Not many people would try to sell their car without cleaning it out and giving it a good wash so it’s a curious thing that when it comes to houses there are websites dedicated to showing just how bad some people are at presenting their most valuable assets to the market.

It boils down to this: unless you can convince your untidy clients to do a better job preparing their homes for your photos and viewings, you’re likely to spend quite a lot of your money preparing brochures and advertising poorly presented property in the papers and on the portals. And if they don’t sell, you’re going to get all the blame!

I was an agent myself so I know that telling your clients the truth is a little like telling the Emperor he’s wearing no clothes. Nobody wants to risk losing an instruction, especially in this day and age; but there are strategies you can use nevertheless that will still help you win the instruction, and make you look more professional than your competitors because they’d rather waste their money than do the right thing.

The key to this is ‘WIIFM’. Human nature dictates that there’s a ‘What’s in it For Me’ reason behind most people’s actions, even the charitable ones. And the WIIFM that will get your clients to don their Marigolds is that they’ll optimise their selling price if they make the effort.

You need to point out that the first impression everyone will have of their home will be the photos you take. Clients also need to remember that they’re in competition with maybe hundreds of similar homes so the objective is to make theirs stand out enough that the buyers will want to click and view. The more often that happens, the more likely your clients will get sales without having to discount their price.

The soft way into this is to point out the important role photos play in attracting the best interest, and to suggest to your clients that they buy fruit and flowers in time for your photography. This is another way of saying, ‘For the sake of all that is holy, please tidy up’. The theory is that clients wouldn’t spend money on those kinds of accessory without also remembering to empty the sink and make the bed.

Another approach that I’ve used very successfully is to give them a list of things they can do but to let them know that they’re suggestions, not rules – at the same time as pointing out that the photos are the first thing everyone will see when their home hits the market. The idea is to help guide your clients, not dictate to them.

I’ve provided a copy of my leaflet via this link. You’re welcome to plagiarise it or to write your own. What you’ll find is that the vast majority of your clients will thank you because you will have helped them to think of something that many wouldn’t have thought about for themselves.

Believe it or not, most people want to get the best price for their home but they need a professional like you to guide them.