It’s marketing 101 that people like pretty things. People are more likely to click on pretty pictures. People are more likely to buy pretty products. The same goes for real estate. People are more likely to click on listings with pretty photos and videos.
As a real estate agent, one of the biggest inconveniences is showing up to a property to take listing photos and videos and the property is a mess. Even if it’s not a disaster zone, it just looks lived in. That’s not what we want.
Cleaning up before your real estate agent takes listing photos will result in better photos, which will result in more showings, which will ultimately result in a faster closing. It’s a help me help you situation.
If you want your property’s listing photos to make people say, “I have to see this property in real life!” then here’s a checklist you can follow.
Preparing the Inside of Your Home
Go Through Your Normal Cleaning Routine. Dust, vacuum, make the beds, fluff the pillows, fold the blankets, clean the mirrors, and bleach your tiles and white surfaces.
De-Clutter. While you’re cleaning, make sure everything has a home. Out of sight, out of mind. Put away clothes, trinkets, dishes, and pet or kid toys. Make sure all of your tabletops and surfaces only have what they need and don’t have any of your clutter.
De-Personalize. You want potential buyers to picture themselves in the space, but that’s hard to do if you have family pictures and your hobbies all over your home. I’m not a big believer of removing every picture from your walls, but pictures on the refrigerator and end tables should be put away on picture day.
Clear the Kitchen Counters. Making your kitchen look as big as possible will change the game for buyers. Wipe down the counters and put the dishes away. Remove all of the appliances from your countertops and put them in a cabinet instead to show off all of the space.
Clear Bathroom Vanities and Showers. Just as you do in the kitchen, clearing all of the items from your bathroom counter and shelves showcases all of the space and makes the room look a lot cleaner. After cleaning all of the surfaces, put your shampoos, conditioners, lotions, and other items in a cabinet.
Replace Burned-Out Lightbulbs. A burned-out lightbulb can be the first red flag to make buyers wonder what else is wrong with the house.
Set the Table. Create a dining room set as if you were catering to your fanciest guests.
Hide Your Pet’s Items. Pet necessities usually aren’t pretty and are definitely too personal to be in your listing photos.
Leave No Trace. Hide your trash cans, close your doors, close the toilet seats, close the shower curtain, etc.
Preparing the Outside of Your Home
Clean Up The Lawn. Mow the grass, rake the leaves, trim the bushes, prune the trees, put a fresh layer of mulch or gravel down, and clean up after your pets.
Put Tools Away. Move the garbage cans, hoses, sprinklers, garden tools, bikes, toys, and other items into the garage or storage shed.
Hide Decorations. If you have personal or quirky decorations like flags or gnomes, put them away. Not everyone has the same taste in outdoor decor.
Make Everything Inviting. Clean and open your pool, hot tub, umbrellas, security gates, grill, and other amenities.
On the Day of the Photoshoot
On the day of the photoshoot, you can help streamline the setup process for your realtor.
Start by doing a final sweep to ensure everything is tidy and nothing is laying around out of place.
Next, open your blinds. Natural light is great!
Move vehicles out of the garage and driveway.
Move pets into a safe location, preferably outside of the house.
Put your valuables in a secure location so they’re not visible in photos and not accessible during showings!
You’re On Your Way to Some Great Pictures
Now you know what you need to do to prepare your home for beautiful listing photos and videos. Of course, hiring a real estate agent with photography expertise is a huge bonus. You don’t want to be the house on the MLS that looks like the photos were taken with an iPhone 5! Taking a few hours to clean up could secure you more offers and a faster sale. That’s worth it in my book.