In today’s competitive market, the first view of your property is often online, and if the photos accompanying your home’s listing don’t impress, you probably won’t get a second chance to lure in that potential buyer — meaning your real estate photos are an essential asset when it comes to selling your home.
Clean the windows and open the shades.
Ample light can go a long way toward making your home shine in photos, so get those windows sparkling clean, and open the shades and curtains wide.
Perk up house plants
Fresh green plants add a feeling of life and vibrancy to interior photos. Ailing plants, not so much. Trim away dead leaves with a pair of sharp scissors. Dust large-leaved plants with a soft cloth.
Remove counter clutter
Gleaming, clutter-free counters will make your kitchen look more spacious. Put away everything, then clean counters well. It’s fine to leave out one or two small appliances, such as the toaster and coffee maker, but stash anything extra, as well as small appliances that have seen better days.
Polish wood floors and shine up appliances
Wood floors can be a major selling point, so be sure they look their best in photos by treating them to a thorough cleaning, and finish with a product that is safe for your floors. The same goes for those stainless-steel appliances — using a product designed for stainless steel, buff the surface until it gleams.
Hide toiletries and freshen bathrooms
Aside from a fresh bar of soap at the sink, the bathroom should be completely free of toiletries — too many products crowding the sink and shower suggest that there’s not enough storage space. Pull open the shower curtain, clean the mirror, put the toilet seats down and turn on the lights. Remove old towels and put out fresh, fluffy white towels if you have them. If not, just leave the towel racks bare.
Neatly tuck in bedcovers
Photographs seem to pick up every little imperfection, so spend an extra few minutes straightening up the beds on picture day. Fluff up the pillows, pull the bedcovers taut, and clear away clutter and personal items from the bedside tables.
Do a photo-ready walk-through
The aim on photo day should be to make your house look as spacious, clean, and inviting as possible — so it’s in your interest to declutter as much as possible. Here are some under-the-radar items you may want to stash before the photographer arrives:
- Shoes in the entryway
- Piles of mail and paperwork
- Remote controls
- Kids’ toys that can’t be put neatly away
- Pet food bowls, beds, and litter boxes (temporarily move these to an area that won’t be photographed)
- Front-of-fridge clutter (magnets, photos, cards)
Switch on all lights.
Unless your home is flooded with natural light or you know that your real estate photographer will be using portable studio lighting, the general rule is to turn on all lights. Don’t assume that photographers will do this for you because they may miss some or may not find every switch. So, take a moment before you go to turn on lights, and double-check that curtains and shades are pulled open as well.
Highlight special features
Have a lovely working gas fireplace or an outdoor fire pit? Make sure it’s lit on photo day. Likewise, if you have a hot tub or a pool in the backyard, make sure it’s uncovered and clean for the photos.
Focus on the first impression
This isn’t the time to worry about major landscape changes or reviving a dead lawn. Instead, focus on the quick fixes that will make a positive impression in a head-on photo of your home. Deadhead flowers, rake leaves, clear away porch, and driveway clutter, and set out a few pots of blooming flowers.