Sellers: 5 tips on how to prepare for professional photography of your home
Updated: Sep 28, 2018
I know you've heard this advise time and time again: Only hire a Realtor that uses a professional photographer. There simply is no good reason (aside from cheap) that an agent would choose to forego professionally captured photos for their listings. When in doubt, always ask to see an agent's last few MLS listings - you should be able to tell a "pro" from a "joe" a million miles away.
So what should you do, as a seller, to prepare your home prior to that photographer arriving?
1. Lights - Make sure to replace any burnt out, broken, or miscolored (blue vs. yellow) light bulbs in the house. This goes for fans with multiple lights, lamps on bed-side tables, and cans in your 17 ft. ceilings. All possible lights in the home should work and illuminate the room nicely. PRO-TIP: Do not use CFLs (compact florescent bulbs) Otherwise known as "Curly Q's" they make the room look washed out and show up weird in photos.
2. Clutter - maybe this should fall in the "Duh" section of this article, but please please please remove any and all clutter from all rooms. Your magazine stack on your coffee table - Gone. The shower caddy holding your soap and loofah - Gone. Your toaster oven, stand mixer, rice cooker, and container for your kitchen utensils - Gone. You see my point? They all need to go. If you're standing there looking at a small item asking yourself, "Should this go?" YUP! It most definitely should. The point is to allow buyers to see the space available and imagine there things in the room. When there are too many small items in the shot, it distracts from the room itself and prevents us from showing off how awesome that room is.
3. Yard/Lawn - To quickly repeat the above point, the same goes for your front and back yards and patios. Make sure to remove any toys, garden hoses, and yard signs for kid's schools or security company. Your lawn should be freshly cut, leaves raked or blown away, and clutter removed from patio furniture. If you store your trash bins outside, please find a hide-away place to roll them to for photos.
4. Paint - If you've lived in your home for 4+ years, there are bound to be scuff marks, dirty finger prints and dings. No judgement. Life happens! However, if you're trying to put your best foot forward with buyers, the fastest way to turn someone off of your awesome pad is to not take care of that. I hesitate to use the words "touch-up" because that can quickly go awry (colors faded and no longer match), so my advise is: if there's a mark on that wall, I'd paint the whole wall. Talk with your Realtor about what walls or trim you are concerned about. Chances are they know the PERFECT color to paint the room and have a few phenomenal paint contractors in their back pocket should you need to hire someone to do the work for you. PRO-TIP: I would only advise my clients to paint if I knew it was worth the money and made the difference in getting a buyer quickly or not.
5. Windows - Take a quick look at all your windows. Do you have plantation shutters, blinds, curtains? All good professional photographers are going to ask that you have your curtains drawn and blinds and shutters open. They want all the light in that room they can possibly get! Make sure curtains are pulled back in a uniform/attractive way and blinds are down but turned open. When doing your final cleaning of the house before photography, do not forget to dust the blinds and tops of curtain rods.