Declutter, Clean Kitchen Counters & Sink
When the kitchen counters are completely cleared off, it makes the kitchen look bigger, and buyers can imagine how they might use the space. Coffee makers, mixers, and decorations only distract buyers, and often make the kitchen feel cluttered. Remove everything, but perhaps a few decorative items from the countertops and clean all surface areas, including the appliances, kitchen sink and back splash.
Clear & Clean Bathroom Sinks, Tubs, Showers
Place all the shampoo bottles, soaps, shaving razors, and other items into a bin that can fit underneath the bathroom sink. Take everything off of the bathroom counter as well. You want the bathrooms to appear vacant. Clean, neatly folded towels on towel racks are fine.
Replace Burned Out Light Bulbs
This is one of the most overlooked items on the list. Be sure to check all of the ceiling lights, as well as extra lamps and exterior lights to make sure that they all work. If there are dark areas in the homes, such as a basement, add a few extra lamps to brighten them up. Floor lamps that provide up-lighting are great! The more light, the better!
Turn On All Lights Throughout The Entire House
All the lights in your home make the photos have depth and warmth. Lighting is one of the most important aspects of photography. It’s important to have as much light at possible. Turn on all of the lights in the house, including lamps and exterior lights. Your photographer will be happy to find your home in its brightest light when they arrive.
Open All Window Treatments
Natural light from windows brings life and emotion into real estate photos. I recommend opening all of the window treatments throughout the entire house to let in as much light as possible. Either pull the blinds all the way up top, be careful with wide ones they get heavy and tend to sag which doesn’t look good in photos, or just adjust them so they are flat and you can see out. If there is something that might NOT be appealing to the potential buyer outside, then keep them closed. If it’s too bright outside, your photographer will alter your shades and curtains to balance the shot. Don’t forget to clean the windows!
Remove Unnecessary Furniture & Decorations
This is probably the most difficult request for sellers, but it’s one of the most important items on the list. Removing and storing excess or large bulky furniture can be challenging, but it opens up the floor space and makes the home look much larger. It’s wise to consult a professional stager to determine which items should stay or go. This is truly one of those situations where “less is more”.
Remove Floor Mats & Runners
Floor mats and runners are great at protecting your floors, but they can make the overall floor space look smaller, which in turn makes the room look smaller. Make sure to roll up and remove all of the floor mats in the bathrooms, kitchen, and laundry areas. If you have any rugs, consult a stager to determine whether or not they should stay.
Turn Off All Ceiling Fans, TVs & Computer Screens
Most photographers use HDR photography, which takes multiple light exposures for each photo and combines them into one final shot. Any moving items like ceiling fans or active TV/Computer screens look very strange in HDR. For this reason, I recommend turning off anything that moves or causes motion blur.
Clear Appliance Surfaces-No Magnets Or Clutter
It’s common to keep magnets, notes, reminders, and other personal information on the refrigerator. I ask sellers to remove all magnets, calendars, and personal items from the refrigerator and any other place where they place notes. It will not only make your home appear tidier, it keeps your personal info safe from the general public.
Make The Beds
This is an obvious one, that surprisingly gets overlooked, especially in the secondary bedrooms. Be sure to make and decorate all the beds with matching sheets, blankets, and pillows. Use bedding that covers the entire bed and fits the mattress correctly. Use decorative pillows to brighten up the bed, if possible. If a room is clean, and the bed isn’t made right, it makes the whole room seem off. Make them all and make sure that nothing can be seen under the bed.
Remove All Personal Photos & Items
It’s hard for buyers to visualize themselves in your house if your personal items are everywhere. Since you want your buyers to focus on the house and not on you, you’ll need to remove all personal photos and items from the entire house; including patios, porches, and garages, as well as cell phone chargers and remotes.
Put All Shoes & Jackets Into Closets
When buyers see shoes and jackets on coat racks and entryway floors, they subconsciously assume that the home lacks storage space. It’s best to remove all jackets and shoes from anywhere that they can be seen throughout the entire house. Store away any loose items to remove all distractions.
Clear All Night Stands and Dressers
Night stands tend to accumulate items naturally. Half-read books, prescription bottles, tissues, and electronic devices will quickly clutter these areas. Remove everything but a lamp and one decorative item, such as a small floral arrangement or decorative book to make the area look clean and presentable. Think of a freshly cleaned hotel room.
Remove ALL Pet Items
Not everyone has pets. In fact, some people are severely allergic to animals. It’s extremely important to make sure that your house shows no signs of pets; especially pet smells. Spend some time getting this part right, as it is one of the biggest factors in home price reductions and negative feedback from home buyers. Consider that you could be “nose blind” to the smell, as you live in it every day. Ask a neutral party for their honest opinion before listing.