Your property’s photos must be top-notch for it to achieve its optimal selling price
The more people who are attracted to view your home, the more potential there will be to achieve its optimal selling price. Rightmove claims enquiries can quadruple with the best photography and studies say that the best images can increase the perception of value by up to 12%.
How to prepare your home to be photographed
The only ‘rule’ is to have fun with your creativity. Everything else that follows please just see as suggestions and ideas that will help you with the preparation. Colour can be fun, don’t be frightened to use it tastefully. De-cluttering is a very good idea, but not to the extent that the property looks sterile. A good objective is to promote a tidy but comfortable looking lifestyle.
If you have a favourite view of your property’s exterior or interior, then please tell the photographer when they arrive. If you are unsure that a piece of furniture or a rug is right for your room, then best move it out of the way or disguise it before the photography takes place. Please make sure that all light bulbs are working, especially low voltage downlighters such as those found in many kitchens. Picture lights, too, are very effective at creating visual interest – when they are working.
If possible, make sure that keys are available for French windows, and other windows and exterior doors, so that they may be opened if necessary. Branded plastic bottles, such as washing-up liquid, shampoo bottles, toothbrushes and toothpaste etc. are best kept out of sight. Upmarket products, such as Molton Brown bottled soaps or similar, especially if they are colourful, would be an exception. Please tidy away papers: but in moderation, quality magazines and coffee-table books can add to the lifestyle appeal. Please remove birthday cards, invitation cards etc. from mantelpieces and shelves. Stock bookshelves neatly with books rather than box files.
Wintertime, if you have an open fireplace, there is nothing that creates a homely feel more than a roaring fire. Or, maybe the photographer could roll up some newspaper; when lit for a few minutes this should create enough flame to photograph. Fires can also, sometimes, be edited in. Consider using props. For example, colourful vegetables (peppers, tomatoes) and a cottage loaf would work well in a farmhouse kitchen. Coloured glass, or bottles with coloured liquids complement contemporary, white or otherwise minimalist kitchens.
Plumped cushions and straightened curtains always look good. Fold towels or hang up fresh fluffy towels in the bathroom and replace any shower curtains and bathmats with lovely clean, neutral ones. Glass shower screens – try to make those sparkle. Fruit and flowers are easy to add, and they provide attractive splashes of colour.
Consider laying your dining table. A bare table with nothing on it looks dull and uninteresting. As a minimum, have a centrepiece to break up the slab effect. Some coffee cups and a milk jug on a breakfast table will look more interesting than an empty space.
Please remove magnets, postcards and children’s artworks from the fridge. Please move pet bowls and baskets etc. out of sight. Dressing tables, sideboards and similar surfaces should be neat and tidy. The less clutter the better. Trouser presses are a little old-fashioned and are probably best removed.
Dress beds with colour-coordinated throws, cushions and crisp, white linen for a luxurious look. A child’s bedroom can be imaginatively dressed with some attractive toys, arranged on a rug perhaps.
Don’t forget the garden! Mow the lawn and tidy away anything such as broken plant pots, fallen leaves or kids’ toys, and if you have room for a table and chairs (however small) add them. Buyers need to see the garden as an extension of the living space and a place where they can entertain, and remember, you can take all of these items with you when you move.
Try to arrange the shoot for when you know the garden will be looking at its best. If you see your property as a family home, then dress a table with, for example, a gingham tablecloth, jug of squash and glasses etc to help promote that lifestyle. Alternatively, a bottle of wine/champagne and glasses with something in them might be more fitting for other properties.
Place cushions on garden chairs and loungers, if you have them. Garden umbrellas should normally be opened, especially if they can be seen from indoors through your windows. Remove swimming pool covers where possible – depending of course on the time of year. Toys, rubber rings, nets/poles etc. are best removed also. Move cars, bins, garden trampolines and other outdoor toys out of sight. If this is not possible, often a photographic angle can be found to avoid them, especially if they are moved away from the elevation. Please keep hosepipes fully wound and tidy.
Curtains and blinds should be left open, especially if you will not be at home when the photographer visits. Vehicles should ideally not be visible from indoors through the windows.
If early in the year you know, or believe, that you will commence marketing your home in the autumn or winter, have it photographed in the late spring or summer when the garden is at its best. If forward-planning is not possible in your case, do not worry unduly, the photographer will still work hard to make a great presentation of your home’s attributes, nevertheless.