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Lenny Rosen | 360 Virtual | Real Estate | Architectural Photographer

Preparing You Home for Listing Photos and Showings

Make sure your home is ready for its listing photos with these tips.  Please note: The photographer does not do the preparing/staging and is not allowed to move anything of value.  If you think that you need professional help search for Home Staging Companies on the internet.  Home Staging Companies can make a dramatic difference in the appearance of your home, especially if the home is empty.  Looking for a Home Stager?  Click this link:  Home Stagers

IN A NUTSHELL here are the basics: 

  1. Clean the house
  2. Turn on all of the lights inside and outside and turn off all of the fans.  No burned-out light bulbs.
  3. Open up all the blinds so you can see the outside
  4. Declutter & straighten the home.
  5. Make the beds neatly
  6. Remove everything from the kitchen and bathroom counters
  7. Close the toilet seats
  8. Hide all personal items such as family photos, cosmetics, jewelry, toiletries, cleaning supplies, soaps, shampoos, brooms & mops, etc.
  9. Make your home look like a model home as much as possible
  10. Remove the cars, children's toys and trash cans from the driveway.

REAL ESTATE PHOTOGRAPHY COMPREHENSIVE CHECKLIST:

  • FIRST!  RENT A STORAGE UNIT.  This is important!  You will be happy you did.  You will need a place to store away many items that need to be edited out of your home and yard.  This is a cheap trick and many Storage Unit companies offer the first-month free rent.  Don't attempt to store things in closets, attics, garages, basements or under the bed.
  • SECOND!  LOCATE A HANDYMAN FOR HELP.   A few hundred dollars can make you Thousands of Dollars when the property sells.
  • PUT AWAY ALL CLUTTER.  Clutter is a turn off for most buyers.
  • TOUCH UP PAINT AND STAIN GOES A LONG WAY.   Touch up wall marks, woodwork & cabinet scratches, fill in nail holes, etc. 
  • CLEAN UP CARPET STAINS WITH SOME RUG SPOT REMOVER.  Polish hardwood floors and tile floors.
  • REPAIR OR REPLACE OBVIOUSLY BROKEN, MISSING OR DAMAGED THINGS.  Items like missing light switch plates, broken light fixtures, broken cabinet hinges. holes in the wall, etc.
  • REMOVE AREA RUGS AND DOORMATS.  The buyer wants to see the floors, not the area rugs & doormats.
  • MAKE SURE BEDS ARE MADE UP NEATLY WITH NO WRINKLES.  A portable steamer is very helpful to get rid of wrinkles in bedding, upholstery, and drapery.
  • REMOVE PERSONAL FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHS FROM WALLS AND TABLE TOPS.​  Buyers don't want to see pictures of your family.  Fill in nail holes and touch up with paint.
  • REMOVE AS MUCH WALL ART AS POSSIBLE.  The wall art may not please buyers and may also become a distraction rather than an enhancement.  This includes personalized plaques with the kid's names on them.  Fill in nail holes and touch up with paint.
  • EMPTY OVER STUFFED SHELVES.  Overstuffed shelves is a major distraction.  Box up and store away the items on you overstuffed shelves.
  • REMOVE PETS FROM THE HOME DURING THE PHOTOGRAPHY SESSION.  Hide pet beds, toys, feeding bowls, crates/cages, etc.​
  • CLEAN KITCHEN.  ​Kitchens are a major feature,  Give the Kitchen a major cleaning and make sure it is spotless. Remove everything off the kitchen counter.  Sinks must be empty and free of dishes.   Remove all small appliances, pots and pans, dishes, glasses, cups, towels, trash cans and cleaning supplies from sight.  Clean the sinks, stove, refrigerator, and countertops.  Polish the stainless steel and make sure all fingerprints are gone.
  • CLEAN BATHROOMS.​  Bathrooms are a major feature.  Give the bathrooms a major cleaning and make sure they are spotless.  Remove all soap, hair care accessories, cosmetics, shampoos & conditioners, deodorizers, etc. from sight.  Remove wastebaskets, plungers, toilet brushes & holders, bathroom scales, toothbrushes, electric razors, combs & brushes, etc. from sight.  Toilet seats must be down.   Replace the toilet paper rolls with new ones.  Replace the old shower curtain with a new one and steam out the wrinkles with a portable steamer.
  • CLEAN THE LAUNDRY ROOM.  Remove all clothes and clothes hangers from the laundry room.  Remove all laundry detergents, fabric softeners, cleaning supplies, brooms, brushes, mops, buckets, dustpans, irons, ironing boards, steamers, etc.  Clean the appliances, shelves, cabinets & floor.
  • HIDE WIRES, CORDS, AND WASTE BASKETS.  T V cords, cables, telephone cords, computer cords, alarm clock wires, lamp wires and wastebaskets are unsightly in photos. Hide them or remove them and bring them back and plug them back in after the photoshoot.
  • TURN ON ALL LIGHTS.  This goes for interior and exterior lights.  All lights mean every light including closets, kitchen cabinets, swimming pool lights, etc.
  • REPLACE ALL BURNED OUT LIGHT BULBS.   It is the first negative thing that the potential buyer notices.  Make sure ALL burned out lights are replaced ... EVERYWHERE.
  • OPEN UP ALL DRAPES AND BLINDS.  Let the window light come in by opening up the drapes and blinds.  It makes the room look larger and the buyer likes to see the outside.
  • TURN OFF ALL FANS.  Moving fans look blurry in photographs (especially HDR photographs).  Exception: Fans can be on for Video Walkthroughs & Showings.
  • TURN TV AND COMPUTER MONITORS OFF.  
  • MOVE ANY VEHICLES, TRASH CANS, CHILDRENS TOYS OUT OF THE DRIVEWAY OR FRONT OF THE HOME,​  Park your car down the street away from the house.
  • MAKE EXTERIOR OF THE PROPERTY LOOK GREAT.   Power wash sidewalks, driveways, stains on the roof and exterior of the home.  Touch up paint where necessary.  Mow the lawn, trim the bushes, pick up debris.  Add mulch to the landscape.  Remove yard toys, barbeque grills & trash cans from the yard.  Turn on all exterior lights.
  • MAKE POOL LOOK GREAT.  Have the pool cleaned.  Make sure the water is blue.  Power wash the pool deck.  Remove the pool vacuum from the water.  Put all accessories away and out of sight.  Hide all pool toys.  Make sure all pool furniture is clean and neat.  Turn on all exterior lights.  Turn off exterior fans.

These projects may take some time and money to accomplish.   But,  you will find that your property will look better in photos and showings.  It will also sell much faster and for more money.   It is worth the time and expense.

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