The Cost of Poorly Presented Properties

Despite my best efforts to spread the word that quality property photographs of well-dressed rooms will more than pay for themselves, there are still Landlords who just don’t get it. This case study is of a Landlord Photography client. This actually happened and unfortunately, isn’t that uncommon.

We work with a number of Estate Agents and Letting Agents. One of our Letting Agency clients came to us as they had a 5 Bed HMO that had sat empty for over 2 months with very little interest and certainly no tenants moving in. The monthly rent on that property when full is around £2,000. As the property was empty for over 2 months, the Landlord had already lost over £4,000 in rent. However, the Landlord was still paying the mortgage, council tax, gas, electricity, water and broadband. This pushed the total cost and lost revenue to well over £5,000.

As you can probably imagine, the Landlord was getting desperate to get the property filled. The Letting Agent was not too pleased either. They had an unhappy client and a property sat on their books making them no money.

Reduce the Rental Price

The marketing of the property had two very obvious issues: undressed rooms and photographs that needed improving. Therefore, when the property appeared in searches on the portals, prospective tenants were skipping straight over the property as the photos were not strong enough to get a click through. At this point, many Agents and Landlords would consider reducing the price of the property. Even if they had reduced the rooms by as little as £25 (which may not have been enough to get the property filled), that would result in £1,500 of lost rent per year!!!

The Power of Properly Presented Properties

Fortunately for this Landlord, the Agent had worked with Landlord Photography before and gave us a call to help. The Landlord had the foresight to agree to engaging us. Let’s face it, it can feel counterintuitive, you have a ‘problem’ property that is costing a load of money sat empty, so the last thing you want to do is spend more money on it.  With the Agent and Landlords agreement, Landlord Photography went in and dressed a couple of rooms and we took professional photographs of the whole house.

Did it make a difference to the property marketing? YES!!!

Remember, this 5 Bed HMO had sat empty for over 2 months with very little interest. Once the new photographs went live the property was full within a week.

Therefore, if that Landlord or Agent had called us just as the property was coming to the market, rather than waiting over two months, we could have saved the Landlord his over £5,000 loss. However, it is not just the financial cost to both the Landlord and Agent (yes, the agent loses out too – there is no management fee on an empty house…) but the unnecessary stress that it causes as well. However, it could have been worse, many Agents and Landlords would have reduced the price of the rooms rather than call us, I don’t even want to think about how much that would have cost over time! Our fee for dressing the property and taking professional photographs was a tiny percentage of the Landlord’s loss.

If this doesn’t show how good quality photographs of well-presented rooms can make both Landlord and Agents more money, then I am not sure what would!

Here is the bit you have probably been waiting for, the before and after shots:


Property Photographer


Property Photographer

Put yourself in the shoes of a prospective tenant. You have done a search on one of the portals and have loads of properties appear in your search. Out of the two photos above, which one are you more likely to click on?

The Market Has Changed

Let’s face it, a few years ago, you may have gotten away with photos like the before shots above. However, the market across the UK has shifted dramatically, especially in the HMO market. With all the focus that HMOs have got in recent years for being a high cash flowing property strategy, it is hardly surprising that in many areas supply is outstripping demand. This means, to keep properties tenanted and voids as low as possible, the Landlords and Agents need to make sure that their marketing stands out in a crowded market. Great quality photos are one of the tools that the smart Landlords and Agents are using to make their product really stand out.

Contact the Author

This article was written by Paul Darvell, the Founder of Landlord Photography, the specialist Property Photography company. Paul can be reached at

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