Preparing your home for marketing
It is no secret, the homes that are presented the best, attract the most interest.
To achieve the best property photographs, it is necessary to do a little preparation in advance of our professional photographer’s visit.
There will be limited time for tidying on the day and photographers have been asked to move or touch a minimal number of items when preparing for a shot.
It pays to declutter and clean well in advance so they can focus on capturing the best possible images
Making the most of natural light
The professional photographers I employ will make sure the photos look as good as possible whatever the weather. Sadly, they can’t control the sunshine, but we can add a blue sky to the final photo. You’ll want to make sure all the surfaces are gleaming so it’s a good idea to give the floors and surfaces a really good clean and polish. Sparkling clean windows let in more light so try to do this in advance as there won’t be time once the photographer is already setting up.
Make sure you pull back the curtains and lift up blinds.
Aim to declutter key areas such as kitchen worktops and anything stored on top of kitchen cupboards. You can leave the kettle and toasters but take away some of the other worktop appliances such as a smoothie maker or baby bottle steriliser. For a crisp photo that focuses on the kitchen space and fittings, ideally, remove children’s drawings or magnets from the fridge. No one wants to see the washing up liquid and dishcloths when they’re looking to buy a new home, so tuck them away in a cupboard before the photoshoot. If you are leaving a fruit bowl in the shot, make sure it’s generously filled to look as photogenic as possible. Remove pet items, such as the cat litter tray, dog bed and pets’ bowls. Pets themselves can sometimes be a bonus in the actual photos!
The living rooms
Our photographers can blur family photos but if you are having a 3D virtual scan, take away any images that should be kept private. For 3D virtual viewings, everything can be seen, so remove any valuable antiques, artefacts or sensitive paperwork. Plump up all the cushions and if they still look a bit sad, consider replacing them. You can always take them with you to your new home! Newspapers, magazines and cards can quickly date so are best removed. If there is a ‘working from home' desk and files in the living room, clear them away for the photos as they could make the room look cluttered.
Where you have an open fire, get it laid ready for lighting and sweep the fireplace. When the photographer is ready to take the photo, they’ll light a piece of newspaper to create an instant flame while the photo is taken. This gives a brighter flare than the gentle embers of an established open fire.
Bathrooms should be cleared of bottles of shampoo and shower gel unless they are luxury brands, such as Molton Brown or The White Company, which can add a touch of style to a bathroom setting. Remove children’s bath toys, towels, bath mats, loo brush and bleach, just while the photos are being taken. Buyers would prefer to see the heated towel rails included in the property rather than the towels, however stylish they may be.
Move any cars off the drive while the external photos are being taken and place unsightly bins or recycling tubs out of sight. In the garden, take the covers off garden furniture, put any cushions out and open the parasol umbrella if it is in good condition. Remove the rotary washing line (if there is one) or if it’s concreted to the base, retract it and put the cover on. Tidy the hose and watering cans away so the garden looks neat. Remove children’s smaller toys like footballs, scooters or bikes. The garden doesn’t have to look immaculate but should look cared for. Mow the lawn in advance of the photographer’s visit, weed the main flower beds, and if you have time, trim any straggly hedges
Props and accessories
Fresh flowers always make a room look inviting – a splash of colour can go a long way! The photographer can also use them in different rooms, perhaps in a different vase. There’s no need to lay the table for a formal dinner as this is only really expected in show homes which are usually styled by an interior designer. Check that all your lightbulbs are working, especially ceiling spotlights as they will often be switched on for the photos. They are unlikely to turn on lights with bare bulbs but certain rooms do lend themselves to the lighting installed. With each room requiring a degree of decluttering, it’s a good idea to use a boxroom or garage (anywhere that won’t be photographed) to store all the items for the duration of a marketing visit.
Daniel James McGowran MNAEA
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