Preparing Your Real Estate Listing
For A Photo Shoot
The photographs of your home are the most important part of making a great first impression! Simple preparations that can easily be accomplished will ensure that your home looks its best. Hiring a professional stager or completing this basic home preparation checklist will greatly enhance the quality of your images and showings! Prepping for a photo shoot covers many of the same steps you would have to perform anyway for more impactful showings and open houses, so the effort will benefit you beyond the photo session. Please complete this checklist before the photographer arrives makes the process quicker with better results for that crucial first impression. Remember, less is more!
#1 Clean up your clutter!
De-decorate and De-personalize.
Remove excess furnishings and knick-knacks that will distract from the homes features.
Turn on all lamps and overhead lighting in the home. Dont forget the surface lights on the stove and under cabinets.
Replace all missing or burnt out light bulbs. Be careful to use bulbs that have a similar light color.
Open all blinds and curtains (unless there is an unappealing view you do not want in the photographs.)
Move cords out of sight (lamp, extension, computer, etc.)
Remove items plugged into outlets that sit on countertops (phones, phone chargers, appliances, etc.)
Remove all personal photographs.
Stop all ceiling fans.
Clean dirty windows.
Clean mirrors and glass surfaces.
Vaccuum / mop the floors.
Dust furniture and countertops.
Remove throw rugs and runners in entryways, kitchens, and bathrooms to show off your floors.
The front exterior is the very first image potential homebuyers see. Having great CURB APPEAL will draw them in to view more!
Hire a landscaper if possible.
Remove trash cans from sight.
Close garage doors.
Put away garden hoses.
Remove all cars, boats, motorcycles, RVs, bicycles, etc. from driveway. Do not park directly in front of the house unless you live on a busy street and need to reserve the spot so the car can be removed at the time of the shoot (providing for a clear shot of the house.) Please ensure keys are left to move vehicles if owner is not home and it is necessary to move the vehicle from the shot.
Take grill cover off and hide propane tank, or simply remove grill altogether.
Cut the grass a few days before the shoot.
Rake up leaves and fallen limbs.
Pull weeds, trim overgrown shrubs and low-hanging tree branches.
Hide yard tools, garden hoses, dead plants, empty pots, etc.
Arrange and wipe down outdoor furniture and put cushions on if you have them.
Replace missing shutters.
Open patio umbrellas.
Stow away toys, etc.
Pick up pet waste.
Turn porch lights on (but not flood lights.)
Sweep deck, patios, sidewalks, and driveway.
Remove seasonal decorations.
If you want to go the extra mile outside, here are some extra tasks you could tackle:
Pressure wash driveway, sidewalks, patios, decks, etc.
Plant some bright flowers in empty planters and pots.
Freshly mulch the flower beds.
SWIMMING POOL & SPA
Ensure pool is clean. Sweep dirt off of the bottom and skim the debris floating on top.
Remove pool cover, pool sweep, floating chlorine dispenser.
Straighten lounge chairs.
Set up and open patio umbrella if you have one.
Turn on pool lights, waterfalls, and spa bubbles.
Remove all pool cleaners and poles.
Remove all pool toys.
Remove security gates.
LIVING & FAMILY ROOM
Hide remote controls.
Set out a couple nice books or magazines on the coffee table.
Turn off the television.
Remove all toys.
Remove all game consoles.
Remove exercise bikes and equipment.
Arrange dvds, games, books neatly in shelves.
Arrange and fluff pillows on sofa and other seating areas.
Remove odd sized, bright, or clashing and over cluttered books from shelves.
A fresh and bright floral arrangement in a corner or on coffee table will look attractive.
Light the fireplace if you have one.
Remove all appliances, knife blocks, gadgets, and clutter from kitchen counters.
Remove all magnets, pictures, etc. from the refrigerator.
Remove all floor mats.
Remove all dishes from the sink.
Remove any cleaning supplies (sponges, hand towels, dish rack, soaps, etc.)
Remove child-proof latches on cabinets and drawers.
Stage your counter with a bowl of bright fruits (apples, lemons, oranges.)
A fresh floral centerpiece on kitchen table.
Turn on stove and under counter lights.
Clean all major appliances (refrigerator, oven, stove top, range hood, microwave, dishwasher, etc.)
Clean back splash.
Remove trash can from view.
Stage the stovetop with a teapot if you would like.
Set the table with nice dinnerware as if you were hosting a dinner party, or at a minimum place a centerpiece on the table.
Turn on china cabinet lights.
Make sure beds are neatly made.
Avoid hiding items under the beds as they might be seen in the photographs.
For your family's safety, remove children's names from their bedroom.
Clear all personal items off of bedside tables.
Remove laundry baskets.
Clothes hung or folded and put away.
Put shoes away.
Remove posters and sticker from children's walls.
Remove cluttered toys.
Light the fireplace if you have one.
If walk-in are requested to be photographed, they should be neat and organized.
Clear family pictures.
Remove all personal items out of the shower and bathtub.
Remove all personal items from the bathroom counter tops.
Close lids on all toilets.
Remove all floor mats.
Remove cloth toilet lid covers.
Remove the trash can.
Remove cleaning items (toilet wand, etc.)
Ensure toilet roll is not empty, or place a new one on.
Open shower curtain.
Neatly hang a few clean color complementary towels and hand towels.
A candle or small plant might look nice next to the sink or bathtub.
Clean mirrors and shower doors.
Contain pets in an area of the home that will not be photographed, such as the garage or a utility room.
Remove all signs that you have a pet. (pet crates, beds, litter box, food and water bowls, scratching posts, towers, etc.)
OTHER INFORMATION ABOUT THE SHOOT
I recommend that the home owner not be present at the time of the shoot, but I understand if that is not possible or if you wish to watch the photo shoot. If the homeowner stays at home during the shoot, I ask that you give plenty of space for the photo shoot process. The best results are created when the sellers leave the area for the duration of the shoot. This helps the Realtor and photographer to plan and talk about the shots they want, and easily move around the property.
While some steps may not always be applicable or even possible, the more you can do to prepare a proper for a photo shoot in advance, the better the result. I photograph the home as is, so even a little effort trying to follow these tips will make a big difference!
I will be photographing both the inside and outside of your home. I’ll be photographing all of the major rooms. I normally do not photograph the garage, laundry room, and closets unless they have special features. If you have special features of your home that are not obvious, please let me know about these so I include them in the shoot. If you would like these spaces photographed, prep them just as well as the rest of the home. Let me know if your home contains valuable works of art. I can edit photos to make these items unrecognizable or make sure not to capture them in the shot.
Do not schedule another professional to service the home during the time of the shoot (lawn care, maid, plumber, etc.)
I hope this little checklist helps with the preparation and overall that sale of your home!