How to prepare your property for photography.
As best as possible, your property needs to appear to a potential buyer as a place that is devoid of clutter and not in need of obvious maintenance. This goes for the Garden as much as for the interior of the property.
A skilled photographer can make your property look truly amazing but they need your help to achieve this.
Think of the following list as a reminder of what needs to be done to have your property ready for a potential buyer or Renter to fall in love with. Not everything will apply to your property but to get the best price possible, do as many of these things as you can.
Cars are best parked away from the home. The potential buyer or renter wants to imagine their car in the driveway, not yours. The Garden needs to have been recently gone over with lawns mowed, hoses put away and No weeds, toys or tools visible.
Remove cobwebs from eaves and door frames and garage interior.
Get rid of any empty pots or planters.
Make sure any outdoor furniture is in a presentable condition and adds to the relaxing ambiance.
If there is a pool, it must appear to be inviting and well maintained. The Prospective buyer is viewing it with an objective of one day jumping in it!
Turn off the Kreepy Crawly as it disturbs pool surface and the photo won’t look as good.
Get rid of all pool maintenance equipment.
Ditto Bins and gardening tools.
Cover dirt beds with mulch.
Clear the mail box of junk mail and community newspapers.
Clear oil stains off a driveway.
Clear clothes line.
Paved areas to be free of weeds coming through.
A house that looks unloved says “Go away, there is a nicer property waiting for you somewhere else”.
Clean ALL surfaces….. Floors, carpets, tiles, benches, windows, furniture, railings.
All light bulbs need to work. A good real estate photographer won’t be happy to find out that lights don’t work as they are essential to a good photo, and PHOTOS SELL. This goes for Bedside lights as well as the light on the range hood. A good photographer will take advantage of these lights to make great images.
I know myself that if I get to a shoot where the lights don’t work it’s disappointing as it prevents me from getting the most out of those rooms. Having one bedside light work but not the other is a bad look!
Let light into the house by opening blinds, curtains etc. It adds a cheeriness to the house and helps the Photographer do a good job.
Did I mention the windows? Yes you have read it right, I did mention the windows but they deserve a special mention. As a Real Estate Photographer I have photographed many hundreds of properties and one thing that I see commonly is dirty windows. What happens is that when the sun is on dirty windows, it shows up really badly. If the sun is not on the windows, you can’t really see the dirt. Don’t take that risk.
Clear those counter tops. You don’t like seeing clutter in your own kitchen and no one else will like it either.
Clear away bills, mail and if you have anything on your fridge, it is best to hide it away.
Knife blocks are ok if the kitchen is otherwise tidy.
You’re allowed to have things stored on top of your fridge, just not when it is being photographed and put on the market!
It’s preferable that any magazines or books you have be neatly displayed on a coffee table, not the kitchen table.
No cleaning equipment
No sugar, coffee or general cooking/breakfast cereals.
Floors clear and clean
Beds made with clean linen. A good photographer appreciates owners who run an iron over the bedding, in situ. It works a charm!
Clear bedside cabinets of books, tissues etc.
No phone chargers or computer games
Clear desks of paperwork or homework in kid’s rooms.
Get rid of extraneous things from surfaces like phone chargers, tissue boxes or jewellery.
Try and make kids rooms look reasonable generic and neutral. Guitars painted on a ceiling might not be everyone’s cup of tea.
Bathrooms are a challenge to photograph because they are sometimes small and you have to squeeze into them. Get rid of soap, razors, toothbrushes, shampoos, conditioners, laundry baskets, beauty products.
Clean tiles, grout in shower, around bath. No one wants to know about your bathroom habits.
Mirrors, any mirrors need to be clean.
Shower glass needs to be cleaned of any soap scum or build up.
Get rid of any cleaning products that are visible.
Clean exhaust fans and outlets.
Close toilet lids.
Put out some clean, matching towels. If they are not crease free and neat, it’s best not to have them sometimes.
Small items are sometimes left in the living room, because it is the space where the family often spends a lot of time. Unclutter it!
Collect the TV remotes, video game systems, DVDs, or any other cluttered electronic items.
Pay attention to electronic cords move them to a place so that they are out of sight. Clear out any toys that may have been left in the room by the kids.
Clean ALL surfaces, windows and floors.
Book Shelves uncluttered.
Chairs to be neatly arranged around the table.
Side tables to be devoid of any clutter.
No Furniture? No Problem.
Now this is an interesting one. For me, as a photographer, I much prefer to see a property furnished.
It adds context to a room and gives the viewer of your property a sense of scale. It also pushes that emotional button where the potential buyer can see the possibilities in living there.
The emotional side is very important. What if it’s unavoidable and you have no choice but open the property for viewing sans furniture? Well, this is where Virtual Styling becomes your friend.
With modern technology it’s possible to furnish the rooms using Computer Graphics and it looks entirely realistic. You don’t need to do every room in the house but sometimes having a lounge and a bedroom done is all it needs. I provide this service to my clients and it really is a boon to the vendor.
As a Real Estate Photographer, I would advise, if it’s at all practical, to have some furniture, no matter how little, in the home. If it’s totally out of the question, consider getting it virtually styled.
It’s relatively cheap and quick to organise and very effective.
Dining table should be uncluttered. A centrepiece is fine but otherwise no books, paperwork, homework etc.
Centre piece could be flowers or fruit bowl or whatever you like but no dishes or books or papers. You want the viewer to imagine themselves in the room with their own furniture.
Have you ever heard that saying, “You can’t see the woods for the trees”? Well this is how a potential buyer may feel if they are confronted with a cluttered, busy Home.
Yes, it’s true. The biggest single thing you can do towards preparing your home for the photographer is to get rid of anything that doesn’t add something positive to the presentation of the Home.
Once you have de cluttered, work through the things we have just talked about. Preparing your home for Photography is a great start in getting the best price for your property. The first impression a prospective buyer will get of your home is through the photography. So make a great impression.