Real estate photos offer a first look into a home for potential buyers. Poor images will make people click through quickly and move onto the next listing without giving the house a second thought. Putting a little extra effort into sprucing up your home before real estate photos goes a long way toward securing a fast sale.
Clean the windows, and open the curtains and shades
Letting in as much natural light as possible helps make your house look its best. Give your windows a thorough cleaning, both inside and out. If you don't have double hung windows or aren't comfortable cleaning the outside of the windows, consider hiring a window cleaning company. The day of your real estate photos, open the curtains and shades.
Turn on all of the lights and turn off the ceiling fans
Unless your house is bathed in brilliant natural lighting, your real estate photos will greatly benefit from added interior lighting. Don't assume that the real estate agent will switch on the lights for you. Switch on overhead lights as well as small fixtures that highlight the details of the house, such as in-cabinet lighting. As you turn on the lights, switch off the ceiling fans. Ceiling fans can cast strange shadows on the walls and floor. They also produce movement, which may add distracting elements to the photos, such as moving window blinds.
Clean the floors, and polish the appliances
The week before your real estate photos, allow time to clean the floors and polish the appliances, so you aren't scrambling to finish these tasks on photo day. Thoroughly clean the floors in the house, giving special attention to hardwood floors, which are a significant selling point for any home. Once you've cleaned them, complete the process with a finishing wax or similar product. Then shine up your stainless steel appliances, leaving them flawless and glossy.
De-clutter the countertops, tables, and other large surfaces
Clutter-free surfaces give a home a streamlined aesthetic and make it appear more spacious. Leaving a handful of appliances and tasteful, neutral décor items is excellent, as it helps people picture the space in use more efficiently. Start with the kitchen countertops, kitchen and dining room tables, and bathroom countertops, as a high-quality kitchen and bathrooms are among the top priorities for most home buyers. Then move onto the living room coffee table and end tables, entryway consul, and bedroom nightstands. When you do a final walkthrough of the house right before the realtor takes photos, you'll be able to pick up any remaining stray items and make final adjustments to the décor.
Make the beds
Making the beds is a simple final step on real estate photo day to make your listing photographs polished and professional. Take a few extra seconds to fluff up and arrange the pillows just so and tuck in the sheets and blankets on the bottom and sides of the bed like they do in a hotel.
Spruce up the curb appeal
Assess the condition of the exterior of the property. Replacing worn out exterior elements, such as a doorbell, mailbox, or railing, brightens up the entire home. Keep the sidewalks clear of toys and garden tools. In the spring and summer, mow weekly and keep the bushes trimmed and the flower beds tidy. In the fall, rake the leaves regularly. In the winter, clear snow and ice promptly and salt the sidewalks and driveway often. Every night do a quick sweep through the yard to pick up any toys, lawn tools, and other items that may have been left out during the day.
Focus on the first impression
Getting a home ready to put on the market isn't the time to make significant changes to the property. While it would be great to overhaul the landscaping or get all new windows, these projects aren't realistic for a listing time frame. Instead, concentrate on quick improvements that will offer the most bang for the buck. Instead of redoing the entire landscaping, remove dead plants, rake the leaves away from the bushes, and add a few new plants.
Highlight the unique features of the home
Draw attention to the special features of your house that you know will be attractive to potential buyers. Discuss these features with your realtor before him/her taking photos and writing up a listing, so they're sure to be featured. On real estate photo day, turn on the gas fireplace, switch on the in-cabinet lighting in the built-in dining room china hutch, and uncover and clean the backyard hot tub.
Complete one final sweep through the house the day of the photo session
The day the real estate agent is taking photos, do a final walk-through in the house and around the property to clean up any last-minute clutter. Remove stray mail and toys, put away shoes and any miscellaneous items sitting out, store garden tools, and tuck the garbage cans in the garage or against the house. Park the cars a few houses down, so the realtor can get a few clear shots of the full property. Secure pets in a safe location or plan to take them off the property during the shoot.
When you're unsure about the best practices for staging a home before taking listing photos, talk to your real estate agent. Reputable, experienced agents help their clients make their houses look their best to increase the chances of a quick sale.