How to Prepare your Home for MLS Photos

Reblogger Maureen Bray Portland OR Home Stager ~ Room Solutions Staging
Home Stager with Room Solutions Staging, Portland OR
https://activerain.com/droplet/ZQs

Margaret Woda, a Realtor based in Crofton, MD provides sellers with a terrifically helpful list of Tips to Prepare your home for the online photos, as well as for showings.  Potential buyers love viewing homes that are so well prepared and are more likely to make an offer when the home looks "move in" ready.

Original content by Margaret Woda

You've already prepared your home to sell, but do you know how to prepare it for MLS photos? 

The photos of any listing are extremely important to its sale because most of today's buyers will first see the home online.  Buyers are looking for a house with the potential to become their home... one where they can easily imagine living.  We can't count on them to mentally remove clutter from photos so they can picture themselves and their families using the space. This must be done before the photos are taken. 

Just spend 10 minutes looking at random MLS photos, and it's not hard to find examples of "what not to do." 

The camera can only photograph what it sees, so I encourage my clients in the Crofton MD area to follow these suggestions for a photo-ready home.

EXTERIOR  

  • Davidsonville HomeRemove all vehicles from driveways, the street in front of your home, and your yard. (cars, trucks, RV's, and boats on trailers)
  • Close all exterior doors, including garage doors.
  • Remove all garbage and recycling containers from sight.
  • Turn on exterior lights to make the home look more inviting.
  • Remove bicycles and seasonal decorations.
  • Edge and mulch your beds.
  • Mow the lawn, remove or trim overgrown shrubs, and plant flowers (in season).
  • Remove old or broken outdoor furniture.
  • "Dress" the front door area with a wreath, flag, or potted flowers.

INTERIOR

General:

  • Bedroom - Child (istockphoto.com)Minimize electric and phone cords by temporarily unplugging them and putting them out of sight.
  • Open all shades and blinds unless there is something unsightly in view or the window needs repair. (Heavy wood blinds can be left down, but open.) Make sure that open shades and blinds are parallel with the top of the window, and not hanging at weird levels.
  • Turn on all overhead lights and decorative lamps.
  • Minimize items on flat surfaces. Professional stagers often suggest this 3-items rule: one tall, medium, and small (Example: a lamp, plant, and a small dish or book on a bedside table.)
  • Minimize the contents on shelves, leaving plenty of open space.
  • Remove toys from sight or organize them neatly in containers.
  • Store valuables securely out of sight, including cameras, laptops, guns, coin collections and jewelry boxes.
  • Hide tissue boxes and piles of papers, magazines, laundry, etc.
  • Remove family photos, collections, and personal/professional memorabilia. (Repair walls, if necessary).
  • Put all trash cans out of sight.
  • Remove all pet equipment, including bowls, beds, litter boxes, crates etc.

Kitchen:Kitchen

  • Remove magnets and other items on the refrigerator surface and items stored on top of the refrigerator.
  • Clear as much as possible off the kitchen counters, including  toaster ovens, coffee makers, microwaves, and cutlery blocks (even if you return some of them to the counter for daily use while your home is on the market).
  • Follow the 3-items rule for counter tops.
  • Put the cleaning sponges, detergent, and garbage can out of sight.

Dining Area: 

  • Set your dining table for company - an oversize centerpiece, place mats, napkins, utensils, and glasses.
  • Remove high chairs and booster seats.
  • Dress your breakfast bar - perhaps a place mat and simple table setting or a tray with a wine bottle and 2 glasses.
  • Put excess chairs out of sight.
  • Remove items from the top of china cabinet
  • Follow the 3-items rule for buffet or sideboard.

Living Room/Family Room:

  • Living Room (Istockphoto.com)Remove excess furniture.
  • Put photos, memorabilia, and collections out of sight.
  • Remove all toys, dog beds, etc. 
  • Turn off the TV.  If TV is located in acabinet, close the door.
  • Remove overgrown or dying plants.
  • Make sure your room has one focal point which is visible from the entry point into the room. (A focal point on every wall is simply overwhelming!) For example, it could be the view out the window, the fireplace, the seating area, or an armoire with a mirror above.

Bedrooms: 

  • Make your beds and confirm that nothing shows under the bed (such as under bed storage containers or electric cords for bedside lamps).
  • Remove stuffed animals.
  • Remove your children's names from walls and other visible locations. (It's a matter of safety and security).
  • Follow the 3-items rule for bedside tables and dresser tops.

Bathrooms:

  • Remove all "fluff" - i.e., rugs, toilet tank covers, and seat covers.
  • Neatly fold your best towels on towel bars.
  • Make sure your tub area is sparkling clean and leave the shower curtain open.
  • Remove robes hanging on doors.
  • Follow the 3-items rule for vanity top and remove all items from top of the toilet tank.
  • Clean bathroom mirrors (toothpaste splashes show in photos).
  • Close the toilet lid.

Yes, preparing your home for sale and photos can be time-consuming, but there's probably nothing more important to a home sale except pricing.

Three of my last four Crofton area listings sold to buyers who saw the homes online within 24 hours of listing. I don't believe it's a coincidence that the sellers of these homes did everything I asked to make their homes photo-ready for these buyers.

Copyright 2006-13.  All rights reserved.

  DISCLAIMER: Information contained in this post is deemed reliable on the date of publication, but it is not guaranteed and it is subject to change without notice.

________________________________________

 

Margaret WodaMargaret Woda Blog SubscriptionMargaret Woda, REALTOR & Associate Broker
Direct:  (410) 451-6245 or click on EMAIL

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Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc. * 2191 Defense Hwy., #120, Crofton, MD 21114

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Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
Topic:
Home Selling
Location:
Oregon Multnomah County Portland
Groups:
Stage It Forward...
Home Staging
Staging Secrets
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Show All Comments
Rainmaker
434,092
Kristine Ginsberg
Elite Staging and Redesign, LLC - Short Hills, NJ
NJ Home Stager

Excellent reblog Maureen and every seller should have this list before they have their MLS shots taken! Margaret did a great job putting this comprehensive list together!

Apr 19, 2013 11:38 AM #1
Rainmaker
2,618,663
Charles Stallions
Charles Stallions Real Estate Services - Pensacola, FL
800-309-3414 - Pensacola, Pace or Gulf Breeze, Fl.

I agree with Kristine and might add that Margret does write great to do's and even a don't now and again.

Apr 19, 2013 12:59 PM #2
Rainmaker
1,279,094
Wallace S. Gibson, CPM
Gibson Management Group, Ltd. - Charlottesville, VA
LandlordWhisperer

I can remember print brochures from 50 years ago with lamp cords were everywhere and photos and prints on the walls were crooked....the thought of PRE-viewing the shot of the home just did not occur to the agent

Apr 19, 2013 07:33 PM #3
Rainmaker
326,127
Michelle Minch
Moving Mountains Design Home Staging, Pasadena, CA - Los Angeles, CA
Home Staging Los Angeles and Pasadena, CA

...or home sellers can hire a professional home stager to help them understand what needs to be done to get their home ready to sell. This is a great *general* list that Margaret compiled, but some home sellers need more specific information. A home stager can help with this :)

Apr 20, 2013 02:12 AM #4
Rainmaker
823,878
Maureen Bray Portland OR Home Stager ~ Room Solutions Staging
Room Solutions Staging, Portland OR - Portland, OR
"Staging Consultations that Sell Portland Homes"

Kris ~ Margaret's list certianly is a helpful tool for sellers

Charles ~ Yes, Margaret's years of experience have taught her a thing or two!

Wallace ~ We live in such a visual world now that even those lamp cords are noticed -- the small details all add up and make a difference

Michelle ~ Home stagers certainly can assist homeowners with these things -- and even more details that will make their home look "picture perfect" and appealing to the target buyer.

Apr 20, 2013 05:44 AM #5
Rainmaker
774,384
Joanna Cohlan
Fresh Eyes For Your Home - Chappaqua, NY
Designing, Decorating & Staging Westchester Homes

Hi Maureen, great post to re-blog, now this is definitely a comprehensive list for any seller -I really don't like seeing cords and tissue boxes lying around a house.

Apr 20, 2013 11:40 AM #6
Rainmaker
823,878
Maureen Bray Portland OR Home Stager ~ Room Solutions Staging
Room Solutions Staging, Portland OR - Portland, OR
"Staging Consultations that Sell Portland Homes"

Joanna ~ tissue boxes must be hidden out of sight, you're right!  They are not a "decor" item :-)

Apr 20, 2013 01:44 PM #7
Ambassador
645,988
Larry Lawfer
YourStories Realty Group powered by Castles UnlimitedĀ® - Newton, MA
"I listen for a living." It's all about you.

This is a very good list that Margaret has put together, thank you for the repost. Staging, I have found, is one of the single best ways for me to get more money for my clients and get their home sold more quickly.  As they say here, the cost of your staging is always less than your first price reduction.  Enjoy your Sunday

Apr 20, 2013 09:21 PM #8
Rainmaker
823,878
Maureen Bray Portland OR Home Stager ~ Room Solutions Staging
Room Solutions Staging, Portland OR - Portland, OR
"Staging Consultations that Sell Portland Homes"

Thanks Larry, it's always great to hear that successful Realtors such as you have found that staging has helped your clients.  I like that saying too!

Apr 21, 2013 04:45 AM #9
Ambassador
3,346,809
Margaret Rome Baltimore 410-530-2400
HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400 - Pikesville, MD
Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome

Excellent post and glad you are sharing Margaret Woda's wisdom. My radio show was today and we had two AR members call in.

Apr 21, 2013 05:20 AM #10
Rainmaker
823,878
Maureen Bray Portland OR Home Stager ~ Room Solutions Staging
Room Solutions Staging, Portland OR - Portland, OR
"Staging Consultations that Sell Portland Homes"

Margaret you're right, this post was definitely a good one to reblog.  I'll have to pull up the archived version of your radio show today!

Apr 21, 2013 09:14 AM #11
Rainmaker
305,778
Karen Otto
Home Star Staging - Plano, TX
Plano Home Staging, Dallas Home Staging, www.homes

This comes at a great time Maureen because even after consulting with some folks, these items tend to often get overlooked if we don't come back for finalizing the staging. I wouldn't have seen it if it weren't for your reblog (I stopped by Margaret's too). Thanks!

Apr 22, 2013 10:04 AM #12
Rainmaker
823,878
Maureen Bray Portland OR Home Stager ~ Room Solutions Staging
Room Solutions Staging, Portland OR - Portland, OR
"Staging Consultations that Sell Portland Homes"

Karen I know what you mean!  These little details are really important if sellers want their home to look its best online (and in person, too). Glad to have shared Margaret's great post.

Apr 22, 2013 10:09 AM #13
Rainer
16,242
Susan Kirk
Refreshing Innovations - Silver Spring, MD
Home Staging in MD, VA, DC, ASP

Maureen, this is such a helpful list to show sellers.  I would also add "remove personal items such as toothbrushes and cups from the bathroom sink area".  

Walked through an open house recently where the child's name was front and center over her bed. (not to mention their personal photos throughout).  Unfortunately this was a $800,000 house where the stakes are higher!

Apr 25, 2013 02:18 AM #14
Rainmaker
823,878
Maureen Bray Portland OR Home Stager ~ Room Solutions Staging
Room Solutions Staging, Portland OR - Portland, OR
"Staging Consultations that Sell Portland Homes"

Susan ~ That's an excellent addition to the list!  Buyers just don't need (or want) to see personal items like toothbrushes, hair products, make up, etc when they're viewing a home.

Apr 25, 2013 03:05 PM #15
Rainmaker
1,289,786
Gene Mundt, IL/WI Mortgage Originator - FHA/VA/Conv/Jumbo/Portfolio/Refi
NMLS #216987, IL Lic. 031.0006220, WI Licensed. APMC NMLS #175656 - New Lenox, IL
708.921.6331 - 40+ yrs experience

Maureen:  I'd missed Margaret's fantastic post ... so glad you chose to re-blog it.  Thanks!  Unbelievably good information and suggestions contained within it ...

Gene

Apr 29, 2013 05:24 PM #16
Rainmaker
823,878
Maureen Bray Portland OR Home Stager ~ Room Solutions Staging
Room Solutions Staging, Portland OR - Portland, OR
"Staging Consultations that Sell Portland Homes"

Gene ~ Yes!  Isn't Margaret's post chock full of good tips for sellers!!

Apr 30, 2013 06:59 AM #17
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