Thanks for the post. This should be required reading for all agents.
I love doing real estate photography - especially when the agent and/or sellers have taken the time to make sure the home is looking its best. But, of course, there are times when it's a challenge ...
I did a photo shoot recently of a home that had been staged ... I'm sure the stager did the best she could under the circumstances, but there were some problems: electronic equipment (DVD player, cable box, etc.) on the floor next to the TV; an office desk with the particle-board backing facing the door. The worst thing was the light bulbs ... yes, the light bulbs! Many of the fixtures had burned out or missing bulbs and a few had a mixture of incandescent and fluorescent bulbs! Oh, and all of the batteries had been removed from the smoke detectors (I have no idea why) - there must have been at least 10 of them beeping incessantly all over the house!
This job was a rush referral from another photographer, so I had no chance to speak with the agent regarding preparation. But it reminded me that I have a flyer I used to send to homeowners about preparing their home for photos. For some reason, I got out of the habit, but I've resurrected it (and added a bullet point about light bulbs!). Here it is ... feel free to share it with your clients when you use a professional photographer. I welcome your suggestions for any additions to the checklist!
Congratulations! You're working with a REALTOR® who knows the importance of having professional quality photos to market your home. Studies have shown that buyers choose the homes they want to see based on the quality and quantity of pictures they see online. In order for me to get the best possible images of your home, I'll need your help. Here are some things you can do to prepare your home for a photo shoot:
- Remove vehicles, trash cans, recycle bins, etc. from driveway and front of house.
- Sweep driveway, walkways, porches, patios and decks.
- Remove hoses, sprinklers, garden tools, children's/pet's toys.
- Mow the lawn; trim back shrubs/bushes from walkways and doors; remove weeds from flower beds and around shrubs/bushes.
- Hire a professional stager! A stager can make sure your home shows at its absolute best.
- Open window coverings (curtains, drapes, sheers, blinds) to let in as much natural light as possible. Of course, if the view out a window isn't pleasing, leave those coverings closed.
- Turn off ceiling fans - moving fan blades just look like a blur in the photos.
- If time and budget permits, have windows professionally cleaned. Clean windows let in more light than dirty windows. Consider removing window screens as well.
- Make sure all light fixtures have the proper type of bulbs - do not mix fluorescent and incandescent bulbs. Replace any burnt out bulbs
- Eliminate as much clutter as possible, including children's toys, clothing, piles of newspapers/magazines. Remove anything from the floor that doesn't belong on the floor.
- Remove toiletries and other personal items from bathroom counters; close toilet lids; remove/replace old or dirty towels, washcloths, etc.
- Make all beds neatly (avoid wrinkles, lumps, etc.); clear dressers of personal items.
- If your child's bedroom has his/her name spelled out on the wall or otherwise visible, you may wish to remove it. If removal isn't feasible, be sure to alert me and I will attempt to edit it out from the final photos.
- At your computer workstations, stow or unplug dangling cables/wires; clear papers. Straighten up and/or remove items from bookcases.
- In the kitchen, remove most, but not all, items from the counters. Items that can be left out might include: decorative canisters, a colorful bowl or platter, no more than one countertop appliance. You want it to be uncluttered, but not sterile. Items to remove or hide from view include: dish towels, pet dishes, trash cans. Remove everything (magnets, pictures, calendars, etc.) from the outside of the refrigerator.