Real Estate Photos: A Camera Ready House
When a home buyer is shopping around online for their next home, they're imagining what their family would look like in the space. They're picturing their own photographs on the walls and what their dream color pallet might look like in each room. Nothing puts a damper on those day dreams like a pile of dirty dishes in the sink or a litter box peeking into the frame of a listing photo.
If you want top dollar for your home, you need to spend some time and elbow grease making sure it's in tip-top shape BEFORE the photographer shows up. (And I'll throw this out there now... your agent is about to spend a lot of time marketing your home and pitching it to potential buyers, so DON'T let them waste their time and money bringing a photographer in if you haven't done your part in making sure your home is camera ready.)
Here's your check list. Do these things in addition to your typical "pick-up and vacuum" routine and I promise your agent will thank you!
Hide the litter box. Am I really putting this at the top of the list? Yes. Because I love my furry friends as much as you love yours but EWW GROSS - no one wants to see or think of cat poop when they’re trying to imagine relaxing in their new home. Realtors tell me all the time "If they [buyers] see it, they smell it." Whether it's a buyer's brain playing tricks on them or not, if they think they smell cats, I guarantee they're running for the hills, so why give them reason to think of it at all before they even schedule a showing?! Hide the boxes. And for goodness sakes, sweep up the crumbs.
No chachkies allowed. Some of them may be sweet and endearing, and maybe it's alright to set a few of them out for a showing, but for the sake of two-dimensional photographs, all the little knick-knacks just clutter the image and make the room look unorganized. Hide them away for the hour or so the photographer will be there.
Holiday decor is a no-no. If you're listing around a holiday, it may feel unfair to have to nix the festive lights, window clings or glittery shamrock center pieces, but look at it as an investment in your buying/selling process. Holiday decor timestamps your listing making your photos feel outdated in a short amount of time. Beyond that, most of those decorations count as chachkies and clutter the image. It's hard for a buyer to imagine their antique buffet in the dining room when your porcelain winter village is taking up the entire wall.
Excessive wall art has got to go. Buyers want to see themselves in the space. Pick one or two of your favorites to leave up and store the rest during photos and showings. Other items to box up include anything you collect, anything you didn't hang using a level, and anything that could be seen as offensive or off-putting, such as politically charged images and messages, great grandma’s urn, excessive taxidermied animals… you get the idea!
All surfaces should be cleared off. With the exception of clean, coordinated props like a vase or a simple floral arrangement, the "less is more" saying really works for things being left on counter tops, fridge faces, and hanging on doors.
Minimize packing boxes and containers. During the moving process, boxes tend to pile up and your definition of “tidy” might feel a little looser than it used to. That’s totally fine, but remember that it’s not your photographer or Real Estate agent’s job to be moving your belongings around for photos. Do your best to have the wall of boxes hidden during photos. If the home looks peaceful - and by that I just mean “lacking the chaos of clutter” - in the images, potential buyers are more likely to imagine feeling comfortable and at home in that space. Seeing your packing containers reminds them that’s not their stuff because it’s not their home.
Take a walk through your house as if you were a buyer. If you find it difficult to look at your home with fresh eyes, flip through some listings online that may be comparable to your own. Take mental notes of anything that feels cluttered, dusty, or thrown together in their photos and then consider similarities at your own house. On the other hand, take notes of details they must have been paying close attention to that may normally go overlooked. Are the bedsheets tucked in perfectly? No wrinkles in the towels hanging in the restrooms? One simple candle sitting on the countertop? All those details mean a lot!
If you follow these rules before your photographer arrives, you'll be in great shape to list your home with confidence.
Happy listing, friends!