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  • Julie Shinabery

Preparing your home for photos

As a real estate photographer, I've photographed nearly 1,000 homes in and around the Charlotte, NC area (and in some other states as well). And I've learned what real estate agents mean when they say a home "shows well."

I've gotten fairly good a predicting which homes will sell quickly and which ones will sit on the market for longer, if only the appearance of the home is considered.

A lot of factors go into a successful - and quick - home sale, so great photographs don't necessarily make or break a sale.

But they could.

Listing photos are often a buyer's first experience with your home for sale. Today, over 92% of home buyers use the Internet to search for homes, and 50% used a mobile device to search for homes. Additionally, buyers rank home photos as the number one valuable web site feature - even more valuable than the home description. *

You don't want a buyer to pass up a chance to see your home because it doesn't show well in the online photos. do you get your home ready for photos so that buyers want to see it?

First, listen to your real estate agent. An experienced agent knows what home features that buyers in your market want to see. They can provide valuable advice on which areas of your home need to be updated, and which areas of the home show well and should be highlighted.

Next, follow my budget-friendly tips below. (See also a PDF download of these tips.)

Inside your home

  • The #1 budget-friendly tip is to DECLUTTER.

  • Hide personal effects and products, including tissue boxes, prescription medications, soaps, toothpaste and toothbrushes, shampoos and other toiletries. Consider putting them in a box under your sink or in a cabinet.

  • Remove ugly appliances from the kitchen counter. Kitchens looks best without a lot of appliances or knick knacks on the counter. One or two newerlooking appliances are ok (i.e. coffee maker, knife block).

  • Tuck wastebaskets away - under a cabinet or in a closet.

  • Hang fresh kitchen and bathroom towels.

  • Remove bath mats and close toilet seats.

  • Remove your family pictures from the room where possible - if they are large in size and you don't want them shown in the photos.

  • Pick up toys! Put stuffed animals, trophies, makeup, and toys from children's' and teens' rooms and playrooms into closets.

  • Remove dog crates and pet dishes from main living areas. Consider temporarily putting them in the garage or laundry room.

  • Where possible, open blinds and window treatments. It's not necessary for the lights to be on in the home. We'll analyze the lighting of each room during the photo session.

  • Need to see a visual? Look at, other home furnishings sites or catalogs, or my portfolio. Notice what is NOT in the picture (the aforementioned clutter, wastebaskets and personal effects). Take note of how towels and throw pillows are used to accessorize.

Outside your home

  • Park the car(s) in the garage with the garage door closed, or park your car on the street away from the front of your home.

  • Pick up toys from the yard.

  • Open any umbrellas and take off grill covers.

  • Consider adding some colorful flowers or plants to accessorize your back yard, front porch, etc. Remove dead plants.

  • If you have a yard, mow the grass and trim bushes just prior to the photo session.

  • New pine straw or mulch always enhances visual appeal of any green space.

  • Sweep any porches or front walkways.

I'll share more specifics about individual rooms in future blog posts. As always, please contact me if you have any questions.

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