Hiding things
Most people wait until the run up to moving day to start clearing out the belongings they don’t want to take to their new home. It’s our view that that process should begin the minute you think about putting your property on the market. Tidying up is usually the garnish word for “moving things around” or “putting things in piles” or “hiding things” which doesn’t really constitute tidying up at all, and isn’t particularly attractive. So here are some tips from us on how to do it right.

Get rid of your piles
Mountains of files, magazines, unopened post and household paperwork – no matter how neatly piled on top of each other – do not constitute tidying up: they need to go. Our experience is that most things in piles hang around for months or years, meaning they’re effectively obsolete. Just get rid of the lot in one go. Anything that really was that urgent will very likely come through the letterbox again. Just make sure to deal with it properly next time to avoid future pileups.

Stay out of sight
As well as making sure you’re not at home whenever your estate agent brings someone round to see your home, it’s also a good idea to remove any excess of ornamentation from the property. That doesn’t mean removing all personality from your home, but too many nick-nacks are overwhelming for buyers and are utter dust traps. If you have countless pictures of yourself grinning from out of frames dotted around shelves, fireplaces, bedside tables, sideboards, etc.) then we’d recommend a purge: they draw buyers’ attention away from your property.

Clean up your act
While your home is on the market, we strongly advise having it professionally cleaned every week. It really is a very sound investment. Unless you’re super human or super interested in domestic chores, we find that cleaners do a better job of making everything sparkle. They also tend not to miss the things we do our best to forget – dusting bookshelves, vacuuming behind the TV, etc. And get them to clean your windows at the start and then monthly thereafter – it really does make a huge difference.

Take away temptation
The easiest way of staying tidy is to have less stuff to tidy up. So rather than stuffing your cupboards with stuff, get rid of it. All the advice on de-cluttering and de-personalising makes the day-to-day job of keeping your home tidy much easier. The less you have, the less there is to tidy and the less mess you can make. Which means less work whenever you get a viewing.

Get over it
All this advice is simply to give you the best chance of getting your property sold. Don’t take it to heart you’re asked to remove some personal items. The job of your estate agent is multi-faceted and includes giving you the best advice they can on how to present your home to maximum effect, minimise wasted viewings and achieve the best possible price in the shortest possible time.

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Once upon a time, not so very long ago, people hunted for a home very differently. While their choice would certainly centre around their core criteria (number of rooms, overall size, access to work or schools, etc), the final decision would ultimately come down to a single defining question: do I like it?

Yes, we know it sounds crazy, but it really used to happen. People would actually base their decision to buy a property on whether or not they got a good feeling from it, and whether they thought they’d like to live there. At dinner parties everywhere, people would say: “It just felt right” and “We knew we wanted it the moment we walked in the door”. Madness.

Today, the picture is very different. Today it’s all about future market value, realising untapped potential and locating the next area to go big. It’s an interesting sign of the times that, when showing someone around a property, we rarely hear anyone exclaim the immortal words: “Oh my god, I love it.”

Perhaps it’s fear of being drawn into the evil estate agent’s web of skilled negotiation tactics and devilish mind control: keep your emotions hidden and you’ll be safe from their charms; avoid enthusiasm at all costs, or it’ll cost you; and don’t be fooled by their smiles and pleasantries… once they’ve got you in their claws, there’ll be no escape and you’ll end up – oh horror of horrors! – in a home you adore.

So what’s going on?

First, the rise and continued popularity of TV interiors programmes has heightened people’s awareness of design and had them realise that, in some instances, a property can be transformed with not a lot of work and lifted from a bit depressing, to really rather nice. That’s a good thing, particularly where busy people are concerned. The word “potential” used to be lost on city types because they were simply too busy to think about the idea of living in a building site and coming home to dust central after a very long day at work. So to demonstrate how a reasonably small effort can transform a property that is otherwise a perfect match is a wholly positive thing.

But it’s the change in affordability that’s had the most dramatic effect on the way people relate to property. Particularly in London, where really the only people who can afford to get themselves onto the property ladder are those earning good money in the city (whether legal, financial or otherwise), perhaps it’s no wonder that hardcore rational analysis has replaced feelings and emotions as the driving force behind decisions.

And we are in a time of mass information, and of mass information being the order of the day. Everyone is armed to the teeth with mass information. New train lines, future regeneration, infrastructure improvements, historic house prices and projected growth areas – often delivered with dramatic headlines and anxiety inducing predictions – all form part of a decision that, let’s be honest, is a really big deal.

None of this is wrong, and we’ve absolutely no objection to people getting maximum financial benefit from their property making decision. But we hope it’s not at the expense of one of the best feelings there is: the joy of moving in to a home you truly love.

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Green-shoots-of-social-media-success
So… we’ve really been going at our social media in the second half of 2016 to see how far we could get. And we are beginning to see some real signs of quality and positive engagement along with an ever-increasing number of followers.

As we write this piece, we have just passed 3,600 followers on our Instagram account and 2,500 likes on our Facebook page. It’s a particularly incredible and somewhat unbelievable result for us; until June we’d been lingering around 200 followers on our Instagram account for some time, but putting in the effort has brought in the rewards and people are clearly enjoying it.

And, of course, that is the key. Is our page providing enjoyment? As sales people, our natural instinct is to sell, but people who want to buy a property would probably already be registered with us. Realising that social media is entirely about being social (duh!) has been a real breakthrough for us and demonstrates that our business has another side to it.

One of the things about being an estate agent is that, at its core, it’s a really enjoyable job. It’s a privilege when someone chooses you to act for him or her in the sale or letting of their property: the buzz you get when they tell you is a really wonderful feeling. It’s not about beating other estate agents; it’s about the show of faith and trust that is being displayed.

It is extremely easy to look at every expense of time or money as needing to have a specific measurable return on investment. The whole “show me the money” thing is, we think, what presents the main obstacle to estate agents with their social media activity. Their view is that if it can’t be shown to have a specific monetary return, then it’s an unnecessary expense. While that does somewhat miss the point of being social, we suspect their struggle with social media may also come from feeling they have nothing to say that anyone would be interested in.

The thing is, if there is any country in the world where property is a nationwide discussion, it’s the UK. They say “an Englishman’s home is his castle” and that is very true. We love our homes; we love making them great; we love talking about them. And we are unmatched in Europe over how much we aspire to own a property. It’s a subject that couldn’t be more social if it tried.

So our view is that estate agents are genuinely missing a trick if they are not engaging heavily with social media. It is a completely and radically different model of communication with which to engage with your audience in a way never before possible. It’s a wonderful opportunity to show the world exactly what we do, why we do it and why we love it so much.

For an industry that struggles so much with its public image, it’s a total no-brainer.

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After a little while working on it and a lot of background research, we’ve now launched the London Loft Apartments website, a tribute to some of our favourite living spaces in the capital.
London-Loft-Apartments-Homepage

London has a rich and formidable collection of formerly commercial buildings that have leant themselves considerably well to a new urban lifestyle: from tannery to telephone exchange, orphanage to office and bath house to synagogue, these new-era living spaces turned the property market on its head and changed the way we live.

Divided into North, East, South and West London, the website aims to catalogue the very best of loft living in London. We see it as a working document that we’ll be continually adding to and editing.
London-Loft-Apartments-Lofts-in-East-London

Alongside the collection of converted schools, factories, warehouses that make up the foundation of London’s loft contingent, we’ve also included some of the most memorable one-off dwellings we’ve encountered along the Unique Property Company journey.

A former chapel, a rescued church tower and a repurposed stable block are just some of the extraordinary rarities we’ve seen; these are joined by a few choice newly built houses and apartments whose certain savoire faire elevates them from boring and boxy to lofty and lovely.

London-Loft-Apartments-The-Bath-House
Whether it’s a raw and gritty warehouse or a smooth and slick glass box, our love of loft apartments, lifestyle and indeed mentality knows no bounds. But what do you think? Do you have a favourite loft building you’d like us to include? Or do you live in one of our favourites and absolutely love it to death?

Enjoy the new website and do keep coming back for more!

www.londonloftapartments.co.uk

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Unique-Social-Media-Montage
The last few months have seen us really get going on our social media pages to reach out further to our likely audience but also to attract a wider public, perhaps people who are interested in homes and design but not necessarily looking to buy or sell a property.

This allows us an element of fun in our posts as the aim is not to directly sell something. Yes it’s about increasing the awareness of our brand, but in an entirely different way. Social media, as the term implies, is about being social, not about selling.

This gives us much more freedom in what to post, and to plunder our catalogue of photos built up over the years of selling and letting unique London property. In some ways it’s a real trip down memory lane, rediscovering the incredible houses and apartments we’ve worked on, and reliving the experiences of showing people round.

Our Instagram account of course is the perfect environment for pure property pleasure, whether for homes that are currently available or simply a bit of nostalgic voyeurism. Everyone loves to know how people decorate their homes and to find out what’s behind the doors of many of London’s converted factories, warehouses, schools and other repurposed buildings.

Our Facebook page is proving the perfect environment for alerting the world to what’s available to rent and buy right now and our posts are beginning to garner engagement, likes, shares and comments. We’re approaching 1,800 likes on our page and are committed to breaking through the 2,000 barrier by the end of September.

That just leaves our Twitter feed, and therein lies the challenge. We are keen to avoid being another one of the countless profiles where the only service provided is re-tweeting other people’s ideas. Or, worse, constant “aren’t we great?” tweets. Twitter, to us, should be about sharing unique and useful information and insights. That is what we are determined to offer.

We’re learning exactly what we have to say on a daily basis that is not simply an ego tweet (which – who knew? – most people aren’t so interested in), but that is informative and useful to anyone following us.

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