20 STEP CHECKLIST
PREPARING YOUR HOME FOR
REAL ESTATE PHOTOS/VIDEO
- Clear and Clean Kitchens: When kitchen counters are completely cleared off, it makes the kitchen look larger, and buyers can better imagine how they might use this important space. Small appliances, knife sets, towels/scrubbies, etc. distract buyers. Remember to also clear the refrigerator of magnets/notes.
- Clear & Clean Bathroom Sinks, Tubs, and Showers: Place all shampoo bottles, soaps, razors and other items into a bin that will fit underneath the sink or in linen closet. This step will help your bathroom appear bigger. Take all items off of the countertops. Clean, neatly folded towels on towel racks are recommended.
- Replace Burned Out Light Bulbs: This step is one of the most overlooked items. Be sure to check all the ceiling lights, as well as lamps and exterior lights to make sure that they all work. If there are any dark areas in the home, add a few extra lamps to brighten them up. The more light, the better!
- Turn On All Lights Throughout the Entire House: Lighting is one of the most important aspects of photography. It’s essential to have as much light as possible. Turn on all the lights in the house, including lamps and exterior lights. Don’t’ forget the hood fan light in the kitchen.
- Open All Window Coverings: Natural light from windows brings life and positive emotion into real estate photos. We recommend opening all of the window treatments throughout the entire house to let in as much light as possible. If it’s too bright outside, your photographer will alter your blinds and curtains. Don’t forget to clean the windows/sills!
- Remove Unnecessary Furniture and Decorations: This is probably the most difficult request for sellers, but it’s one of the most important items on the list. Removing and storing excess or large, bulky furniture can be challenging, but it opens up the floor space and makes the home look much more spacious. This is truly a situation where “less is more”. Let us know if you would like help determining which items should stay or go. We are experienced stagers.
- Remove Floor Rugs and Runners: Floor mats and runners are great at protecting your floors, but they hide actual flooring and make the overall floor space appear smaller. We recommend tucking away your smaller area rugs, especially for the video (think kitchen sink).
- Turn All Ceiling Fans, TVs and Computer Screens Off: Most photographers use HDR photography which takes multiple light exposures for each photo and combines them into one final shot. Any moving items like ceiling fans or active screens look very strange in HDR. For this reason, we recommend turning off anything that moves or causes motion to blur.
- Clear Appliance Surfaces of Magnets and Clutter: It’s common to keep magnets, notes, reminders and other personal information on the refrigerator. This kind of clutter can be distracting for buyers, so de-clutter these areas. It will not only make your home appear tidier, but also keeps your personal information safe from the general public.
- Make All of the Beds: This is an obvious one that surprisingly gets overlooked often, especially in secondary bedrooms. Be sure to make and decorate all beds with matching sheets and blankets (if they show) and pillows. Use bedding that covers the entire bed and fits the mattress correctly.
- Remove Personal Photos and Items: Since you want buyers to focus on the features of your house, you’ll want to remove private photos where possible to avoid distractions.
- Put Shoes & Jackets in Closets: When buyers see shoes and jackets on coat racks and entryway floors, they can assume that the home lacks adequate storage space. This perception is easily fixed by storing these items away.
- Clear All Nightstands and Dressers: Nightstands tend to accumulate personal items. Half-read books, prescription bottles, tissues, and electronic devices will quickly clutter these areas. Remove everything but a lamp and one decorative thing, such as a small floral arrangement, decorative book or plant, to make the space clean and comfortable. Think of a freshly cleaned hotel room.
- Remove Pet Items: Not everyone has pets, In fact, some people are severely allergic to animals. Understanding this, It’s important to mitigate signs of your furry friends, especially pet smells. This can be a significant factor in obtaining top dollar in quick order for your home.
- Tidy Up the Yard & Landscaping: First impressions are crucial, so make sure that the front yard is cleaned up. All of the landscaping needs to be trimmed back and tidy. The first picture that people will see of your home will be the outside front yard shot. This photo needs to be presented in its very best condition to grab the buyer’s attention immediately.
- Sweep up the Porch/Patio/Deck: This step is especially in the Fall when leaves accumulate daily. Ensure that the entire front and back porches are swept clean of debris, spider webs and leaves and remove any non-decorative items you can live without. If possible, stage these areas with flowers and decorative items to create an inviting entrance that welcomes homebuyers.
- Clear Cars from Road & Driveway: It’s never ideal to have cars in the driveway during real estate photos. Try to remove all cars, trucks, RVs and trailers from the driveway and front.
- Hide Garbage Cans & Lawn Equipment: Large garbage cans and unsightly lawn equipment will detract from your curb appeal in real estate photos. Put trash cans in the garage or shed along with garden hoses, lawnmowers and other yard maintenance tools. Keep the lawn free and clear of toys and pet items as well.
- Remove Outdoor Cooker Covers: Weather permitting, grill covers should be removed so that cookers are exposed and appear ready for use. If it’s an old grill that needs to be covered because it is unsightly, it’s often better to remove it.
- Open Up Patio Umbrellas: Weather permitting, open up any patio umbrellas to set a fun vibe. Dust off chairs and set up the site as thought you will enjoy it with friends later. Fresh outdoor pillows and flowers will create an inviting space for your photographer to highlight while filming your backyard.
We recommend following these great tips when preparing your home for showings too and always consider fresh flowers, especially for the video.