First impressions are incredibly important in real estate. They set the bar for how buyers evaluate a property. How your home is perceived will determine how much money they offer. If your home doesn’t look clean, buyers may suspect it hasn’t been maintained. If the rooms look cluttered, they may appear smaller than they actually are. That’s why you should clean and declutter the whole home before listing. This includes trimming bushes, weeding, deadheading flowers, snipping dead leaves, storing unused pots and trellises, and washing windows inside and out. It’s also a good idea to have the exterior siding, driveway, and walkways pressure washed.
Your home’s first impression is the photographs and virtual tours displayed online. That’s why it’s so important to make your home shine on photography day. While a home can be cleaned and decluttered, there are still a few things that can leave a blemish on your first impression. Here is a list of items to double-check before the photographer arrives:
⚪ Clean mirrors: no toothpaste or water splatters – they dirty so quickly.
⚪ Replace dead bulbs and turn on all the lights: dead bulbs stick out like a sore thumb in pictures and, from experience, they’re more likely to go out on picture day.
⚪ Turn off ceiling fans: they cast shadows.
⚪ Open all window blinds/curtains: the more light the better the pictures.
⚪ Turn off all televisions, monitors, and computers: these distract from the room and may reveal personal information you don’t want seen.
⚪ Clear kitchen counters of clutter and appliances: leave just a few things for staging purposes, like a canister set, cookbook holder, or coffee maker.
⚪ Clear bathroom counters of clutter: remove bottles, toothbrushes, and other personal hygiene products.
⚪ Clear the shower/bath tub: remove all bottles, razors, washcloths, etc. and wipe down any glass doors.
⚪ Hide trash cans: it may feel like overkill, but they come across as clutter in photographs.
⚪ Put away pet toys and bowls: these tend to cause buyers to assume more wear and tear on the home.
⚪ Empty the dryer: the clothes can be distracting.
⚪ Cover large belongings you can’t move and don’t want people to see: vaults, gun cabinets, machinery, etc. or your real estate agent will assume you are comfortable with it being shown.
⚪ Remove cars from the driveway and directly in front of the house: these will block the view of the home.
⚪ Remove exterior clutter: trash cans, shoes, bikes, unwound hoses, pool nets, “No Trespassing” signs, etc.
It’s important to understand that the photographer will not move things that may be distracting or unappealing. They’re usually working under a time limit, which means they are there to set the camera and shoot, and not much else. Also, keep in mind that filming for the 3D virtual tours captures the whole room, so the best place to hide things is in a linen or cleaning closet, not the corner of the room and not a walk-in closet, which is usually included.
Let your agent know beforehand if there is a room you don’t want included, so the pictures are not posted on the MLS. Once pictures are posted, it’s difficult to get them removed everywhere. Pictures get “pushed” to third-party websites and not all websites delete pictures when they are removed from the MLS.