Home Preparation Guide
Want an on-the-go version of this checklist? Click here to download a PDF.
When you have your house photographed for a real estate listing both the exterior and interior of the home, including all major rooms, will be photographed. Homeowners and agents can help the process go smoothly and make the home look its best by doing some preparation before the photographer arrives.
Keep these things in mind as you prepare the home for photography:
- You are trying to show off the home’s best features; a lot of “stuff” can distract from those features.
- We are not photographing your home; we are photographing the potential new home of prospective buyers or renters. Do not take the process personally; it is part of the business of selling and renting a house.
- High quality photography will show the home exactly as it is. Some minor flaws and dirt can be corrected in post-processing, but if you can see it with your eye the camera will pick it up in the photographs.
- Clutter can be moved from room to room during the photo shoot but it will reduce the amount of time available to photograph the property.
If You Do Nothing Else, Do These Things:
- Replace all burned out light bulbs both inside and outside the house. Try to keep all the bulbs the within a room the same type, LED, incandescent, etc. Different light bulb types produce different light color and good lighting is key.
- Hide the clutter.
- Turn off the ceiling fans.
- Open the blinds, shades, and curtains.
General Prep Work:
- Simplicity is often best. Remove excess furnishings and knick-knacks from rooms. Large amounts of furniture and decorations do not generally photograph well and can potentially make a room look smaller in photos. If you find yourself questioning whether or not to remove something, generally the answer is yes.
- Pick up throw rugs and runners in entryways, kitchens, and bathrooms so that the floor can be clearly seen.
- Wash windows.
- Vacuum and/or mop the floors.
- Remove all cars, boats, RVs, motorcycles, etc. from the driveways and do not park directly in front of the house.
- Move garbage and recycling cans out of sight.
- Remove all garden tools, hoses, and clutter.
- Pick up after your pets.
- Mow the grass, rake up leaves and debris, pull weeds and remove any dead vegetation.
- If you are feeling ambitious, plant some fresh flowers in empty planters and pots.
- Sweep driveways, sidewalks and patios.
Swimming Pools and Spas:
- Sweep dirt off the bottom and skim off the debris floating on top.
- Remove the cover, pool sweep, floating chlorine dispenser and pool toys.
- Straighten lounge chairs, put away cleaning tools, and set up the patio umbrella if you have one.
- Turn on pool light(s), waterfalls and spa bubbles. Verify several days prior to your shoot that these are working in case you need to schedule repairs.
- If you want to add that extra touch, roll up some colorful pool towels and place them on the chairs and set up a pitcher of lemonade with some glasses on a table.
Living & Family Room:
- Remove newspapers and magazines and put away books.
- Tuck the remote controls in a drawer to get them out of sight.
- Conceal exposed cables and cords as best you can.
- Remove personal photos, the kids toys, etc. from bookshelves, tables, and the floor.
- Wash any glass surfaces including tabletops, cabinet doors and windows. Smudges and dirt on glass will be noticeable in the photographs.
- Straighten pillows and throws.
- Make the beds neatly; straighten the bedspread and pillows.
- Pick up and put away clothes and shoes, and any excess toys.
- Remove magazines, pictures, clock radios, etc. from bedside tables.
- Put small appliances, knife blocks, paper towels and kitchen gadgets away and off the counters.
- Remove photos, notes, papers and magnets from the refrigerator.
- Clean the major appliances, refrigerator, oven, stovetop, range hood, and dishwasher.
- Wipe down the counter tops.
- Don’t leave any dirty dishes in the sink or sponges, dishtowels, or dish soap near the sink.
- Move trashcans out of sight.
- Setting the table with nice dinnerware, napkins and a centerpiece can give a homey feel.
- If you have a China cabinet make sure things are straight and tidy inside.
- Clear off the counter tops, toiletries, tissues, and hair products.
- Remove personal care products and children’s bath toys from the shower and tub.
- Make sure towels are folded neatly and are straight on the towel bars.
- Close the lid on the toilets.
- Mirrors and shower doors should be clean.
- Hide away the toilet brush and plunger.