Preparing Your Home for a Top-Notch Photo Shoot
I use professional photography for all my listings--because it works. When your home is photographed to look bright & inviting, more people want to see it in person. More viewings in person equals more offers. Simple.
My photographer is the best in the biz, but in order for him to work his magic, we need a bit of legwork from you.
Everything you do to prepare your home for your photo shoot (and later for showings) should be to create the impression that actual people don't live in the home. You want your home as clean, clutter-free, and beautiful as humanly possible.
If the humans in your life make this impossible, consider kicking them out during the 1st week or so of showings. When I've sold my own homes, I've always made sure that my young family (AKA enemies of all that is clean and/or organized) hits the road so that I can showcase my home in its full magazine-style glory.
Start by removing almost everything from all surfaces, such as bedside tables, kitchen countertops, bathroom counters. It is OK to leave a few simple & beautiful items, but when in doubt, just put it away.
It can be nice to have a few pops of colour--a glass bowl filled with granny smith apples in the kitchen, a single red umbrella at the front door, or a tidy stack of colour co-ordinated books on the nightstand. Fresh flowers are always lovely. But if this is intimidating, don't worry about it. At the end of the day, simple and clean always wins.
In the kitchen, your coffee maker and toaster should be put away unless they are extremely high-end and basically works of art (most aren't). Make sure your appliances are spotless inside and out. It can be tempting to lay out place settings or do funny things like leave poured glasses of wine on the counter--but don't! These things are distracting in the photos and cheesy in person. Keep it simple & clean.
In the bathroom, all soaps, shampoos, cleaning products should be put away. Fresh white towels are statistically proven to be appealing to buyers. Try to make it look like your bathroom is a hotel.
Finally, ensure that all bedding and draperies are straight & without any wrinkles.
You probably need to put away 90% of the items in your kids rooms. Not joking--kids have way too much stuff! Of the remaining 10%, pick the nicest stuff and group it together in like-with-like arrangements. Group red stuffed animals on one shelf, toy cars on a ledge, organize books by colour on a bookshelf, etc. But again, keep it simple.
Finally, just before your appointment with the photographer, do a complete survey of the home and set aside anything unsightly--items like mousetraps, space heaters or dehumidifiers absolutely must be removed. Personal items like make up, toilet brushes and medical devices are distracting and off-putting to buyers.
Another great feature of a home to bring focus to in the photos is a fire place. It creates a sense of warmth, and makes any room more inviting. It is important for not only the sale of the home, but for the photography as well that you ensure the fireplaces in the home are in working order, and remember to turn them on for the photographer.
Another area to focus on is the exterior of the home. If you have an outdoor fire pit, light up a fire for the photographer! This will replicate the same impact that the fireplace creates inside, and it also gives buyers an idea of how the yard space can be utilized.
And last but not least, let in the light! Every single light in the home should be left on, for the photo shoot and for open houses & showings. I also strongly recommend you clean every window in the home, inside & out.
Then pour yourself a nice glass of wine, oh, except actually don't, because you might make a mess. Just kidding! My final piece of advice is that it's never perfect. Just do your best and have confidence in your home. You fell in love with it, and you've got the best REALTOR in town on your side making sure someone else will too.