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Tips for selling your home: Preparing Your Home for Photos

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‘A photo is worth a thousand words’ is an imperative expression in the real estate world. Most people find houses initially online, so photos are the first impression they have of that property. Plus, let’s be realistic, very few people will read the complete text of a home’s description. They almost always jump right to the photos. That means the photos need to really ‘WOW’ perspective buyers. You might be wondering what to do when preparing your home for photos. Luckily, Urban Pioneer Photography’s latest blog covers that vital house selling tip. Want to learn more or ready to get some amazing photos of your home? Give us a call at 336-978-1379 or email us!

All of the information in this blog may seem like a lot of extra work, but everything you do before your home gets photographed and goes on the market will result in a home that;

  1. Photographs better.
  2. Shows better.
  3. Has fewer negatives.
  4. Is more memorable.
  5. Fewer items on the inspection report.
  6. Negotiates better.
  7. Will hopefully net you more money at closing! 

Preparing Your Home for Photos

First, there is a difference in preparation between preparing a home that is currently lived in versus one that is unoccupied. If you are currently living in your house, then you need to consider the following before taking photos.

Exterior Photos – Create Curb Appeal

  • Remove or hide unnecessary items like cars, lawnmowers, trash cans, bikes, and toys. 
  • Fresh lawn mowing, trimming, pine needles, or mulch. Fresh flowers in any planters.
  • Blow porches and driveway.
  • Blow leaves from gutters or roof.
  • Pressure wash your home and decks if necessary.
  • Straighten / organize lawn furniture. 
  • Pick up after pets and clean any pet cages or dog houses.
  • If you have a pool or hot tub, make this a feature item, clean the pool, and organize pool equipment. Make it look refreshing and inviting.
  • Remove yard signs, political signs, etc.

Interior – Create a Happy Place

  • Pick up / straighten up all unnecessary personal items (as much as possible) like shoes, clothes, toiletries in bathrooms, paperwork, books, magazines, games, etc.
  • Declutter. If you have a lot of stuff, go ahead and box some of it up. 
  • Store boxes in an unused room or garage.
  • Box up personal effects, like family pictures. Less is better on furniture such as coffee tables, bookcases, end tables, and nightstands.
  • Thoroughly clean, vacuum, and/or mop all rooms especially the kitchen and bathrooms  – it might be useful to hire a professional cleaner for this! 
  • Kitchen- Remove all unnecessary items from kitchen countertops like paper towel holders, dish soap, and small appliances. A few things are ok. Arrange the kitchen table, chairs, and bar stools how you normally do. Wipe down countertops.
  • Baths – Remove all toiletry items from sinks and showers. These surfaces should be clean and free of your stuff. Fold and hang clean towels on towel racks.  Put the toilet seat lid down so your photographer does not need to. Thank You!
  • Go around and check all light fixtures and replace burnt-out bulbs. Warm, natural bulbs are preferred over bright white LED bulbs in most cases. Turn on most lights and turn ceiling fans off.
  • Go around the entire home and open blinds and curtains. Your photographer will adjust based on light as necessary.

If the home you are selling is vacant, then these are the options to consider before photos.  The home is empty, so buyers will notice the ‘small’ things more than a home that is lived in. If possible this would be a good time to fix any of the small things that could be a negative in the buyers eyes.

  • Thorough cleaning of all rooms.  Pay close attention to cabinets, kitchen and bathroom drawers, closets, base boards and floors.
  • Clean windows inside and out and window sill.
  • Clean carpets, freshly mop all other surfaces.
  • Remove, repair or replace anything that is broken or out of service like blinds or old phone or cable wires. 
  • Replace any burnt out light bulbs. 
  • Consider hiring a home stager or virtual stager to furnish your home.
Basements, work shops, etc
  • Remove any unnecessary item.
  • Organize any items that go with the house.
  • Clean, sweep, vacuum and mop floors.

A few things that you should consider doing before photos if you have the time and budget. 

  • Landscaping – in the very least you want a mowed and clean yard. Pine needles and mulch really help spruce up a yard.
  • Paint any rooms that have old or peeling paint or any unusual or bright colors. Pick a subtle neutral color. Agreeable Gray by Sherwin Williams is a popular color.
  • Replace or repair any worn out carpet or bad flooring.
  • Change out old dated lighting or sagging ceiling fans.
  • Change out old appliances with new stainless appliances for a quick fresh modern look to a kitchen.

Bottom line, you want the buyers to remember your home for all of its features and how amazing it must be to live there, not all of your things!