At any price-point, there isn’t a single thing that attracts a buyer to a listing more than the photo presentation.
Once buyers are in their price range online, it’s all visual.
These top tips are going to be almost identical to what sellers need to do to be ready to sell and you are free to make use of this information as part of your conversation with sellers. Not all sellers and not all agents take preparation to the maximum, but, by applying effort from the list of items noted here, they, and you will improve the chances of obtaining better-than-average photos and selling the property for more money in less time. Think Clean, Generic, Impressive.
Depersonalize. Depersonalizing the home has more than one benefit. Not only will it make the home more welcoming to prospective buyers because they won’t be distracted by family pictures and personal nick-knacks, it creates a more open space and cleaner lines of vision in the space. I mean seriously, who wants to look at generations of family and stranger’s wedding photos when the home is supposed to be the focus.
Create Space. Creating space is part of de-cluttering, which comes up next. Furniture should not be pushed against walls – keep it at least 6 inches away from walls; up to a foot if there is room. The space will look bigger, balanced, and the living area within the space will be more comfortable and inviting. Obvious foot paths through rooms and from space to space should be free of obstacles, plants, chairs, tables, and the like. Every house has a designed in flow; try to present it.
De-cultter. After years in a home, it’s only natural to accumulate stuff, some stuff is keeper, some stuff should be tossed or at a minimum, put in the garage or in a dumpster. I’m a guilty party, but, I’m not selling right now! Less clutter, more space, more open lines of site and improved foot traffic. We want the cleanest most simple photos possible.
Clean. I’ve been told that cleanliness is next to godliness and we all know that sometimes it takes an act of god to get the buyer in the door. Everything from counters to mirrors, to windows (especially the largest windows and glass doors), cabinets, floors and carpets should be as clean as possible. Granted, our photos may not show how dirty a space may be, but, once buyers arrive, they will notice it and possibly loose faith in the property.
Staging. While not all sellers or their agents have the means to pay for professional staging, but, if you can pull it off, it’s well worth it. If not, some basics apply. Keep things at waist to chest height so people can see around the space. Create balance with furniture and lighting. Don’t feel pressured to fill each corner, table top, or counter with homey things. Less is more is always a win and results in the best photos. Staging advice and professional referrals are available.
Curb Appeal. While the front of the house is the most important presentation, be sure sellers don’t hide all their stuff on the sides of the house. If they have stuff that can’t be moved and isn’t considered presentable, it can go under decks if need be, or consider piling the stuff in the corner of the yard and covering it with a green tarp temporarily. Away from the house is always better. Fresh cut the grass, sweep the walkway, or blow it down along with the driveway. Plant some seasonal flowers or just be sure the beds are clean, mulched if possible.
Vehicles / PODS / Dumpsters. Any vehicle that runs should be out of the driveway. If the owners have a broken down car, covered collectible cars, or anything that’s an eyesore like a dumpster or POD, photos should be scheduled for when these items are moved. Of course, if the situation demands it, I’ll always work around things as best as possible. What I’m presenting here are ideal situations.
Kitchens and Baths. Kitchens and baths get the same treatment as above, but, they have their own category here because these rooms/spaces are the most critical for photos and what buyers focus on. Kitchens should come as close to a showroom presentation as possible with counter top appliances removed, utensils, glasses, serving plates, towels, cookbooks, bread baskets, and fruit bowls should be removed from the space. Refrigerators should be free of magnets, photos, trinkets and the like. Bathrooms, should be free of all personal toiletries, tooth bushes, toothpaste, combs, brushes, drinking glasses, make up, wipes, extra toilet paper, robes and used towels. Fresh towels is a nice touch, but, sometimes, I’ll remove them because of size or color. And don’t forget clean. Clean everything!
Unfinished Space. Although I don’t normally shoot unfinished space; at times, we may want to show expansion areas or the laundry space and/or mechanical space. If we’re doing this, these areas should be addressed per the above recommendations. If the home has a walk in closet that is special, and we’re shooting it, it should be well organized and neat.
I’m always available for conversation. I’ll always meet with you and your sellers before the shoot if needed, and of course, day of the shoot, I’ll help tweak things on the spot if needed. If you have any questions or want a seller to consult with me; 401-527-6719. MarkOltedale@gmail.com ShotsThatSell.com