I've been photographing homes for 10 years. I usually get to see them when they are at their most perfect, which is a treat. When I spend time getting ready for a party and clean my own house and get everything looking its best, the 10 minutes before the party starts is my favorite time in my house. If it's just us at home I can be a little slack on clearing off the counters or making sure the dish towels are straight (I have an 18 month old so that's actually close to impossible - we just remove the towels), but if I have people coming over I go the extra step to make sure it looks great. I always feel so happy to live in my house and so proud of it at a party.
I'm so lucky that almost every day I get to be the guest walking into someone's house they've cleaned and prepped and gotten to looking its absolute best. Photo ready is usually nowhere close to real life. I sold my own house 18 months ago. Being on the other end of things and getting my house ready to photograph taught me a few tips. The main idea is to clear out as much clutter as you can and make your house look like a hotel. Not sterile and bare, but comfortable and neutral. It's a little bit different than getting ready for a party, because for a party you usually add more than you take away: food, platters, candles, flowers. For a photo shoot you want it to look as if nobody lives there, or as if anyone COULD live there. See below for my 5 tips for getting your house photo ready.
1. De-Clutter your kitchen countertops
You want buyers to be able to picture themselves living in the space. Therefore, the kitchen needs to look functional but not crowded or personalized. Remove paper towels, personalized hand towels, trays of spices, containers of spoons, and personal photos. It's nice to have a bowl of one type of fruit on the counter (think green apples or lemons) and maybe a plant or flowers.
Example of how to stage your kitchen.
This perfectly staged kitchen looks ready for a new owner! The dishtowel brings in color without being too loud, and the plants bring in life without being too specific.
2. A welcoming bed
Nobody wants to see a bed that's "unfriendly." Avoid beds that are too big or large for a room, and when possible dress it with neutral bedding that looks comfortable. You want a potential buyer to see the bedroom almost as a hotel room that looks clean and inviting.
3. Bring in something green/living
One of my favorite tips I learned from home stagers is to have plants in a house. They make the room feel comfortable and add a piece of interest without distracting from the room. One of my favorite things a stager adds is a container of magnolia leaves, but you can achieve the same looks with an orchid or white hydrangeas or a potted plant.
David Sirzyk is an agent in our office who works with a lot of new construction homes. He's had a lot of success staging his homes, and the stagers usually bring in plants. See the photos below and how the plants add interest without distracting.
4. Good Landscaping
90% of people decided if they want to buy your home before they walk in the front door. Make sure your lawn is mowed and your planters have fresh seasonal flowers. The better the exterior looks, the more the potential buyer believed you have a well maintained home and are up to date with the maintenance.
This lawn is perfectly maintained with seasonal plantings, which makes it appear inviting and well kept.
5. Make sure you do not have too much furniture in a Room
Nothing makes a room look small like too much furniture. When you are deciding if there is too much, keep in mind you almost want it to look bare. The smaller the room the less furniture you should have. You want to make sure there is access to all doors in the room (especially French doors leading outside) as well as any entries or exits.
I love the way this sunroom is staged. It has the one sofa and chair with plenty of room to enter and exit the room. The bowl of fresh moss is also a plus! See how the camera loves it?
Have a fantastic week everybody!