Remember the age-old maxim, ‘you only get one chance to make a good first impression!’ If you’ve had the chance lately to look at photos online of homes for sale, you already know how important the photography can be. One house can look like a sparkly, new, model home in photos, while the next one you browse looks dingy and full of clutter. Which one do you think a buyer is going to ask to be shown and attract the most buyers? So, how can you ‘stage’ your home for the photographer? Below are my exclusive insider tips I offer my listing clients. Also, I’ve create a nifty checklist – with even more suggestions – for you to download and use when getting your home ready for its big day. Download it here [PDF]!

  1. Whole Home – Thoroughly clean the whole house; create as much light as possible by turning on overhead lights (replace any bad bulbs) and opening blinds and shades. Remove all personal photos and put away all jackets and shoes. If you have pets, remove beds, bowls, toys and use a lint roller to remove hair.
  2. Home Exterior – The front is usually the first photo shoppers see so clean it up, trim grass and landscaping. Remove all clutter like hoses, empty planters, toys, and sporting goods. Same for the backyard, rid it of all clutter, pet waste; and if you have a pool clean it, remove all pool equipment and hide trash cans.
  3. Kitchen – The kitchen is a very important feature to buyers so it’s critical to make it look as good as possible. Clear the counters completely except for one small appliance (ex. Coffee maker). Clear off your frig, take dishes out of the sink, and hide visible garbage cans or pet food and water bowls.
  4. Dining Area – In the dining area we want to set the stage for an idyllic family meal. Dust or polish table, set the table with decorative settings, put one centerpiece – fresh flowers are ideal – on the table and remove any booster seats or highchairs.
  5. Living Room – Create a setting for cozy, quality family time by removing all clutter, including from fireplace mantel. Clean your fireplace. Remove kids toys and fluff and arrange furniture pillows.
  6. Master Bedroom – Here we want shoppers to envision a good night’s rest and a sanctuary. Make the bed and place any decorative pillows you have. Press bed linens and bed skirt. Clear all clutter, cord, photos from nightstands and top of dressers. Finally remove family photos from the walls and clean under the bed, as items may be viewable in photos.
  7. Kids & Guest Bedrooms – Make the beds. Remove any personalized names, stickers, family photos and posters from the walls. Remove any toys and diaper genies as well. Remember to clean under the beds in these rooms too.
  8. Bathrooms – Home buyers want bathrooms to be clean and spa-like so you need to completely clear countertops. Remove all items personal hygiene items from shower and tub. Put toilet seats down, close closets, remove rugs and dirty towels.

Whew! That’s a quick rundown! It’s not easy to get your home ready to be photographed and it takes quite a while to prepare so give yourself plenty of time (days) to do it. The time you take to follow all of my tips will save you time having your home on the market, so it’s worth it! And remember, download my handy checklist with more tips to keep with you as you work!