Your home is clean, staged, and ready to show. But there’s one critical step left: taking compelling photos. The majority of buyers start their search online, so it’s critical to make the first impression count. Here are some tips on how to make your photos stand out:

There’s clean, and then there’s photo ready. But let’s first start with clean.

The first pictures buyers see are of the outside of the house. Here’s how to make it look pristine: 

  • Mow, trim shrubs, clear leaves. Remove empty planters.
  • Sweep front porch, remove cobwebs consider a new welcome mat
  • Remove toys, sports balls, basketball hoops, soccer goals, etc.
  • Clean pools and put away yard toys.

Now make your inside look tidy; kitchens, bathrooms, and common areas especially.

  • Show as much clean counter space as possible in kitchens and bathrooms. Hide appliances, jars and knife blocks — you can always put them back after photos if they’re part of your day-to-day.
  • Vacuum the carpets, mop the floors, clean countertops and windows.
  • Cobwebs show up in photos so clear out those. Same with dirty mirrors, give them a once-over.
  • Place shoes and coats inside closets.
  • Make sure all light bulbs are working and the same type on the same light fixture—i.e., no incandescent next to a fluorescent!
  • Clear and remove trash cans.
  • Clean pet waste and use a lint roller to remove pet hair from furniture.
  • Make all beds and remember to add back any decorative pillows you remove for sleeping. If you have items under the bed- they may show up in photos so tuck them away as much as possible.

Did you depersonalize?

Buyers want to imagine themselves and their loved ones in your home, so making your home look as neutral as possible will create greater interest.

  • Remove any personal photography and replace with landscapes or abstract art.
  • If you have a very specific art style or collection, consider storing it during your photos and showings.
  • Eliminate stacks of magazines, papers, and mail.
  • Remove non-essential items from hearths and mantles.
  • Store booster seats, changing tables and place scattered toys in receptacles or closets.
    Place pet items such as water and food bowls or crates in closets and cabinets.
  • Get rid of day-to-day items like hair ties and contact lens solution from the top of dressers and nightstands.
  • Remove shampoos, soaps, sponges and other self-care items from showers and tubs.
  • In the kitchen, hide knife blocks, baking supplies, and other items that will cause more curiosity from the viewer than focus on your home. Try to leave out just one small appliance like a coffee maker. Be sure to hide garbage cans in the pantry or closet.

Lights, camera, and action…

  • Turn on lamps and overhead lights.
    Open curtains and blinds.
  • Turn ceiling fans, TVs and computer screens off.
  • Turn on any water features, but put away hoses or cleaning supplies.
  • Close garage doors.
  • Freshen up pillows and towels, remove mats and other unnecessary items.
  • Check the placement of chairs on patios, in dining and living rooms.
  • And finally, add some fresh flowers (nothing with too crazy a fragrance) and get ready for some beautiful pictures.

Remember that how we see things is not always how the camera sees them. Great photos not only are going to make your home stand out on a listing page but on social media, flyers and more. Reach out to your Neat Homes partner with any questions on how to make your home look it’s best.

Neat also offers a complimentary 3D virtual home tour, so all the same considerations apply. The home tour captures even more—you can’t crop out a stray vacuum cleaner so if you have it out, assume buyers will see it. Make each shot matter!

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