the world breathless not only with its extreme asking prices, but also with the views, amenities and security on offer at the opulent residential apartments. A lavish party was recently held for the opening of the stunning apartment block, and security were on hand to ensure no gatecrashers got to the flowing Cristal.


Developed by the famous Candy brothers, One Hyde Park apartments have everything the ultra-rich could possibly ask for in terms of privacy, security and on-site luxuries. At £6,000 per-square-foot, this luxury development in London was designed by Lord Rogers, and is said to be the most expensive property in the world. The stunning penthouse with its modern dining tables, precious marble tiles and astonishing views of London was sold even with a hefty price tag of £135 million, making it the most expensive apartment on the planet.

The party for the opening of One Hyde Park London was nothing short of opulent. Leading chefs the likes of Heston Blumenthal were on hand to create the fine cuisine being prepared with guests sipped on the copious champagne flutes. Ultra-wealthy from Sheikhs to royalty were seen making their way through the “Fort Knox” security. Speaking of security; the residences are snapped up by those with mega bank accounts and they naturally feel more at ease with fortress security, which means many of the apartments have been fitted with panic rooms, bullet-proof glass and iris-recognition in the private elevators.

The apartments have been developed with the most expensive and lavish fittings and furnishings. Apart from the imported marble tiles, modern wardrobes, and state-of-the-art kitchen fittings, One Hyde Park also has a private cinema, Olympic size swimming pool, gym, spa facilities, wine cellars, room service from the exclusive five-star Mandarin Oriental hotel next door, car valet services and a concierge service to cater to each and every whim of the ridiculously rich. One Hyde Park is a world of luxury within itself. Short of a private hospital and school, there really is no reason to leave the building for anything.

Housing Market Seeing Slow Recovery

Britain’s property market has been at the forefront of the news in recent months and analysts are still speculating and calculating on the past impact, and future possibilities. At this stage it seems that the housing market is still going to take another eight years to fully recover and regain the same value it held in 2007.

Up and Down

Pre-recession value is obviously what homeowners are looking at. Some are desperately trying to sell their properties while others are holding on in the hopes it will pick up soon enough in places like Wales, and the North West. Analysts believe these areas are the ones that will see housing market increases last. There is speculation that prices in Wales won’t revert to the 2007 average of £155,000, until 2021. At this stage the property market in Wales is sitting at the current market value of £20,000 less than their 2007 evaluations.

While some are desperately trying to sell their properties on the current housing market, others such as first time home purchasers are battling to get mortgages due to the tighter lending restrictions. Many people are turning to a shared ownership mortgage because it affords people a foot in the door, a payback system based on mortgage they can reasonably afford and a partial rental to the housing association for the percentage of their home that they cannot yet purchase.

Many property agents feel it is going to be a fairly long haul before the housing market in the UK reasonably picks up. 2012 Was not bad for some homeowners, but that depended entirely on where you lived and the kind of home you owned. Many luxury homeowners saw a 45 percent increase in the housing market value, however this boom in the market did not extend further out to the central locations such as Hampstead and Richmond only seeing a 5 percent increase.

It’s apparent that location, location, location is the driving force behind the luxury housing market increase in value. As the housing market prices remain at five times above the average annual salary it is somewhat difficult to get into the market or even afford the rental increases. This is another reason why a shared ownership mortgage is a considered option. It’s a housing market that is more affordable, available in many areas, and provides peace of mind.

Construction Industry on the Up-and-Up

construction industryCity Deals to Boost Development

The 20 cities who originally applied for economic development powers under the new City Deals plan have had their proposals approved. The aim of the project is to provide cities with the resources and planning powers to stimulate their local economies and generate growth in the construction industry. Local governments are given a greater degree of autonomy over their training budgets, investment funds and infrastructure development.

Big Plans, Big Future

Future developments in various areas of importance include:

Brighton & Hove – Encourage the growth and innovation of their eco-tech industry, of which the universities are an important part.

Greater Cambridge – Boost the growth of their highly-specialized tech industry, which includes electronics, biotechnology and software.

Leicester and Leicestershire – Increase the development of their two main sectors, logistics and manufacturing.

Milton Keynes – Promote the sustainable growth of their housing market.

Greater Norwich – Focus on their prestigious life sciences and environmental sciences industry, with particular emphasis on the Norwich Research Park.

Oxford – Further develop their knowledge economy, concentrating on their two main universities, science research centres and specialized knowledge areas such as space technology and cryogenics.

Preston – Maintain their steady growth of small and medium businesses by investing in infrastructure. Mezzanine floors are a particularly useful element to include when developing warehouse spaces.

Plymouth – Develop their key sectors of engineering, maritime operations and renewable marine energy.

Southend & South Essex – The two cities plan to invest in the provision of housing and offices. Pallet racking comes in handy for commercial storage, making the most efficient use of the available space.

Tees Valley – Become a global hub for petrochemical processing and clean energy innovation and development, by concentrating on their existing petrochemical industry.

Chancellor George Osborne recently emphasized the government’s commitment to the construction industry, as development within this sector will allow the UK to compete on a global scale. The City Deals will now be revised in more detail, and the final proposals should be finished later on in the year.