Your photographer has been booked! You’ve still got some work ahead of you, so here are some tips and tricks to get your home ready to look it’s best!
The main goals of prep work are to clean, de-clutter, and create a generic but stylish home that a buyer can picture themselves in. Your photographer has been hired to take photos – not clean your house.
When organizing rooms and even rearranging furniture, consider the places from which the photographer will be taking photos. They will most likely be standing in doorways and make use of windows and natural lighting in rooms. Work to create open lines of sight from doorwars and showcase windows. Also, aim to complement built in features such as fireplaces or decorative pillars, as your photographer will angle to include these in photos.
Why are these important? As of 2015, 43% of home buyers found the home they wound up purchasing online, and the first part of your listing they look at is the photos. A study conducted by IMOTO – a real estate photography company – found that listings with professional photos sold 50% faster and 39% closer to the original listing price than similar homes in their area.
A great test for finding the right photographer? Look at their small bathroom photos. Are they able to create a sense of space? Are they able to capture small rooms and still make them look desireable? These are the trickiest shots to take, and are a good benchmark for their skills.
What are buyers looking for? You want potential buyers to be able to imagine themselves in your space. If you can afford it, hire a professional stager to arrange your furniture (but keep an eye out for a post detailing how to stage your house!). Here are some tips for each room:
Kitchen: Completely clear off all countertops and the fridge. The goal is to show off the appliances and layout, so remove any decorative towels that might block the view. Instead, consider leaving out a single ornamental piece such as a vase of fresh flowers or a bowl of fresh fruit. Clear off your fridge door, too, potential buyers don’t need to know you have a doctor’s appointment in three days. Wipe down everything so fingerprint smudges don’t show in photos.
Dining Room: You want potential buyers to be able to evision hosting guests in this room, so keep it on the bare side. Neatly arrange chairs, scrub the table, and clean out any sign that you have actually eaten in this room. This is another great spot for a centerpiece on the table – anything from another floral arrangement to a small sculptural accent piece.
Bedrooms: Take a look at a few home magazines for inspo – you’ll see they mainly focus on having an inviting, clean space. You will actually want to press your comforter (if possible) and pillowcases before you make your bed. Completely clear off nightstands and organize your closets. And as tempting as it is, don’t shove everything under the bed, as this clutter will show up in photos.
Bathrooms: Clean, clean, and clean some more. Bathrooms have the highest potential to look grimey in photos, and every minute spent scrubbing in here is worth it. Put away garbage cans, soap, shampoo, toothbrushes, washcloths, makeup, razors, scales, the toilet brush… you get the idea. SideNote: Buy some fresh, fluffy towels to solely use for photos and open houses.
Why is all this prep important? You’re spending money on a photographer, and want to get the highest value. Some photographers will even force you to reschedule and charge a cancellation fee if they can see that your home isn’t ready. Others will go ahead with photos, but you won’t see the results you are hoping for. Below, we’ve got a handy checklist you can download to make sure you don’t forget anything!