According to a survey by the National Association of Realtors®, 89% of homebuyers notice photos first when looking for a home. Make sure that you make that first impression a great one by hiring a professional to take your photos.
But, before the photographer arrives on site, it’s important to make sure that you have prepared the home. The time taken here will not only ensure that your home looks great, but it will also save a considerable amount of time, allowing you to get on with your life instead of hiding from the camera.
Here are some tips to get you started.
Inside the Home
- De-clutter as much as possible. Put away toys, clothing, dishes, towels, shoes, etc. Often things can be removed by the photographer using Photoshop, but this adds time, cost and, frankly, it never looks as good as the real thing
- Remove any seasonal/holiday decorations that can quickly date your photos
- Dust and vacuum
- Make all the beds, fluff all the pillows, and check the bed skirts.
- Store away phone/tablet charging cables
- Clean the kitchen sink and put away all the dishes
- Clear all kitchen countertops and put away toasters, can openers, etc.
- Straighten all chairs, space them evenly and remove child seats/booster chairs
- Remove all valuables such as jewelry, watches, etc.
- Make note of any paintings that should not be shown – they can be blurred during editing
- Clear all bathroom countertops and put away all personal items
- Clear refrigerator magnets, papers, photos, etc.
- Remove all bottles, soaps, etc. from the shower
- Put out the guest towels and hide all the others
- Hide all trash cans
- Remove all magnets and decorations from the refrigerator
- If there are pets, hide all food/water bowls, pet beds, and pet toys
- Put all toilet seats and lids down
- Replace all burned-out light bulbs, and make sure that all of the bulbs in a room are of the same type – e.g. do not mix incandescent with LEDs
- Consider a decorative place setting if available, or putting out vases of fresh flowers
- Place all shoes/jackets in closets
Outside the Home
- Have the lawn trimmed, leaves raked, bushes, and trees pruned
- Clean up after any animal
- Put away all garbage cans, hoses, garden tools, toys, bikes, etc.
- Turn on any outside lights, especially if twilight photos will be taken
- Fully open the umbrellas on any patio sets
- When in season, uncover grills
- Remove any seasonal/holiday decorations
Before the Photographer Arrives
- Turn on ALL interior lights – even lights in furniture cabinets. Some lights take a while to warm up, so do this well in advance.
- Turn OFF all ceiling fans.
- Turn off TVs and computer monitors
- Light fireplaces and candles
- Open all blinds, shades, and curtains
- Remove vehicles from the driveway and the street in front of the home and close garage doors
- Secure any animals in a safe location, away from all rooms being photographed. I love animals, but even friendly ones can cause problems by wandering into shots, particularly if HDR exposures are being used
Note: Do not turn off any lights until the photographer has completely finished. Depending the shoot, it often takes several runs through a property – e.g. photos, followed by a floor plan, followed by 3D Photos and then video. The lights need to be on throughout to avoid delays and inconsistent lighting caused by lights that need to warm up.