Local Professionals get together to discuss and advise on our unique and busy property market
Sophie-Louise Bynam, Interior Architectural Designer
You think to yourself how hard can this be, people do their homes up every day? You’ve probably scrolled social media for hours, saved hundreds of images on Pinterest maybe even put your dream furniture in the basket at your favourite store but something is not clicking. You can’t seem to visualise it all, decisions on the kitchen, bathroom layouts, colours, materials and suddenly you are overwhelmed. We can all say we’ve been indecisive in life be it that outfit you want to wear to a big event, or that new car you can’t choose. Well luckily with Interiors you can get someone to take all that stress away and make the decisions for you.
Whilst hiring an interior designer can seem daunting, you worry will they listen to me? Will they throw every colour at your walls and ignore your vision so your home no longer feels like yours? In fact, this is quite the opposite. Most interior designers will be professionally trained, some spending years perfecting their art, and one of the main things they have learnt in this time is the importance of building relationships. It can be hard to imagine relinquishing control to a stranger, so the first priority for a designer is always getting to know the clients. They like to get to know how you work, what you do, your day to day needs and your goals and desires. Once they have achieved this, all the other training comes into play, the formulas they have learnt for space planning, how colours work and the way they can evoke emotions, materials and the tactile properties they possess. The cogs start the minute a designer meets the client listening intently to what your style is and what you want to achieve with the spaces, the main goal is to inject a new perspective into your thoughts and come up with creative solutions for problems you hadn’t even found yet. This is achieved by creating mood boards; these portray the style, colour and even furniture you imagine being in each space, they may also produce plans, sketches and 3D visualisations.
They will take care of the budget, create schedules, but perhaps one of the biggest advantages of hiring an Interior designer is the advantage in accessing their knowledge. Knowledge of the best suppliers of products, materials, paints and finishes. From years of experience, they will know which are the finest in the craft, where to go for each and which craftsmen to get to fit them. An Interior designer will be there to take responsibility off your hands and bring your vision to fruition. They have for years carried with them a stigma that you should only hire them if it is an extensive project. Contrary to popular belief they will relish in helping you with a simple colour scheme or that bathroom layout you can’t get quite right. This is their job, and they are passionate about every part, even where your favourite vase should be placed! So next time you need help in your home or new space, an interior designer is there to help; and when they’re finished, your home will not only be beautiful, but it will be functional and well thought out.
Simon Torode, Founder, CEO, Livingroom Estate Agents
The way in which property is sold has changed so much - even in the past five years. Social media has been a big part of the transition together with how properties are presented to the market.
You might have heard about US TV shows such as Selling Sunset and Million Dollar Listing, which have glamorised estate agency far beyond reality, but nonetheless demonstrate the importance of property marketing. The expectations of quality presentation have never been more important to not only sell the property, but also the lifestyle that it represents.
The whole nature of the industry has evolved immensely. I remember when I started as a junior in a local agency running the camera films to Boots, collecting the prints and sticking them on single-page sheets - oh how it’s changed! Luckily, presentation has always been a key USP of our offering so we have been pretty well equipped to evolve with the changing market.
The power of social media
Since 2006, we have sought varying ways to sell property and were the first agent in the Channel Islands to embrace using social media as a selling tool. We started at zero and now have the largest following in our industry within the Channel Islands - with 22,786 followers on Facebook between Livingroom and our community pages ‘I am Guernsey/Jersey.’
In the 28 days from 28 July to 25 August this year, our Guernsey Facebook page reached 72,496 people with 57,611 post engagements and Instagram brought a reach of 31,355 users. In Jersey, our Facebook page reached 78,718 people with 192,176 post engagements, and Instagram 29,346. So in 28 days alone, we have reached 211,915 targeted viewers. For our Guernsey Facebook page, 84.5% of users were local to the island and in Jersey the figure reached 85.5%.
It is this kind of immediate direct marketing that has changed how quickly a product can be launched and how far the message can be sent. Global awareness of what our islands offer can never be a bad thing when we have such a ‘picture perfect’ environment. I’ve been lucky enough to travel the world and in more recent years have observed and heard that awareness of the islands seems much more prevalent - by and large due to online presentation.
So what are the pitfalls of social media as a sales tool?
Commentary is simply more accessible in our current age. In previous decades the same kind of commentary existed but was spoken in person - in the workplace, pub or between friends and family. Judgement has always existed and property is always a popular talking point.
As a company, we have a zero-tolerance policy against defamatory comments that can harm either the property or vendor we represent - safe to say it’s a full-time job monitoring our channels, but we do it and that’s our promise to our clients. It’s neither censorship nor is it contrived, it’s just a necessary evil in a world where keyboard warriors usually have an underlying grudge to bear.
As an agency, our level of evolution also has to balance with protection for our clients. Of course, there are homes that are simply not marketed and over the past two years more than ever, known buyers are matched behind the scenes.
A big pitfall is when you are as active online as we are, people expect to see everything within social media streams, which is foolhardy. So many people are missing out by not registering directly with companies after simply believing that their online presence is their only existence and forgetting it is just an ancillary tool - albeit with huge power.
To work with an established Channel Island estate agent which understands the power of marketing, get in touch with Livingroom at www.livingroomproperty.com