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The Photographers Are Coming, Are You Ready?

Brad Allen

The ART of Real Estate was founded with one question: What if buying and selling real estate could be a great experience? I've been asking myself that...

The ART of Real Estate was founded with one question: What if buying and selling real estate could be a great experience? I've been asking myself that...

Jan 24 9 minutes read

Selling your house, eh? Are you ready for the photographer? We have a saying that "there is a difference between the house you live in and the house you're selling". Take a look at the list of recommendations we suggest prior to the photographer comes out.



  • Pinestraw/Mulch - nothing makes the front of your home pop more than the contrast of pine straw/mulch against the green grass and your home. The week of photos make sure to spruce it up, and have it looking right.
  • Siding - your house could use a bath. I am not saying pressure washing per se, it would help, but at the least rinse it down with Mr. Clean Outdoor Spray® (click link to buy on Amazon). Just attached the bottle to your hose and let it rip. You'll be amazed at how sparkly fresh your home will look.
  • Bushes & Trees - I know there is a certain time of year to do this, so consult with internet to see when that is. But we need to make sure we can see the house. So if you stand in the road and notice a shrub/tree blocking the view, give it a hair cut.
  • Hoses - make sure they are wound up and out of site. A big green hose on your nice brown pinestraw will draw the eye.
  • Mail Box- This is literally one of the first things buyers see when they pull up. Give it a coat of paint, and make sure you have numbers on there too. If it's looking super tired, just replace it.
  • Plants in Planters - I love walking up to a home and there are two oversized planters with beautiful plants in it. So if you have the time and resources, I'd add them.
  • Clean Gutters - unless you are using them as planters, make sure they free of debris and nothing is growing in them.
  • Front Door - focus on the front door and the area directly around it. As the REALTORS mess with lockbox hanging from your front door, the potential buyers are looking around like they are tracking a swam of bees. So make sure that your front door has a fresh coat of paint or stain, that your welcome mat is nice, your door bell button isn't busted and that there aren't any cobwebs hanging around. 

Day of Photos

  1. Blow or Sweep off driveway, side walks and porches.
  2. Park cars on the street
  3. Put garbage cans inside the garage or out of view. 


  • Clean Furniture - if you have outdoor furniture, make sure it is looking clean. Black wicker furniture that is faded to a grey doesn't photograph well. Hit it with some spray paint or get rid of it all together. Also, make sure all fabric is colorful and not faded too. New cushions may cost money, but they go a long way.
  • Clean The Yard - put all of the kids and animals toys away. We want to see a carpet of green grass with out a Barbie Jeep or yellow frisbee in the photos. It's probably a good idea to get on a "poop scoop" schedule while the home is listed too. 
  • Pool - put away all hoses, accessories and automatic cleaners.
  • Water Features - make sure they are working and running. Nobody wants to see a dried up fountain.

Day of Photos

  1. Fluff up all pillows and arrange outdoor furniture.
  2. Blow off all decks, patios and walk ways.
  3. Clean the yard of animal waste, and toys.
  4. Turn fountains and ponds on.



  • Deep Clean - if there is ever a time to give your home a deep cleaning, now would be it. Either pay someone (we have recommendations), or take a weekend and knock this out. 
    • Wipe down walls and baseboards
    • Touch up paint or use Mr. Clean Magic Erasers® (wow I sound like I am getting paid to endorse them)
    • Wipe down blinds and windows
    • Steam clean carpets.
    • Mop hard surfaces.
  • Check Light Bulbs - not only do you need to make sure all lights have bulbs, but also make sure they are consistent. Nothing throws off photos more than  two "day light" bulbs and two "soft white bulbs" in the same room.
  • Hardwood Floors - take this time to invest in some paint pens that match your color of hardwood and repair and scratches or gashes. 
  • Baby/Pet Gates - go a head and remove these for the photos. We understand that you need to these to have some sanity while you live there, however, if there are some you can do without, we'd recommend removing them.


  • Wide Open - remove all shoes, coats, baskets or anything of the such from the floors. The foyer should be wide open.


  • Counters - people judge homes on how much counter space they have, so the more you can clear off the more people will like it. Now with that said, you do have to live in the home, so if you use the Keurig and toaster every day, then leave it out. But if you don't use the huge mixer, find a home for it in a cabinet.
  • Appliances - yes people are going to look inside of them, especially if they are staying, and also because they are nosey and think they should. So make sure if you have stainless that all the smudges are removed. Take down anything stuck on your fridge, no magnets, no photos, no list, nothing. The fridge is the biggest and most eye-catching object in the home and if it is clutter, your kitchen will feel the same way.
  • Garbage Cans- if you can, keep them out of sight.

Day of Photos

  1. Wipe down counters
  2. Hide all cleaning products around the sink
  3. Hide trashcan(s)
  4. Remove any items that snuck on to the fridge
  5. Place fresh flowers or fruit on the island if you have it.

Dining Room (if you have one)

  • Runner - place a nice soft, yet complimentary runner down the length of your table. It helps trick the eye into thinking the room is longer than it may actually be.
  • Centerpiece - Can you kill fake plants? If so, choose something that isn't alive. I'd keep the height to a third of the distance to the chandelier.
  • Chairs - 
    • Wooden - wipe them down and touch up any scratches with a paint pen
    • Fabric chairs - make sure they are clean with no glaring stains.
    • Booster/High Chairs - make sure to remove them for the photos. 

Living / Family / Great Room(s)

  • Coffee Tables - remove almost everything off of the table. If you want to leave one book or a few magazines feel free, just try not to clutter it up.
  • Fireplace Mantle - declutter this. No family or dog photos please. 

Day of Photos

  1. Fluff all pillows
  2. Remove any clutter from coffee tables
  3. Put away all remote controls, TV trays etc. 
  4. Remove any dog beds and kid toys.


General To Do's

  • Bed Skirts - almost everyone stores items under their beds, however we don't need to see them in the photos, a crisp white bed skirt will go a long way.
  • Night Stands - keep these clean. Remove all books. You can learn a lot about a person from the titles of the books they have on their night stand.
  • Artistic Body Photos - you will be amazed at the number of people with nude photos of themselves that are artistically done. One look at the photos, cross referenced with photos on the fridge, and it won't take but a second for the buyer to figure who the photos are.  

Kids Bedrooms

  • Names - remove anything with your kids names on it. There are a bunch of weird people out there, and they don't need to know your kids names.
  • Posters - remove these, flags, and anything that will distract the potential buyer.

Day of Photos

  1. Fluff all pillows
  2. Clear all night stands and dressers of clutter
  3. Dust off furniture
  4. Open blinds and curtians
  5. Put out all of those decorative pillows stuffed in your closet


  • Counters - nothing should be on the counters. Get in the habit of putting everyday items in the drawers and cabinets they came from.
  • Toilets - make sure they are cleaned and lids closed.
  • Showers/Tubs - Remove all soaps, shampoos, loofahs.
  • Towels- Put out your nice ones and put away the old ones, including the bathmats.

Day of Photos

  1. Remove all personal items
  2. Remove all soaps and dispensers
  3. Clean mirrors and counters


  • Down size the amount of pet stuff to as minimal as possible.
  • Place items out of view as much as possible.
  • If the dogs bed looks old and smells, it might be time to get Fido an upgrade.
  • Keep the back yard free of "land mines".
  • Keep litter boxes clean daily.

Day of Photos

  1. Remove all pet items

So Now You're Ready

When we arrive on site to take photos all of the above should be done so that we can efficiently and effectively capture the true essence of your home. We will go through and turn on all lights and turn off all fans. Unfortunately, we don't have the time to move items, clean or re-arrange, that should all be done by this point. As much as we like you and want your home to look great there are a few things that we won't do...

  1. Remove any bath or toiletry items
  2. Move furniture
  3. Photoshop items in or out of a photo
  4. Take exterior photos with Grey skies.
  5. Clean, dust, or pick up dirty clothes.
  6. Pick up toys or clean off counter tops. 

The way your home looks for photos is the way it should look when people come to see your home, so take your time and find a place for each item now.

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