Take the Time to PREPare
Selling your home can be a stressful process and preparing it for pictures does take work but doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Although your Realtor will certainly help you prepare, not all Realtors are good a prepping a house for pictures so I thought I’d write something up to help you get the best results from a photographer’s point of view who has photographed over 5000 homes.
1 – De-clutter – This is the most important step! Get rid of anything that doesn’t serve a purpose. Go visit new build show homes in your area. Try and make your place look like that. I know its a pain but nothing makes pictures look bad like clutter. Trust me, no one wants to visit a home that looks lived in by YOU. They want to imagine themselves there and if it’s filed with your clutter they can’t do that.
2 – Clean – Walk through your house and any dust that shows at eye level will likely show at camera level. Don’t worry about inside of sinks or the oven (but make sure its clean for showings). Don’t waste time on dusting the bedroom fans, but focus on mirrors.
3 – Staging Services – If your Realtor offers staging services TAKE IT. Experienced stagers know how to make a home look good on camera and are also familiar with the latest trends to make your house look more modern than it might be.
4 – Clear the counters – Make sure your kitchen and bathroom counters are clear of just about everything. This goes with de-cluttering but is often overlooked. If you have too much stuff on your counters they will look smaller than they are. If you have a large kitchen it’s fine to leave nice stuff on there such as a nice mixer or fancy coffee machine but everything else should go.
5 – Add life – Adding some small plants such as the fake ones you can get at Ikea are a good way to add colour to a room while still looking clean.
6 – Lighting – Turn on all your lights and make sure none of the bulbs are burnt. If any of your lightbulbs are soft yellow light, update them to LED daylights. Open all your drapes and curtains to let in as much natural light as possible.
7 – Little Extras – Get rid off all garbage cans, tissue boxes, toilet brushes, phones with long cords, extra electronics, bath mats and entrance mats. These things serve no purpose in the picture and only distract the eyes.
8 – Hide Proof of Pets – Get rid of anything that shows you have pets. Dog bed, cat trees and toys. Not everyone loves animals. If someone sees that you have dogs or cats they might think the house smells like such and judge it without even stepping inside.
9 – Pre-Stage Clutter – We all have extra stuff that we use daily that won’t look good in the pictures but is fine to keep out for showings. See numbers 4 and 7. If you don’t have any room in a closet to store these for the shoot, place them in the hallway by a room such as a guest room, office or bathroom. You photographer can shoot that room first and then put everything in there prior to shooting the rest of the house.
10 – Exteriors – Move the cars out of your driveway. Your home exterior will look much nicer without anything blocking the view. Move all the vehicles out of your driveway and make sure all garbage cans are in the garage. If anything can’t be put in the garage move it to the end of the driveway closest to the street, it won’t show in the picture.
Below are a few things to remember not to do if you want your pictures to look good and want your photographer to go that extra mile for you. We photograph multiple homes a day and can only dedicate a certain amount of time to your home.
1 – Expect photographer to stage or clean – Your photographer is not a stager nor your cleaner. We don’t schedule time for that. We will absolutely make recommendations on some things such as a chair location or adding some flowers here or there and we’ll move things that don’t look right.
2 – Peek a boo, I see you – Don’t hide things on chairs, under beds, in the microwave or oven. They will show in the pictures and its possible the photographer won’t notice them until they get home and see the image on a computer screen, by then it’s too late.
3 – Go room by Room – Don’t think going room by room and staging, de-cluttering, moving things out of the way one room at a time is going to work. We don’t have time for that and it just won’t work. See my comments or Pre-Staging Clutter above.
4 – Play Shadow – No one likes to have someone look over their shoulder while they work. Your photographer is the same. Your Realtor uses us because they trust our work. You should too.