Before any buyer sets foot in your home, over 90% of them will review the photos of your home online. In most cases, they don’t just view the photos, they look through them many times, analyze them and share them with family members or friends. In today’s market, the online photos are often the first showing of your property. Only once a buyer has looked at your home online will they take the time to view it in person.

Because the pictures are so important, it is essential that the photos of your home show everything in its best light. Some agents choose to take pictures with their smart phone or digital camera as opposed to hiring a professional photographer. We all have our specialties and for the vast majority of real estate agents that is not taking pictures. A trained and experienced photographer has the right equipment and skills to produce the best images of your home.  But it’s up to you to prepare your home both inside and out for your photo shoot so the photographer can do his part.

Here are some tips to help assure your home is photo ready.

Deep clean your home. Dust shows and so do clean, shiny floors.
- If you have excess furniture in your rooms, put it in storage. Overstuffed rooms appear smaller.
- Remove clutter from countertops, coffee/end tables, dressers, night stands, mantels, open shelving etc. This means almost everything including the TV remotes, toothbrush holders or even   the toaster which are all distractions. Clean, empty surfaces with a lovely accent piece photograph best.
- Check all light bulbs. If they aren’t working, replace them.
- Stash items that just don’t need to be photographed such as laundry baskets, trashcans, and/or small rugs that can become dangerous trip hazards.
- For “feature” closets, pantries and other storage spaces that will be photographed, keep in mind that messy, overflowing shelves or rods will not photograph well.
- Before photos, landscaping should be impeccably groomed given seasonal constraints. Trim the grass if needed and remove the clippings. Rake leaves, prune trees and bushes and add some colorful flowers if possible.  Replace mulch or pine needles if you have them in your yard. In winter, shovel walkways and driveways.
- Remove any signs from your yard including “For Sale” or home security notices.
- Declutter the yard or patio including toys, water hoses or trash and recycling cans. If you do not have a garage, then move cars to the street prior to a photo shoot.
- All beds should be made with fresh blankets folded and pillows arranged neatly.
- Close all toilet lids and put out fresh accent towels in the bathroom(s).
- Turn on all lights and open blinds and other window coverings to draw in natural light.
- Arrange for the pets to be gone or not underfoot and remove all evidence of pets such as beds, bowls, food and/or litterboxes.
- If you have children, it’s best for them to be unobtrusive or at a friend’s house to ensure the best results.

If you aren’t sure where to start, let’s walk through your home together and I will create a list of recommendations to consider tackling before your appointment with the photographer. Being prepared in advance of taking photos is critical because no one gets a second chance to make a great first impression. Getting it right at the outset will dramatically increase the likelihood of an online buyer scheduling an appointment to view your home. Don’t miss that opportunity!

For additional information on preparing to sell your home, please contact me today for a consultation. I will be happy to answer any questions you may have about the home buying or selling process, help you to find a new home or determine the value of your existing property.


Allyson Hoffman, ABR, ACRE, CDPE, CRS, e-PRO, GRI, SFR, SRES
RE/MAX Villager
Serving Chicago's North Shore, North and Northwest Suburbs
[email protected]

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Allyson Hoffman is your ultimate real estate resource for Chicago's North Shore, North and Northwest Suburbs and surrounding areas. Visit my website for detailed information regarding today’s real estate markets.   

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