I'll try to keep things brief here, but we won't have a lot of time to talk about what looks good. If you have time... peruse and read thru. If you're just wanting the Reader's Digest version, hop on through the thumbnail tips. You can always send a quick photo to your Realtor to get feedback on individual rooms as you get ready!! In a rush? Just scroll to the end and snap a photo of the short list on your phone to help you get through the important stuff!
~ Picture Day Preparation ~
I'm a visual person and since we can't chat at length about picture day before picture day, I've put these tips together to help us make the best of your home's big day. I think the best way to think of picture day is to see your home through the eyes of the buyer. Buyer psychology says we want a clean, well taken care of home. We want a place where we can grow a family, relax in the evening, or entertain our friends. Buyer psychology says if I see burnt out light bulbs, I may wonder how much care and maintenance has gone into the home while the owners have lived here. And finally, buyers will want to envision their own things in the space. When filled with other peoples' things it can be difficult to imagine your own things in the space. A huge key to preparation is curb appeal, a welcoming space, and declutter, declutter, declutter!! Please don't worry so much about vacuuming or dusting. Windows, mirrors, sinks and countertops are the biggest focus. :)
Step One: Pack up the stuff you don’t use from inside your cabinets. You know... the stuff you break out once in a blue moon. A zillion coffee mugs, roasting pan, much of the glassware and plates. Vitamins you’re not taking. Box it up and put it in your garage. You need your cabinet space for the next part. Remember...You are moving, so this part will actually help you as well when you’ve accepted an offer!
Step Two: NOW you have plenty of cabinet space to stash all of your stuff from your countertops for photos and showings. Countertops for photos and open houses should have a maximum of one small appliance - the preference here is zero appliances. Your blender, toaster oven, juicer, microwave, coffee maker and instant pot are space takers. The goal of the kitchen is a clean wide-open countertop. Maybe add a bowl of fresh, not over-ripened fruit for bonus points!
The vantage point for the camera is just above the countertop. This means YES - please empty the sink and stow sponges and cups and drying racks in the dishwasher for photo day!!
Countertop appliances are the biggest space eaters!! We recommend zero, one at most, even in large kitchens. Knife blocks aren't really pretty - so really if you can copy the same format that stagers do, you'll have a photogenic kitchen. A plant or just a couple of canisters can help make the area look clean and inviting.
Kids Bedrooms: Trophies, ribbons, posters, keepsake toys and most of the things on top of dressers can be boxed/packed. Again, easier for after you’ve accepted an offer. IF YOUR CHILD is stressed about moving, get their buy-in to help boxing stuff. If it’s still too early to “pack up”... please put the aforementioned stuff in a crate or bag on the day of photos so we can just set it in the hall and photograph the room. Then you can reset the room right after photos are done. Nothing under beds gets bonus points. Have kids make their beds - that’s the fun part!!
Master Bedroom: Nightstands are notorious for a glass of water, reading glasses, phones, charging stations, books, photos, speakers, alarm clocks and general “stuff”... Clear ‘em off! Gimme a lamp and a plant and I’m a happy photographer. Make your bed. Again, don’t stress too much about vacuuming.
Patterns on bedspreads can be distracting in photos... the more Plain Jane... the better! Throw in some big pillows because lumpy sad ones are just well... lumpy and sad.
Yes. We know it looks like no one lives here. My nightstand has a dock for my Apple Watch, an iPhone cord, and whatever I may have brought to drink while dozing off. Alarm clocks, magazines and your latest small weights don't go here for picture day. The best bedrooms have a sense of relaxation and zen. Think like a buyer in every room you step into!
Pull out bathroom rugs/waste baskets and fuzzy toilet seat covers! Stash makeup, skin care, perfumes, toothpaste, toothbrushes, and all shower toiletries. Clean, streak free miror and shiny faucets are often overlooked. This one is important!! Make sure all light bulbs on vanities are working and that they match.
Plain. Simple. Minimal.
When in doubt, take it out! Shampoos, perfumes, medications, lotions, towels, robes, and pretty much every other toiletry can be tossed in a bag. After photographing hundreds of homes, this one theme rings true : Buyers love a blank slate. Give them space to ponder on without making a space look totally naked and afraid. ;)
I can move some things as time permits. I can also correct some things in Photoshop. For the sake of example, I've added this photo for discussion. This is a leased property where the tenant was very cooperative and so we try to be minimally invasive. From a critique perspective, I'd remove the towels, candles and magazine rack from this room. Just a simple plant and maybe a framed small piece of art would work in this small powder room.
The Home Office
This one is an understandably difficult room to make clutter-free. Everyone's personal work space is unique - just do your best! If you can pack some things up, great! If not, the absolute best thing you can do in the office is to power down your computer and just unplug your cables from the monitor and hard drives. Without a doubt, these are the most tricky Photoshop shots to work with.