Tips to make your house listing perfect
You may have completed the home-repair “honey-do” list detailed out in our “Fix to Sell” post and elbow-greased your house into looking beautiful. Now it’s time for the professional photographer to come in and shoot the pictures that will be potential buyers’ first look. There are several benefits to ensuring that the photos look good, including the possibility to sell your house at a higher price point because the listing looks professional. But before the photographer arrives, there are just a few extra things that can bring your house from attractive home to listing perfection. Here are some tips to prepare your home for the photographer:
Let the Light In. Open all drapes and blinds to let in as much light as possible (unless there is a very unappealing view out the window you don’t want to highlight in the photo). For a bright and cheerful look, turn on every single light in the house, and don’t forget the surface lights on your stove or under your cupboards. Turn off the ceiling fans.
Get Rid of the Grime. A quick wipe down to “clean” the house isn’t enough to get rid of the grime, and it is important that all areas are deep-cleaned in order to remove hard water buildup, dirt, or anything else that might be visible. Make sure that the windows are spotless, they should be washed to get rid of fingerprints or marks. Dust and vacuum the whole house thoroughly.
Clear the Clutter. It is always best to clear the clutter out of every room, because a clean space is more appealing. Get all knickknacks, stacks of paper, remote controls, extraneous furniture, family photos, pet stuff & toys out of sight. Do not store them under your bed. Photographers can often see under beds, and it’s not a pretty sight when there’s a yard sale stuffed underneath. The general rule-of-thumb for shelving is that each shelf/stand should only be one-third full. See all those books you love on your overstuffed bookshelf? Now take half of them out (the bright, clashing, odd-sized ones). Hide power cords and cables as much as you can. If you have child-proof latches on cupboards and drawers, remove them for the photos if it’s not too difficult. Make your beds look like you see in magazines. The pillows should be big and fluffy and the bed cover should be hotel-room perfect. Hide all digital do-dads and cords laying around the bed. The goal is to create a stylish, generic room in which the buyer can picture themselves living in. If you include too many personal effects, such as photos and knickknacks, then it makes it more difficult for the buyer to imagine their own things in the room. So, get rid of the distractions and eliminate any clutter that may be present.
First Impressions Matter. Keep in mind that potential buyers are going to be looking at rooms from the doorway they enter through, and the initial “feeling” is the one that will count the most. They will likely also spend more time viewing the room from the side where the door is located. You want to create a lasting impression from the moment they step into the room, so it is important to arrange things so the room looks great from that angle. It is good to capture the windows in the photos, because people like to see the natural light that comes in the room, so consider the way the furniture is place as it corresponds with the windows. If there are built-in features in the room, such as a fireplace or decorative pillars, the photographer will likely take the photos from an angle to include those features. Keep that in mind as well.
Brighten Up. Bring some color, freshness and serenity to your listing by staging a few nice flower arrangements on the dining room table, in a corner of the living room, and in a bedroom or large bathroom. A bowl of apples or lemons or oranges in the kitchen always looks nice. If you have a nice big attractive coffee table book, preferably home decor or architectural in theme, set it on your coffee table. Remember, the goal is to make your place look like a clean, tastefully furnished hotel.
Freshen Up the Bathrooms. Many bathrooms are small and difficult to photograph. Hide all of your personal bath and shower stuff and the bathroom trash cans. Put on a new roll of toilet paper. Neatly hang a few clean, colored towels and hand towels. If you have room, put a nice looking candle or small plant next to the sink or bathtub.
Curb Appeal. The view of the front of your listing is very important. Your goal is to make the front of the house appealing enough that buyers will want to see more. While the front yard is the most important, don’t neglect the back yard. It won’t look natural to have front yard photos of a beautifully manicured lawn and flower beds, with a back yard that is in disarray. Pull weeds, trim overgrown shrubs and low-hanging tree branches. Rake,mow and edge the lawn. Put away garden hoses. Hide the garbage cans, yard tools, dead plants, empty pots and any other yard clutter. Lay down mulch wherever there is dirt showing in beds. Move cars out of the driveway. Sweep the porch and sidewalks. If you have outdoor furniture, wipe it down and make sure that the cushions look clean and nice.
Preparation is Key. If your real estate photographer arrives, and they see that the home has not been prepared for the photo shoot, then you might be charged a cancellation fee and be forced to reschedule. Or, the photographer might move forward with the photo shoot, but the results will be unprofessional and they will not look good on your real estate listing. It is very important that you spend the time that is needed to make sure that your home is prepared so that the photographer has something to work with.