Lenny Rosen | Real Estate | Architectural Photographer

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Home Staging Tips for Listing Photos

Make sure your home is ready for its listing photos with these tips.  Please note: The do to photographer does not do the staging.  If you think that you need professional help search for Home Stating 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


  • 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.
  • 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.
  • REMOVE AREA RUGS AND DOOR MATS.  The buyer wants to see the floors not the area rugs & door mats.
  • 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 kids names on them.  Fill in nail holes and touch up with paint.
  • EMPTY OVER STUFFED SHELVES.  Over stuffed shelves are a major distraction.  Box up and store away the items on you over stuffed 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 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 counter tops.  Polish the stainless steel and make sure all finger prints 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 waste baskets, plungers, toilet brushes & holders, bathroom scales, tooth brushes, 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.
  • HIDE WIRES, CORDS AND WASTE BASKETS.  T V cords, cables and waste baskets are unsightly in photos. Bring them back and Plug them back in after the photo shoot.
  • TURN ON ALL LIGHTS.  This goes for interior and exterior lights.  All lights means 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 ... EVERYWARE.
  • 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).
  • MOVE ANY VEHICLES, TRASH CANS, CHILDRENS TOYS OUT OF THE DRIVEWAY OR FRONT OF THE HOME,​  Park you car down the street away from the house.
  • MAKE EXTERIOR OF THE PORPERTY LOOK GREAT.   Power wash sidewalks, driveways, stains on the roof and exterior of the home.  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.


Accessorize smartly

One of the easiest ways to update a room is to accessorize it well. A small stack of design books on the coffee table or some new pillows can really refine and update a space. Appropriately display art on walls or above a fireplace, and make sure it is in the photograph to add color to your background, which adds wow factor to pictures viewed online.  Just remember, groupings look best in odd numbers and at varying sizes, so ditch those four identical candlesticks on your mantle.

Make sure not to over-accessorize

Just like Coco Chanel advised to always take off one accessory before you leave the house, so too should you pare down your house’s knickknacks. Accessorizing is important, but it needs to be tastefully — and minimally — done. “Overstuffed shelves with various books and décor can create a visual nightmare,” adds Bell. “Organize them by coordinating the books or magazines by colored sleeve or by height.”

Of course, you might have loads of “edited out” items from your house once you’re done decluttering. This is normal: When professional home stagers get to work, they often edit out half of homeowners’ furnishings — and the home looks much bigger because of it. Store your stuff in a storage unit, your new home, or a friend’s basement.

While you’re at it, ditch the props

Yes, magazine spreads frequently have gorgeous bowls of fruit on display, but it’s probably best to leave the artful arranging and styling to the design experts. You can certainly hire a stager or interior designer, but for the rest of us, skipping the oversized bowl of lemons and that cheesy bottle of wine and wine glasses, which can become more of a distraction than an enhancement.

Pay attention to the bathroom

Along with kitchens, attractive and clean bathrooms are an important selling feature in a home and will be scrutinized when viewed online. Even if your bathroom is a little outdated, you can spiff it up for a minimal cost: Clear everything off your sink top, roll up some towels and put them on an available shelf for display, buy a fresh, bright shower curtain, and (perhaps most important) make sure the toilet seat lid is closed. That last item makes a huge difference in photos.

Don’t forget the small stuff

Don’t just shrug at those boxes you thought were hidden under your bed but are definitely visible in photos of your master bedroom. Move them out.  “Remember, it’s those first impressions that are most important when buyers are viewing hundreds of photos of homes online,” explains Bell.

Clean everything

We’re not just talking about the counters and floors here. Everything in your home should get a scrub, from muddy siding or dingy carpeting to wood furniture and curtains. Again, make sure to view your home with a critical eye: You may be visually immune to your scuffed-up garage door, but buyers won’t be. Don’t let them get distracted by a grimy door, walls, or windows — they might start to wonder what other home-upkeep tasks have been neglected.

Look for things that need repair or replacement

Settling cracks in drywall, stains on ceiling, scratches on woodwork and cabinets, damaged switch plates, cracks on floor and wall tiles, tile grouting that is broken or stained, mildew on driveways, walkways and roof tiles,  fogged up windows, leaky faucets, bee hives, wasp nests, etc. Buyers will see these things right away and get a negative impression.  Most of these items are easily repaired.



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