Did you know that houses with professional real estate photographs sell 32% faster than homes than other listings?

Professional real estate photography can even help your home sell for more money.

When it comes time to list your house, there are a number of things you’ll want to do to prepare your house for real estate photos.

Let’s take a look at 15 pro tips for preparing your house when taking real estate photos.

Exterior Photo Preparation

When the time comes to do real estate photography preparation, it’s easy to fixate on the interior of the house. Don’t let your concern for a cluttered kitchen let you overlook your front and back yards.

1. Clean up Your Yard

Whether you have a postage stamp yard or several acres, you’ll want to make sure your yard is clean, tidy, and well-kempt.

Before taking real estate photos, you’ll first want to clean up the space. Clean up after your pets and put away any garbage cans, toys, bikes, gardens tools, or hoses. Make sure there aren’t any empty planters lying around, too.

Once things are tidied up, you’ll want to rake up leaves, mow your lawn, and prune bushes and trees. If you have flower or vegetable gardens you’ll want to make sure they aren’t overgrown or weedy. Take a broom to any eaves and door frames that have gathered cobwebs.

If your photos are being taken in the winter, make sure the driveway is plowed and any walkways, patios, and decks are shoveled.

Cleaning up your yard is particularly essential if you’re going to have drone photographs taken of your property.

2. Set the Scene

Now that your front and backyard are free of clutter and manicured, you’ll want to set the stage.

If you have patio furniture, open the umbrella. If the season is right, uncover your grill and hide the cover. Before taking real estate photos you’ll want to remove any holiday decorations you have on your lawn or on your home’s exterior.

You’ll want the driveway to be empty for the photos, so park your cars on the street where they’ll be out of the shot while the photos are being taken. Make sure to close your garage doors, too.

3. Clean Your Porch

If you have a porch, deck, or patio area, this is a great selling feature for your house. Use this to your advantage by having it tidy, clean, and lovely for the photos.

Make sure any children’s or pet’s toys are nowhere to be seen. You’ll want to replace any faded pillows or cushions on patio furniture with fresh-looking pieces.

4. Clean Pool

Having a pool area is another desirable feature for a home. Make sure to get your pool area set up to take the best pictures possible.

You’ll want to clean your pool right before the photos are taken. Hide any pool cleaning supplies and remove the pool vacuum or cleaner house. If your pool area has any fountains or water features, turn them on.

Interior Photo Preparation

Now it’s time to focus on the inside of your house. Your photos will be a major deciding factor in whether people choose to view your home or not, so it’s worth putting quite a bit of effort into preparing your house for real estate photos.

Before listing your home, you may decide to invest some money into getting it fixed up and ready for sale. It’s common for sellers to paint the interior of their home in neutral colors before putting it on the market. Click here to learn more about how to add a ‘wow’ factor to your house.

5. Declutter

Your first interior step is going to be to declutter as much as possible. Put away any clothing, dishes, towels, toys, or anything else that’s lying around. Tuck your shoes and jackets into a closet so they don’t clutter up the image.

It is possible to have items removed digitally from photographs, but this will add to the cost of your real estate photos.

6. Clean Every Room

Each room will need to be dusted, swept, and/or vacuumed. Don’t let those cobwebs or pet hair show up in the final photos!

7. Depersonalize Your Home

You don’t want your home to feel unwelcoming, but you also don’t want it to be so “yours” that prospective buyers can’t picture themselves in it.

Takedown personal photos of family and friends, and if it’s appropriate you can replace them with landscapes or artwork with generic subject matter. You definitely won’t want anything artwork that could be viewed as offensive to be hanging on the walls.

It’s important that the buyer can focus on the house and not be distracted by your personal belongings. This goes for your patio area and outside of your house, too.

8. How to Prepare Your Kitchen

You’ll want to clear the kitchen counters as much as possible, as empty counters look much bigger than cluttered counters.

Remove everything from your counter space including toasters, mixers, coffee makers, and decorations. Take down any magnets or decorations on your refrigerator. You can leave a few carefully chosen decorative items such as a vase of flowers in the middle of your island counter, but remember that less is more.

Of course, you’ll want to make sure that your sink is empty of dishes, there isn’t a pile of plates in a drying rack on the counter, and that all surfaces, appliances, and your sink are clean.

Make sure there won’t be any garbage cans visible. Hide them in a closet or the pantry if necessary. You’ll also want to clear away any dish liquids, cleaning products, and dish towels.

If you have a dining room, you’ll want to clear the table, dust, and polish the top. It can be nice to put out a decorative place setting and one nice centerpiece like a flower bouquet. Get rid of any child’s booster seats, and make sure all of the chairs are straight and evenly spaced.

9. How to Prepare Your Bathroom

All of the shaving creams, razors, shampoos, and soaps that live in your shower should be tucked away in a cabinet for your photos. You’ll also want to take any and all objects off of your bathroom counter, like medication, deodorant, toothbrushes, makeup, and hairdryers. The bathroom should be as empty of stuff as possible.

Take away any dirty towels, but having neatly folded, clean towels on your towel rack is absolutely fine.

Before the real estate photos are taken, you’ll want to make sure the toilet seat is down and any closet doors and cabinet doors are closed. If you have a bath mat, remove it.

10. How to Prepare Bedrooms

In your homes bedrooms, you’ll want to make sure the nightstands don’t have any personal items or excess clutter, as well as the top of the dresser. If you have a charging area for phones, tablets, and computers, tuck all the wires somewhere out of sight.

All the beds should be made, and you’ll probably want to iron the bed linens and bed skirts.

If you have belongings stored under the bed, you’ll need to move them if they’ll be seen in the photos.

11. How to Prepare the Living Room

The living room should be free of clutter, including stacks of papers, magazines, and mail. Don’t forget to declutter the fireplace mantel, which really shouldn’t have more than 5 items on it including artwork.

Get rid of any kid’s toys that are laying around, and arrange the furniture in a pleasant way. Any pillows that go on your couches or chairs should be fluffed and placed purposefully. Make sure to put any remote controls, extra blankets, or other personal items away.

12. Lighten up the Space

One important step to prepare your house for real estate photos is to let in as much light as possible.

This means you should be turning on all overhead lights and the lamps in every room. You’ll also want to open up all blinds and/or window treatments in your home to allow in natural light.

It’s good to test all of the lights ahead of time, so if there are any bulbs burned out you can replace them. This applies to the outdoor space, too, particularly if you’re going to have real estate photos taken in the evening.

13. Remove Unnecessary Furniture and Decorations

Once again, you don’t want the home to be empty, but you definitely don’t want it to be crowded.

Consulting a stager can be a good idea if you have a hard time understanding how much is too much. If you’ve been happily living with your livingroom packed to the brim with awesome antique furniture, it might be hard to realize just how much of it you should take out for your photos.

The more stuff there is in a room, the smaller it’s going to look in your photos. Also, you’re really trying to take pictures that allow the prospective buyers to imagine their own furniture and decorations in your home.

14. Remove Floor Mats and Runners

Floor mats can make your rooms look smaller. In order to make your home look as big as possible, you’ll want to roll up any floor mats you have in your kitchen, laundry areas, or bathroom.

As far as area rugs go, you’ll want to consult a stager about whether or not they should remain. Some rugs might be fine for photographs, others might detract from the room and hide the high-quality wood floors underneath.

15. Turn off All TVs, Ceiling Fans, and Computer Screens

These days, most real estate photographers use HDR photography to photograph your home. That means that for each photo, multiple light exposures are taken and combined in order to obtain the final shot.

Moving items like active TV or computer screens, as well as ceiling fans, can turn up looking quite strange in HDR. So if there’s anything in your home that moves or could cause motion blur, turn it off before the photographer shows up.

Final Considerations

When you’re preparing your house for real estate photos, it can be helpful to look at other local listings online. You will be able to notice that certain homes stand out to you more than others, and a big part of that is likely the quality of the staging and the photography. This can be a great way to inspire you before decluttering, cleaning, and staging your own home.

On the day of the shoot, if you have any pets you’ll want to find a place for them to go where they’ll be out of the photographer’s way and not in the photos. You might consider putting smaller pets in a pantry or a closet with their food, water, toys, and bed just for the duration of the shoot. You could also put them in a crate that is either hidden somewhere or outside.

Before listing your house, if you have pets, you’ll want to make sure your home is free from pet fur. It’s also possible that your house has a bit of a pet smell to it, but you don’t notice because you are used to it. You might consider asking a neutral friend for advice before listing your house, so you can attend to the issue if necessary.

Preparing Ahead of Time for Taking Real Estate Photos Is Well Worth It!

It might seem like a lot of work to prepare for taking real estate photos, but if your house sells faster and for more money, you’ll be glad you did it!

Plus, you’ll presumably be showing your house soon after the home is listed. So, you’re essentially just getting ahead of the game and deep cleaning your home and preparing for open houses or potential buyer showings.

Are you interested in having professional real estate photographs taken of your home in Houston, Texas? If so, learn more about us and request an estimate today!