OUT OF SINK: FAIRY & COLGATE IN PROPERTY PHOTOS

I’ve been studying the photos and videos that estate agents post on LinkedIn to showcase their marketing prowess. What I’ve noticed are some national trends that shocked me at first, but seeing as they are used by so many estate agents up and down the country, they are clearly part of a revolution in evoking a sense of home for would-be buyers and tenants.

The – I’ll call it inventive – accessorising appears to concentrate on the kitchen and bathroom areas, but bedrooms and living rooms are also given the – let’s say casual – treatment, presumably putting at ease any untidy people who might be looking for their next home: a bold move that replaces namby-pamby aspiration with hard-edged realism.

At first I doubted the agents’ wisdom or awareness, but given that one home marketed in this way is described as “beyond cool”, it’s obviously a conscious movement and I’ve reorganised my thinking to embrace this exciting new methodology. 

So, without further ado, let’s fight our way past the excess items on the floor, and dive right in.

KITCHENS

Nothing, it seems, says ‘fully functioning home’ more than a proud display of half-used bottles of washing up liquid and colourful hand soap, all in their original branded containers. These clear plastic dispensers allow the garish gloop within to shine as a beacon of dish day duties, finally banishing the old-fashioned idea of matching the units or tiles. One video I saw today had no less than three such icons sitting cheerfully on the sink, so it’s clearly a winning formula.

Extra points for a fluorescent sponge or absorbent cloth hanging over the tap OR, if someone has that trendiest of accessories, a foldable dish rack in – gasp! – stainless steel, shown off its full potential by not only including it in the photo, but placing recently washed-up crockery upon its frame, demonstrating the functionality for any kitchen novice.

DO NOT, REPEAT DO NOT, REMOVE THESE ITEMS. I know the temptation for dated neatness is real, but these must surely be conscious placements given how commonplace the practice. If it were just on one property it might suggest a lack of attention to detail on the part of an individual, but with so many estate agents adopting the code, it’s clearly an essential strategy for gaining credibility on the Internet’s most business-focused social media platform. 

BONUS POINTS: plug in a phone charger or other adaptor next to the kettle and leave it on a work surface in full view, allowing the cable to add some sexy snaky whimsy.

BATHROOMS

Folded towels are out! Instead, sling one – or, better still, leave a used one – with confident disregard over the towel rail, shining a light on the realities of a working day’s rushed departure and cleverly avoiding any suggestion of a poncey restful sanctuary. 

Toilet rolls (particularly the coloured ones)  have long endured the title of Sadly Underused Accessory,  but today’s modern estate agency uses them to highlight, well, the toilet roll, with a powder blue model against a white suite proving des rigueur for the forward thinker. Don’t forget to dangle the first sheet lower than the main body to ensure nobody misses it.

To show maximum purpose, gather the room’s collection of cleaning products and cluster them – indeed stuff them – in full view next to the toilet, deftly showing just how many cleaning products you can stuff next to the toilet and highlighting that uniquely British quality: a lack of adequate storage.

For wash basins, only handsoaps in their commercially labelled pump dispensers should be on view in today’s push for complete authenticity, accompanied wherever possible by a tube of toothpaste, preferably squeezed in the middle and laid across the porcelain and with the cap left off for extra dynamism.

BEDROOMS

Key here is to add those extra special touches that lift a bedroom beyond a boring sleeping zone and into the giddy realms of dumping ground. Top tips include leaning a racing bike against a wall – and preferably next to the bed – and placing the cardboard box to your recently bought BUSH television set upon the saddle. I’m guessing a box from an expensive brand would only serve to alienate that most crucial of audiences: people on the lowest budget.

LIVING ROOMS

With the boom in home cinema and big screen gaming, modern technology allows estate agents to showcase far more electrical cables tumbling from the back of the media unit than ever before. This, I’m pleased to report, has been enthusiastically adopted across the entire industry, with high street independents, glossy corporates and even disruptive online firms taking up the challenge. It’s really heartwarming to see such unity in an often combative sector.

I can’t tell you how time-saving this radical new approach to property marketing must be. When I was an estate agent, I could often spend as much as five minutes working with the owner of a property – or the photographer – to ensure that every room looked its best and was free of extraneous or detracting items, whether in owner-occupied or tenanted homes. But I now see how the resulting stream of beautifully presented listings that sold for above-average prices must have caused untold anxiety to people who couldn’t afford them. How irresponsible I was.

So, I implore you: if your estate agency is stuck in yesteryear and wasting precious moments on trying to look progressive with shimmering listings and being awake, STOP RIGHT NOW!

I have seen the light, and the bulb has left the building.

Summary