Learn with your eyes

Learn with your eyes

Humans have a natural bias for what’s aesthetic and well designed.

As property developers we should always aim at creating a well designed product. Improving the design of our properties (both aesthetics and use of space) is in fact the strongest weapon we have to:

1) Stand out from te crowd

2) Ensure clients’ satisfaction

3) Increse profit and decrease expenses in the long run

Of course, if the scale of the project is large enough, investing in design consultation from a specialist design firm may be one of the best ways to make sure your property product stands out in an increasingly competitive market.

However, smaller projects too should receive the appropriate attention to ensure the best clients (either tenants or buyers) will choose them over the competition.
At AGAPE we monitor the market all the time during our property searches and we noticed that many “newly refurbished” properties often end up being reduced and then sold or rented for not that much more than old tired ones. If they are sold or rented at all.

Almost always these properties happen to be what we call “magnolia disasters”. I’m sure we’ve all seen one of these: a property with a basic brown new kitchen, a brown cheap carpet, white square tiles in the bathroom and magnolia paint throughout.

Contractors call it “the blank canvas” and surely enough following this blueprint saves developers a few hundreds when refurbishing. As a matter of fact this model is so widespread that properties that have been “modernised” according to its standard are EVERYWHERE.

Now, here is the question: in a discount supermarket filled with unknown brands and similar packages, what do customers use as a reference for making a choice? Price, obviously.

Other question: why do people often end up buying something when going through a market, even if they had not planned for it?

Here the answer is less straightforward, but research in human psychology shows that people’s choices are often driven by their emotions first and only subsequently justified by reason.

Street food sellers have known this for thousands of years and my first lesson as a fruit market salesman was precisely that: “Make sure the stall is covered with luscious, colourful, abundant fruit -and offer loads of little tasters”

The bottom line is: in absence of a distinct set of appealing features, products can only hope to stand out because of being cheap.

When people choose to buy or rent a property they are making a purchase. Unless they are investors themselves, they will ask themselves 3 questions:

  1. Do I see myself living well here?
  2. Can I afford it?
  3. Is this the one I like the most? (If so and can’t afford it, am I sure I can’t afford it?)

A well designed property will tickle prospective buyers’ or tenants’ senses like the fresh produce on a full market stall. If it’s aesthetically pleasing, the property will push them to justify small defects, on the other hand an anonymous design will make them more inclined to haggle or even move on altogether.

Good design in the form of intelligent use of space and ease of use/access to the various features and fittings will then ensure that maintenance is minimised and that the living space becomes bigger (and appears even bigger).

This is not just some abstract idea: this is something we are all subject to and MUST be aware of all the time!

Sometime ago I moved home myself and it was definitely a sobering experience that pushed me to invest even more in making sure AGAPE’s design expertise is second to none.

As it turned out, despite being a property developer myself, I could not help but looking at properties with different eyes because this property was going to be My partner’s and My “home“.

This is one subtle difference between most property developers or builders and prospective tenants and buyers. The first ones look at properties as houses, the latter as homes.

(Can you see WHY the above kitchen is NOT appealing? Would you know how to quickly turning it around through well design, without overspending?)
During my few years of experience with AGAPE I must say that, unfortunately, one of the phrases I heard the most from both trades and agents is “you don’t need to spend to make such and such become that nice! at the end of the day this is not your home”. Usually they say this to justify a certain price and make you believe you can make more profit (and give them more money) if you save on certain cosmetic changes.

At the very beginnings of my career in property, I even listened to this advice once or twice.

Oh boy! How I wish now I had paid someone with more design experience back then to advise me better. Every penny I saved by listening to that advice at the start of my career I have later on lost with interest.

Thankfully, I quickly learned from my mistakes and I have since invested both in my personal design knowledge and in AGAPE’s range of consultants. Now, as a company, we have made of delivering quality properties that are also well-designed homes our company motto.

We are also here to assist others because we believe that sharing our knowledge will help both other investors, in their growth within the property market, and our brand, in establishing itself as a synonym of quality property development.

For those who want a 1-to-1 design advice on their developments/refurbishments, we have now launched a new product in our investment store (see Invest section of this website).

For those who want to check us out first, you can reach us at info@agapehomes.co.uk or go to our Contact us section. Calling or emailing us is free and you’ll be under no obligation to purchase any of our services.

Finally, for those of you who like to constantly learn from the world around us, here is a tip: look for good design or well-designed details in buildings around you. Then take pictures and notes!

You’d be surprised at how many sources of inspiration you’ll find: the boutique HMO where your friend lives in, your local airport, a new build designed by a big development corporation, the flat of an interior designer who hosts parties in your neighbourhood, and so on…

Here are some pictures I took recently with my phone as a source of inspiration for AGAPE’s team:

See you next time for another property top tip from AGAPE PROPERTIES.