The Importance of a Floor Plan
Are you selling or leasing your property? You can trust your real estate agent to show off your property at its best. Don’t houses feel fresh when they’re empty? Aren’t apartments seductive with the latest and most fashionable showroom furniture? Those professional photographs are what will make your prospective buyer or renter fall in love with your property. Clean white lines, an artistically placed throw rug, and some software-enhanced sunlight is what will make your property stand out online. But that’s the thing with photographs, we al know they can be unintentionally deceptive; it can be hard to tell how big that room really is, if the built-in goes all the way to ceiling, or if your lounge suite will fit that space. When buyers or renters are hunting properties online, there is one thing that will make their search easier, and your listing all the more desirable: a floor plan.
The Critical Pre-Inspection Phase
The property hunt usually begins online or on an app. For most people living busy lives, the majority of the research process happens from their own home. It is only when someone has spent evenings at home looking through online listings, mapping their potential route to work, imagining where furniture will go, checking out Google street view, and picturing where they’ll park their car, that someone begins inspecting properties in person. Property inspections can be difficult to schedule, overlap with work during the week or sport activities on the weekend, and take time out of people’s busy lives. As a result, it’s not common for someone to attend thirty inspections in the month leading up to a move or purchase. Even though inspections are the best way to see if a property will suit, it’s not the way most people go about hunting for properties. Online real estate websites allow people the luxury of checking out thirty properties without needing to travel or fit in an inspection. As a result, the online listing for your property is critical. You want to draw people in even before they inspect. How do you do that? Keep reading to find out.
What is a floor plan?
If the roof your property could be lifted off and bird flew over it, a floor plan is the birds-eye-view of your property without its roof. A floor plan is a 2D scale drawing that indicates the room layout, location of walls, doors, and windows. A floor plan often indicates built-in features such as wardrobes, kitchen units, and bathroom fittings. Floor plans allow buyers and renters to understand the essence of the property, the spaces, how the spaces interact, outlooks, and flow. The most important aspect of a floor plan is its accurate scale. Scale drawings maintain the correct proportions and measurements of actual objects but scale them down to manageable sizes. Maps use a scale to represent a large area on a small surface; i.e.. 1km = 1cm. Why is scale so important in a floor plan? Maintaining accurate scale results in precisely proportioned spaces, giving the buyer/renter a true representation of the relative size of spaces in the property.
A ‘Sexy’ Floor Plan
In the architectural field, a ‘sexy’ floor plan is one that uses color and surface rendering. Instead of a classic black line drawing on a white background, there are ways to make the plan more eye-catching and expressive. One method is color coding; shade the bathrooms one color, the bedrooms another color, and public/open spaces a different color again. This helps buyers/renters appreciate the balance of spaces quickly (after all, we’re not all architects or interior designers by trade). Another ‘sexy’ method is using surface renders. To give buyers/renters an even more detailed picture of the property you can add rendering. Rendering surfaces such as the kitchen and bathroom floor with tiles, the living space with floorboards, and the bedrooms with carpet indicates where surfaces change, how they interact, and the purpose of the rooms. In open plan kitchen, dining, and living spaces that aren’t separated by walls, rendering gives the property hunter a better idea of where the kitchen space ends and where the lounge room begins (ie. where the tiles and floorboards meet).
The Imagining Phase: How photos and the floor plan work together
This phase is where success lies. The imagining phase begins when a prospective buyer/renter looks seriously at the property description and photographs in an attempt to piece together a mind-picture of the property. Some people find this easier than others. Some property listings provide 15 photographs of a 2 bedroom apartment, leaving not much left for the imagination, whilst some property listings only show 5 shots of a 3 three-bedroom house. How can a buyer/renter piece together an accurate understanding of the building? The power of a floor plan is this: in the imagining phase a buyer/renter can use the photographs together with the floor plan to build a cohesive and comprehensive vision of the property. With a floor plan, someone can see past the distorted photograph and understand the actual size of a room. Photography can only go so far to represent the flow of spaces and hardly ever captures the ‘in-between’ spaces like foyers, corridors, and entry-ways. A floor plan provides the bigger picture for understanding how spaces connect and what the flow between rooms might be like. In the imagining phase a buyer/renter is desperate to know if their furniture will fit, and may even be excited to plan how they might arrange objects in the space. Without a floor plan this is almost impossible for a property hunter to do. Photos just don’t give that information. But combine beautiful photos of the rooms with a floor plan that describes the dimensions and layout of the rooms, and the property hunter has all the information they need to engage in the imagining phase. They’ll be hooked!
Essentials for your floor plan
- Providing an accurate scale bar at the bottom of the drawing is essential
- Including some basic furniture in your floor plan can help indicate scale faster than anything else
- Put an arrow or simple compass in the top right corner of your floor plan to indicate true North
- Indicating the orientation of your property is an awesome detail to give buyers/renters a clear understanding of the building’s aspect, which rooms will get morning light, and which spaces face the setting sun
- If a savvy buyer/renter can see that your property’s living space windows face North, then you’ve given yourself a gold star
- Keep the floor plan simple, clean, and uncomplicated
- Do not use construction plans with information the buyer/renter doesn’t need to know and which just look cluttered
- Even a ‘sexy’ floor plan shouldn’t look overcrowded
- Choose black and white or a consistent set of muted colours
- Too many details can kill the floor plan
- A very effective and quick way of delineating spaces is by making the outmost walls a thicker line weight than the interior walls
- Using line thickness to indicate exterior and interior walls makes the floor plan dramatic and easy to read
- If your property has outdoor spaces then line weights can be helpful to indicate that the verandah or patio is separate to the interior rooms
Windows and doors
- Clearly indicate a break in the wall line where there are openings for windows or doors
- Thick exterior walls should be broken to show window locations
- Thin interior walls should be broken to show the location of doors
- Including door swing is optional but can be helpful – be sure to draw the correct door swing direction
- Site plans are essentially floor plans that extend beyond the parameters of the building to indicate access, external buildings, or external features such as pools
- If your property includes an external garage, shed, pool, patio or driveway an additional site plan showing their spatial relation to the main building is advised
- Include in your site plan the property’s orientation to the street
A Clear Winner
Floor plans improve a buyers/renters understanding of the property. With a floor plan your property will succeed in the online pre-inspection phase and live vividly in the imagining phase. Combine professional photos that capture the beauty of the spaces and a floor plan that communicates the functionality of the building to hook buyers and renters. With a floor plan your property will get the serious attention it deserves and your online listing will culminate in victorious property inspections.