I am pretty hard on my Sellers, and have a lengthy list of things to do to prepare for the day the Photos will be taken. We only have that one chance for the First Impression, and want the photos to pop off the page. I want that Buyer to be drooling over the photos and mark that listing with a HEART.
When your home is listed, you should be the BEST house on the block. Clean out the garden beds, no leaves from the Fall, make the front porch as desirable as possible and depending on the time of year - the yard should be freshly mowed and watered. Check for peeling paint on the body and trim of the home. Again, depending on time of year, fresh flowers in a pot always brightens up the exterior.
This one is very pretty............................................. This is what not to have......................
All the rugs from all over the home should be removed. You want the Buyers to see the flooring easily. You can put them back in place for showings, but not for photos. Be sure you have all the "stuff" off the refrigerator. I know you need that calendar to keep track of when the kiddos need to be where, but take it all down for photos. If you have minimal counter space, there should be just about NOTHING on the counters in the kitchen. Leave very few personal items out for the photos even with plentiful counter space, makes the kitchen look even larger. The bathrooms are the same - put away the tooth brushes, Kleenex, and leave out only decor, and minimal at that. Remove the plunger, trash cans, toilet bowl brush, etc. This would never be my listing, unless the Seller wanted to sell AS IS. And my professional photographer would have captured the whole bathroom, not just the sink and counter. Do these homeowners drink wine in the bathroom?
I always get questions about family photos, and if they should be taken down. I don't think a few will matter, but if you have a whole wall of family photos, you should minimize it to only a couple. You want the Buyers to view the HOME, not take time to look at your personal things. That goes for decor also - if you have a lot of it, minimize it. I have been having my photographer take photos of walk-in closets, as this is a huge plus for many buyers. Tidy it up, go through the clothes and shoes, and time to start getting rid of the items you have not worn for years. This way you don't have to move it either. Laundry room -- same thing, minimize the clutter especially if you have a dedicated laundry room, which is another plus for Buyers, which I like to have photographed.
It is spring (well almost...) and time to think about back yard entertaining. If you have a deck or patio, make your patio furniture look inviting. Take the covers off and extend the umbrella to look like it is ready for a party. Again clean up the yard and any garden areas. Raised garden beds are very popular, so be sure all last year's harvest and dead plants are cleaned up. Roll up the hoses, and be sure all empty pots are put away.
On the flip side, when my Sellers are Buyers - and they see pictures of all this stuff in photos of homes THEY are looking at, they can see why I am hard on them. Great photos sell homes! I always say - we are a TEAM, and together we can be the BEST!