How photo ready is your home? Maybe the question has crossed your mind as you consider putting your home up for sale in the era of Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook. A camera-ready home is a must whether you’re listing your home on Craigslist, Zillow or with a professional REALTOR. Great photos will draw people in. A messy, cluttered room will quickly turn them off.
I consulted numerous real estate articles, professional photographers and stagers to get their advice on how to create the perfect photo-ready home
CLEAN AND DECLUTTER EVERYTHING
“You may have to remove half to two thirds of your things” says Steve Roake, of Keller Williams Realty Infinity. Keep items to a minimum and if you can live without it on the counter, hide it away in a cabinet or drawer. One or two decorative items on a table are great, 10 is clutter.
In living areas, put away the family photos, clear off the windowsills, coffee table, piano top and other surfaces. Remove towels, refrigerator magnets, sponges, paper towels, dish detergents, mats and most small appliances in the kitchen. Hide away your mail in a drawer. Box up anything out of season, like your winter coat (if it’s summer). Most items can be stored in a closet, under the bed or even hidden on the side of the room the camera won’t catch it. In the bathroom, open the shower curtain, remove all toiletries and wastebaskets, and close the toilet lid (PLEASE!!). Get decorative towels and fold them nicely. (How to Fold A Hand Towel)
PAY ATTENTION TO THE WINDOWS
Wash your windows, open the curtains and pull up the blinds. The more natural light you let in, the better. Turn on all the lights and make sure every bulb is bright. And if you have a fireplace and its cool enough outside, light the fire. When homebuyers are asked to describe a home they’ve toured, they usually include references to light in their description.
Replace any broken or foggy windows. It will make a huge difference for your photos. Window replacements can be expensive and even more so when the buyer demands a twice the actual cost credit because they can’t be installed prior to closing.
MAKE THE BEDS
Replace your old worn out comforter with a new, neutral one. If you took care of the windows, now all that light is shiny on your old, wrinkly, unmade bed. Crisp up the comforter with a hand-held steamer to take out any wrinkles.
A few throw pillows will also help add to your bed’s luxury. Make sure the pillowcase openings lie outward and center a throw pillow against each stack of pillows and prop it up with a soft karate chop in the middle to create a bed that will be inviting. (Don’t worry, buyer’s won’t test it out)
ADD SOME COLOR
A vase of flowers or a throw pillow is always welcome. Don’t go crazy with a variety of flowers, keep it simple with only one type.
A colorful throw (aka pretty blanket) can be placed on beds, benches, chairs or couches. For a perfectly placed throw, check out the video –
PAY ATTENTION TO THE ARTWORK
Keep your photos at eye level, if you place it too high, the ceiling looks very low. Most buyers love high ceilings and if you have high ceilings, you can add a vertical piece to show off the height.
What if your ceiling is low? Then you should not only hang your art lower, use frames that are more horizontal than vertical.
You should also depersonalize your “art”. We all love our kids, but buyers will be distracted by family photos and kid’s artwork. Keep the artwork to a minimum (reread the Clean and Declutter paragraph again)
“BANISH” YOUR PETS
Keep your dog bowl, cat house and hamster wheel out of the photos so you don’t discourage potential buyers who are allergic to hamsters or do not like dogs. Always hide chew toys, feeding bowls, litter boxes, pet beds and cages. Try to minimize the impact of your pet’s presence for showings, too. Just remember it’s only temporary and everything you do to make your home more inviting to potential buyers puts more money in your pocket.
Many Multiple Listing Services (MLS’s) have policies against have people and pets in listing photos so make sure your pets don’t sneak into the photos, either!
DON’T FORGET THE CURB APPEAL
Park your cars across the street as you don’t want them obscuring the view of the front of your home. Also, mow the grass, rake any leaves and trim the bushes, especially if they obstruct the view of the home. Remove extra items like kid’s toys, grills or other items not included in the sale.
And if your house has a pool, clean it, uncover it and turn on any hot-tub jets.
DON’T WORRY ABOUT THE WEATHER
Most photographers now offer “blue sky” touch ups so even on rainy days, your photos will appear to have sun shining on them. But too much sun can pose a challenge. Sometimes, cloudy days provides soft light that tends to produce good results for interiors.
PUT ON YOUR BUYER’S HAT
You see your home every day and become immune to little imperfections like scuffed walls or worn carpets. Bring in a friend or experienced REALTOR to help you put on a “buyer’s hat” to look at your home. Make it a game to find things a buyer would find and address them if possible.
Click here for a printable checklist for photo day