Home Selling Tips – How To Prepare Your Home For Picture Day

Real Estate Agent with Amanda Davidson Real Estate Group Brokered By eXp Realty 0225221517

Home Selling Tips – How To Prepare Your Home For Picture Day

Pictures can make or break a home sale. The first place potential buyers are going to see your home is online, gone are the days that the first impression is when they pull up for a tour. I’d even venture to argue that the first showing for your home occurs online. If buyers don’t like what they see online they’re not going to come to see a home in person. You want to make sure your home is staged and ready for picture day. Below are tips about how to prepare your home for photos.

 Home To Prepare Your Home For Picutre Day

Interior Tips For Picture Day



Rooms that are packed with furniture will not only appear small in photos they’ll also appear small for showings. Less is more, work with your agent or your stager to determine which pieces should stay and which pieces should be removed. Anything you remove for picture day should stay out of the house for showings as well.



Countertops photograph best when they’re clear. For the kitchen, this means small appliances, paper towel holders, cutting boards, and knife blocks need to be removed. In the bathroom take the toothbrushes, soap, makeup, lotion, and any other personal items off the top of the vanity and put them out of sight. The same goes for nightstands and dressers – have their surfaces clear.



No magnets, photos, artwork, or calendars allowed. Have the exterior of your fridge completely clear. It should stay this way the entire time your home is on the market as well. While it doesn’t have to be done for picture day don’t forget that when it’s time for showings the inside of your refrigerator needs to be organized and clean.



Make sure the exterior of all the cabinets in the kitchen and bathrooms are clean. Wipe them down as needed prior to the photographer arriving. Pay close attention to spills, drips, and dried toothpaste.


Showers and Bathtubs

Shampoo and conditioner bottles, soap, razors, and anything else inside the shower or tub need to be removed. Showers and bathtubs should be completely clear including anything hanging on the wall. If you have glass shower doors wipe them down and remove any soap scum or water spots.

Home Selling Tips - How To Prepare Your Home For Picture Day 


Go through your entire house and replace any burned out lightbulbs. Consider replacing bulbs that don’t put off bright light to achieve better lighting the day of photos. On picture day turn on every light in your home. Lights on ceiling fans should be on too but, the fan itself should be off.


Throw Rugs

Entryway, hallway, and bathroom rugs need to be removed for picture day. Having them on the floor causes rooms to look small and cluttered.


Loose Wires

Lamp, TV, and electronic device wires should all be concealed. If that’s not possible at the very least they need to be wrapped neatly and zip tied to avoid being an eyesore in photographs.



Every bed needs to be made, not just your every day make your bed routine. Take time to make sure the sheets and blanket aren’t showing from under the comforter. Smooth the comforter out and ensure it’s even on all sides. Add a throw to the end of the bed for an added touch. Fluff and arrange all of the pillows. Getting a bed ready for photos isn’t a quick task, allow plenty of time the morning of photos.

How To Prepare Your Home For Photos When Selling 

Toilet Seats

This one is a pet peeve of mine anytime I see it in photographs of a home for sale. Make sure they are all down. If you have a professional photographer they’ll likely put them down or if your agent arrives prior to photos commencing to walk through your house they probably will too but, regardless of who takes care of it just make sure it gets done.


Trash Cans

All trash cans need to be hidden and that includes the kitchen trash can. Your home is the product you are selling, not trash cans.



It goes without saying to remove your pet the day of photos but, don’t forget to remove your pet's belongings too. Beds, bowls, and food storage should not be photographed nor should they be present for showings either. Some buyers do not want to purchase a home if its apparent pets live there.

Home Selling Tips Preparing For Photos 

Exterior Tips For Picture Day

Don’t forget the exterior when preparing for picture day. It’s equally as important as the interior.

Tips For Preparing Your Home For Photos When Selling 

Front Door

Place an attractive flower pot leading up the walkway or on a pedestal by the front door. Something with an inviting color that doesn’t overwhelm the space. Adding something by or near the front door gives a welcoming vibe in photos.



Trim trees and bushes, pull weeds, mulch flower beds, and mow the yard. If the weather hasn’t warmed up enough for the grass to grow and there are bare spots with dirt showing in the yard have sod put down.



Remove cars from the driveway and garage. If you have any sports equipment in the driveway or in front of the garage it should be removed as well.

Home Selling Tips 

Trash Cans

Even the trash cans on the exterior of your home need to be removed for pictures too. Buyers aren’t interested in photographs with trash cans in them under any circumstances.



If you have pets make sure the yard is free of any calling cards they’ve left. If you have children remove their toys – there shouldn’t be any random items left out in the yard on picture day. Garden hoses are an item that is often overlooked and they should be put away if they’re lying on the ground.



All the windows in your home should be closed for picture day – blinds, however, should be open. Don’t forget to clean them prior to the photographer coming.

How To Prepare Your Home For Pictures 

Preparing your home for picture day takes a lot of attention to detail. I make it a point to arrive 45 minutes to an hour ahead of the photographer so that I can go through each room of the home and make any final adjustments. It’s easy to overlook little things when you don’t prepare a home for photos every day and it’s a costly mistake to make. Think of the photos you’d share if you were creating an online dating profile, they’d only be your absolute best. The same mentality applies to your home. Take the time to go room by room and get it ready to shine on picture day!


Getting Your Home Ready For A Spring Sale via Luke Skar with Inlanta Mortgage of Madison

What Updates/Repairs Should We Do Before Listing via Joan Cox Broker-Owner House To Home in Denver Colorado




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Amanda Davidson Real Estate Group

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C  703.431.3755   |   O  703.988.3151  |   W  www.amandadavidson.com

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Re-Blogged 5 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Sally K. & David L. Hanson 03/22/2019 07:33 AM
  2. Lorrie Semler, REALTOR® in the Dallas area. Call/text 972-416-3417 03/22/2019 07:53 AM
  3. M.C. Dwyer 03/22/2019 11:48 AM
  4. Ginger Harper 03/22/2019 12:58 PM
  5. Susan McCall - - Compass Realty Solutions 03/22/2019 06:08 PM
Home Selling
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preparing your home for picture day

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Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

Amanda, loved this post in the 25+ years of being in Real Estate, I can count on two hands how many sellers appreciated and followed your posts advice.... the rest the photographer and I had to scramble from room to room, Endre

Mar 22, 2019 10:36 PM #22
Andrew Mooers | 207.532.6573
Northern Maine Real Estate-Aroostook County Broker

If the flower pot is in all the front door shots, I guess it could look like your trademark if the same type of pot and flowers. Try to make each home different in the series of shots, angles and approaches. Otherwise like tired sing song copy, they all seem the same. When you add video to the show and tell, keep the fans spinning on low so they know this is a full motion video... not a slide show of the same still slides pushing in, sliding out. Keep it clean, light and bright and tidy up the place as if you first date is coming over... you are out to impress when you are selling your home. Great list Amanda S. Davidson and congratulations on the gold star!

Mar 23, 2019 04:06 AM #23
Lise Howe
Keller Williams Capital Properties - Washington, DC
Assoc. Broker in DC, MD, VA and attorney in DC

I am sending this to two people whose homes I am about to list!  Thanks for a great article!

Mar 23, 2019 04:45 AM #24
Amanda S. Davidson
Amanda Davidson Real Estate Group Brokered By eXp Realty - Alexandria, VA
Alexandria Virginia Homes For Sale

Brian England of course! It was inspired by a 75 point photography checklist I made. I'd be happy to share that with you if you think it would be useful. 

Mar 23, 2019 05:26 AM #25
Amanda S. Davidson
Amanda Davidson Real Estate Group Brokered By eXp Realty - Alexandria, VA
Alexandria Virginia Homes For Sale

Jay Markanich that says a lot about your character, very honest and kind of you to tell them before they had an inspection. I agree some photos are SO bad, embarrassingly bad. Your trained eye catches far more than just an ugly photo.

Mar 23, 2019 05:30 AM #26
Amanda S. Davidson
Amanda Davidson Real Estate Group Brokered By eXp Realty - Alexandria, VA
Alexandria Virginia Homes For Sale

Jeff Dowler, CRS that's a great idea and puts things in perspective. You're right about the clutter, it seems to multiply in the camera. Thank you for sharing your process, I'm going to implement this as needed. 

Mar 23, 2019 05:35 AM #27
Amanda S. Davidson
Amanda Davidson Real Estate Group Brokered By eXp Realty - Alexandria, VA
Alexandria Virginia Homes For Sale

Rebecca Gaujot, Realtor® thank you! Absolutely, you and your broker are welcome to use it and brand it as your own. 

Mar 23, 2019 05:36 AM #28
Elaine VonCannon
Coldwell Banker Traditions - Williamsburg, VA

Amanda, this is a great article! Some very good tips on home staging. Have a great weekend!

Mar 23, 2019 05:37 AM #29
Amanda S. Davidson
Amanda Davidson Real Estate Group Brokered By eXp Realty - Alexandria, VA
Alexandria Virginia Homes For Sale

Endre Barath, Jr. haha I always say we need to do a time lapse when we get to a house before photos. We arrive about an hour early and I know we look like little ants running around putting things away. It's heaven when sellers follow our advice but, I completely agree those that do are the minority. 

Mar 23, 2019 05:38 AM #30
Amanda S. Davidson
Amanda Davidson Real Estate Group Brokered By eXp Realty - Alexandria, VA
Alexandria Virginia Homes For Sale

Lise Howe congrats on your listings! I hope your clients have them all ready for the camera. 

Mar 23, 2019 05:38 AM #31
Gordon Crawford
Gordon Crawford Home Selling Team - Morristown, NJ
Your Morris County Specialist!

Once again, you nailed it Amanda!  Doing all the small things make a HUGE difference in the pictures.  Those pictures are critical to your sale.

Mar 23, 2019 06:00 AM #32
Richie Alan Naggar
people first...then business Ran Right Realty - Riverside, CA
agent & author

Amanda ruler of all Alexandria VA Real Estate....

Mar 23, 2019 07:30 AM #33
Anne Corbin
Long and Foster - Lake Anna - Spotsylvania, VA
Serving Lake Anna & Central Virginia

Absolutely love this list so I shared it on my facebook page, giving you credit, of course!! Thanks so much for the wonderful insight on photography for home listings.

Mar 23, 2019 07:52 AM #34
Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD
ViewHomes of Clark County - Nature As Neighbors - Camas, WA
REALTORS® in Clark County, WA

Great list, Amanda. We saw a million dollar plus listing pop up last week and the deck was covered in leaves. Really?  Sloppy mistake in our book. 

Mar 23, 2019 08:03 AM #35
Jan Green
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

This is GREAT for anyone considering selling a home.  It's so important to de-clutter and follow your entire list.  We never get a second chance at a first impression :)  Congrats on your accomplishments!

Mar 23, 2019 09:28 AM #36
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Hi Amanda- excellent post and certainly feature worthy. We've all seen MLS photos where you shake your head and wonder what they were thinking. Always view a room through a camera's eye. 

Mar 23, 2019 01:05 PM #37
Shirley Coomer
Keller Williams Realty Sonoran Living - Phoenix, AZ
Realtor, Keller Williams Realty, Phoenix Az

A great list to share with sellers.  There are so many things to do to get it right.  I agree on the toilet seats.  Seats that are up are the worst!  They are so distracting.

Mar 23, 2019 02:04 PM #38
Robin Wells
RAW Chimney Sweep and Inspections - Penetanguishene, ON
Giving Peace Of Mind One Chimney At A Time

Excellent post and a lot of good information.  So many time if people only stopped to think and sometimes things are so easy to add that extra little bit.

Mar 24, 2019 05:03 AM #39
Joyce Marsh
Premier Sotheby's International Realty - Ormond Beach, FL
Premier Sotheby's International Realty

We also like to take preliminary photos prior to the photo shoot just to have a visual reference so we can address any areas that need attention.  Nice list and congrats on the feature.

Mar 24, 2019 06:34 PM #40
Pat Starnes-Front Gate Realty
Front Gate Real Estate - Brandon, MS
601-991-2900 Office; 601-278-4513 Cell

Excellent post! I found it because another member shared it. This is fantastic material. It is crucial that the house shines before photos are taken. You are 100% correct, that if the pictures don't look good online, buyers might reject the property without viewing it in person.

Apr 06, 2019 09:23 AM #41
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Amanda S. Davidson

Alexandria Virginia Homes For Sale
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