You and your family have taken a huge step in listing your home for sale. No matter the reason, you have decided to consult a real estate professional and have now found yourself on a journey. A journey on an emotional rollercoaster in signing countless forms, meeting with your listing agent(s)/brokers and performing repairs or improvements prior to sale. With all the stress and headaches, probably the last person you want to hear advice from is a real estate photographer. As a real estate photographer, I can tell you my highest priority is to help you showcase your home at its best and to bring YOU the BEST and HIGHEST offer. It benefits you and your agent more than the photographer, but the goal is to help a would-be buyer envision him or herself in the home.
When preparing for the photoshoot, at a minimum, your house should look clean and organized. Those awards, toy collections, or refrigerator magnets are not going to be left for the new owner, so there is no reason to highlight them in your listing photos. Decluttering goes a long way in showing off your investment and your commitment to turning the property over to the next owner in the best condition possible. There are small details, such as removing garbage cans or making sure toilet seats are down that go a long way. Also, be sure to check every light fixture in the home to ensure they are all not only functional, but that they have working light bulbs that match when illuminated.
With that in mind, I've compiled a list of things (not all inclusive) you should try to work on before your photoshoot.
The point of cleaning up the exterior of the property is to improve the curb appeal. When a family is searching for their dream home, looking at thousands of pictures of homes just like yours in similar areas, you want YOUR home to be the one that catches their eye. When they drive up to your home to look at it for the first time, you want them to fall in love with the property at first glance.
• If you are planning on being at the home on the day of pictures; park vehicles away from the house or put them in the garage (with the garage door closed).
• Freshen up landscaping (spread fresh mulch).
• Remove trash, branches, leaves, etc.
• Remove dead plants, trees, etc.
• Sweep/pressure wash outdoor spaces and walkways.
• Remove visible foliage from the roof and gutters.
• Store outdoor trash and recycling bins - it is best to place them in the garage area or in an outside shed for the photoshoot.
• Store garden hoses and hose caddy.
• Store outdoor tools, equipment, and so on.
• Store toys, bikes, etc.
• Store BBQ and accessories or clean and organize it.
• Wash windows and glass doors.
• Clean outdoor furniture.
• Place pillows, umbrellas, etc., on outdoor furniture.
• Straighten outdoor furniture.
• Store seasonal decor.
• Mow the grass, rake up leaves, pull weeds, and remove any dead vegetation.
• If you have animals, clean up the areas they frequent (dig holes, animal waste, toys, etc.)
SWIMMING POOL AND SPAS
• Get rid of dirt off the bottom and remove debris floating on top.
• Remove the cover, floating chlorine dispenser, pool sweep, and pool toys.
• Straighten lounge chairs, stow cleaning tools, and set up your patio umbrella if you have one.
• Turn on pool light(s), spa bubbles, and waterfalls
• Clear ALL countertops and remove clutter. This includes the kitchen, bathrooms, and everywhere in between.
• DE-PERSONALIZE your home of photos, names, religious or political displays, collections, etc.
• Store portable fans out of view and turn off ceiling fans (for photoshoot only).
• Clean mirrors and windows. (This one should be all CAPS and bold)
• Have carpets professionally cleaned, if necessary, vacuum carpets and polish floors.
• Store wastebaskets and laundry baskets out of sight.
• Store pet dishes, toys, beds, etc.
• Turn off televisions, computers, and dust screens.
• Display attractive books, magazines, etc.
• Store remote controls and chargers.
• Straighten furniture.
• Hide electrical cords and cables. If you have appliances with cords that hang down, it is best to unplug the appliance until after the photoshoot.
• Store toys and video games.
• Store seasonal decor.
• Remove rugs and runners in kitchens, entryways, and bathrooms so that the floor can be seen clearly.
• Remove excess furnishings and knick-knacks from rooms.
• Add fresh elements (fresh flowers, fresh fruit, plants, etc.)
WINDOW SHADES, SHUTTERS, AND BLINDS
• Horizontal blinds and shutters - it is best to keep horizontal blinds down and open the blades in a flat position to see the exterior. The exception is when you do not want to see outside the window (unsightly views or neighbors’ home). In those cases, turn the shutter blades up a little.
• Vertical blinds - usually look best fully open. The most important thing is that any wall with multiple window coverings is adjusted all the same.
• Remove dirty dishes and store food, etc.
• Clear counters of clutter and small appliances.
• Remove refrigerator magnets, photos, etc.
• Clean surfaces (sweep/mop floor and clean countertops and appliances).
• Hide soaps, towels, cleaning items, etc.
• Store draining racks.
• Organize open shelves.
• Minimize photos and personal items.
• Organize bookshelves.
• Minimize knick-knacks.
• Set tables with simple place settings.
• Remove excess furniture and accessories.
• Make the beds correctly and remove wrinkles from bedding.
• Arrange decorative pillows.
• Store clothing and shoes.
• Remove items underneath the bed if they can be seen.
• Tidy master closets.
• Declutter and depersonalize bedside tables.
• Organize children’s rooms and remove clutter.
• Remove laundry and stow hampers.
• Close toilet lids.
• Remove countertop items.
• Remove bath and shower items.
• Store toilet brushes, plungers, and wastebaskets.
• Store towels.
• Store soaps and candles.
Kennith Wheeler Photography LLC is honored at the opportunity to team with you and your agent as you move on to different adventures in life, whether you are scaling up due to a growing family or scaling down due to retirement and travel plans. We HIGHLY encourage you to speak with your agent to ensure you are getting quality real estate photographs. Your home, no matter the price point, deserves to be displayed at its best.
If you are interested in having assistance in staging your home, please give us a call or tell your agent you would like Kennith Wheeler Photography to photograph your home and assist with staging. We look forward to hearing from you.