Preparing a house for a photographer can make all the difference between MLS  pictures that rock or ones that are disappointing at best. Good home staging would seem like a no-brainer for any new listing. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always happen that way. Larry Lorhman with photography for real estate posted on this subject last week , and I wanted to list some of his preparation items.  Photographers and brokers should communicate a list to prepare for a property shoot.

(General Preparation)

  • Contain pets in the garage or out of sight.
  • Remove vehicles from driveways and do not park in front of house.
  • Move garbage cans so they can’t be seen from the street.
  • Remove garden tools, hoses and sprinklers.
  • Mow and rake the yard.
  • Sweep driveways and sidewalks.
  • Remove piles of magazines and newspapers.
  • Clear off counters in kitchen and bathroom areas.
  • Put indoor trash cans out of sight.
  • Clean all the photos and kids drawings off the refrigerator

(More Specific – by area)

Kitchen – unclutter appliances. Remove trash cans, take personal pics or magnets off refrigerator.

Dining Room – Set the table as formal as possible. Use flowers or plants, wine glasses, candles and dinner setting.

Entryway – I normally take a shot from outside looking in with the front door cracked. Prepare the front entry way for an impressive shot. Also bookend plants may make a courtyard look great. Prepare landscaping and lighting if a sunset shot is in the works.

Lighting – Check to see that all light bulbs in the home are working. We tend to shoot with full light and fans to show motion.

Back yard – Should be uncluttered and the landscaping prepared for the kind of welcome that someone would like to have after a long day of work.

Bedrooms – Should be picked up. Themed rooms are fine but ten “Lord of The Rings” posters may not work for everyone. Remember that a buyer is in a different place in their life than a seller may be.  The idea is to give buyers an image and room to add their own ideas, pictures or colors.

A wall that does not have much light may be brought to life with some candles, pictures or other techniques.  Use runners or rugs to introduce floor color. Window, shades or blinds may be important for day time shoots. Sunset shoots are the easiest way to have unobsructed views through windows.

Living room – Spaciousness, fans and lights are key. Bright and airy yet welcoming is the best look for living areas. No magazines or paper and unclutter personal pictures as much as possible.

Bathrooms – Spend some time to “fluff” the bathroom.Toilet bowls should be closed. Check that all lights work and have  a nice display of potpourri with some candles, fresh towels and specialized soap. In general, take time to control the senses in the house. There are 5 to control – smell, touch, sight, hearing and taste. With a virtual tour, you can use two strong ones enticing buyers to want to see more. At the home showing you can introduce additional stimulus.

I remember going once to look at homes on Superbowl Sunday (don’t ask why)…! We walked into a home where we were clearly bothering the home owners. They were cooking steak, watching the Super Bowl on a big screen and the home sound system. We wanted that house more than ever once we saw what it could do…