Get Ready, Get Set … SHOOT!
Getting your home ready for photos may sound relatively easy. But it is truly a process that could take some time. If you take off your homeowner glasses and put on the potential buyer glasses, you will start to see many details about your home that you would change if you were to consider buying the home.
For example, when pulling into your driveway when you get home from the grocery store, look more closely at how your house presents from the street. Are there leaves all over the ground? Are there lawn tools lying about? Are the hedges overgrown? Is the paint chipping on the trim around the door and windows? Is there debris, toys or other objects strewn about the yard? These are details that could deter a buyer from ever even walking in the door! Be sure to clean out from under your deck and your garage as well. Everything stands out in a photograph!
Now you’re walking in the front door. What do you see? Is anything out of place? Any clutter? How about kid’s toys or pet toys? Stains in the carpet? How does it make you feel?
Now, walk about the house and do the same thing in each room. What do you see? Are you feeling comfort when walking into each space? That is the emotion you want to evoke. Start there. Work around the house toning down loud paint colors, removing clutter, putting away toys, cleaning stains, etc. Keep going back to look at the space to make sure you are satisfied with how you feel when you walk into the room.
Once that piece is done, take another walk through the house. You’ll want to address any detraction from feeling comfort and finding the rooms inviting. Clean is key, including trim, doors, sills and windows. But you don’t want the space to have no personality once it’s clean. Just because you remove color from the walls, be sure to add color back into a room with accessories, like throws, pillows and décor. Keep the buyer’s eyes moving around the room using pops of color.
For example, if I’m a buyer in a bedroom, I want to see a space that calls me in to rest. Be sure the bed is made with fresh linens. Add pops of color with pillows, shams, curtains and accessories. Use color to accent a room, not as the highlight of the room. Rest should be the highlight. Remember, if I want to see rest, too many throw pillows on the couches and beds that are the homes’ resting places will detract from the idea of rest and become clutter!
Let’s take a walk into the kitchen. What do you see besides cabinets and appliances? Are there magnets and children’s artwork all over the refrigerator? Can you see the countertops? Are there appliances on the countertops? (coffee maker, microwave, toaster…) Are there dirty dishes in the sink or on the stove?
So, in this light, meander about the house to find space to store all of your small kitchen appliances that are presently cluttering your spacious countertops when not in use. Remove anything (visible trash cans, pet beds, pet toys, food bowls, magnets, soap dispensers, toilet brushes, plungers, bath mats and anything else not decorative) that will move a buyer’s eye to it, instead of the lovely accessorized room you want them attracted to. These items may be practical, but removing them adds to the appearance of space in a room. Remember, does it add to the décor? If the answer is ‘no’, it’s gotta go!
In light of bringing up the illusion of space, you want to make sure your windows and sills are clean so you can open up the curtains and shades. This is a must! And you’ll want to be sure that all of your light bulbs are in working condition. And … now this is important for pictures … be sure all lighting in each room is the same. Some bulbs give off a blue hue, others a yellow hue and some, just bright white. Your pictures will notice, so be sure they’re the same hue and brighten up the space.
Another piece of that puzzle is to step outside to see how your curtains and shades looks from the exterior. They should be balanced and level for the front and back of house exterior pictures. Remember, the exterior is the home’s first impression!
At this point, you should be ready … ‘camera ready’ and ‘show ready’ … to list your house. But before you call the professional photographer to take your pictures, walk through the house for one final check. Note any wrinkles in bedding or curtains, crooked pillows, dust bunnies collecting in the corner and any other details that seem minor, but scream to your attention in photographs. And your photographer will not be touching your stuff, so be sure he is taking the shot you want. Take some pictures yourself to see how the room appears in a photograph. Remember, the photographers photographs will be much brighter, crisper, roomier … you’re just taking pictures to look at the basics to see if anything stands out before having your professional photographer shoot.
So you’ve taken care of “Get Ready” in tips 1-5, and “Get Set” when you did your double check … and now you’re ready to “Shoot”!