The majority of home buyers start their search online, so it is important to make the first impression count! Follow these tips to prepare your home for the best real estate photos possible:

GENERAL Tips for all areas in the home…

▪ Thoroughly clean whole house (vacuum carpet, mop hard floors, clean countertops, clean windows)
▪ Turn all overhead lights and lamps ON
▪ Replace all burned out light bulbs
▪ Use bulbs of the same temperature (ALL incandescent or ALL compact fluorescent)
▪ Turn all ceiling fans OFF
▪ Turn all TVs OFF
▪ Turn all computer screens OFF
▪ Open blinds/window treatments to let in outside light
▪ Remove personal photographs (or replace with general landscape/ object photographs)
▪ Make all beds
▪ Remove small floor rugs to reveal actual flooring
▪ Place all shoes/jackets in closets


Front Exterior

For online “curb appeal”: The front exterior is usually the first photo buyers see…

▪ Close garage doors
▪ Remove cars from driveway and front of home
▪ Clean up landscaping (mow, trim shrubs, clear leaves)
▪ Remove empty planters
▪ Use broom to remove cobwebs from eaves and door frames
▪ Remove visible water hoses
▪ Remove toys, sports balls, basketball goals, soccer goals, etc.

Back Yard

The backyard should be an oasis to relax….

▪ Clean porch, tidy up outdoor tables/chairs/cushions
▪ Pillows/cushions should be fresh, not faded
▪ Clear out kids toys, balls, frisbees, etc.
▪ Clean pool
▪ Remove pool vacuum/cleaner hose
▪ Hide pool cleaning supplies
▪ Turn on pool fountains/water features
▪ Remove visible water hoses
▪ Remove trash cans


Sometimes the focal point, the kitchen deserves attention to detail…

▪ Clear countertops completely. No knife blocks, baking supplies, mail, etc.
▪ Leave out max of one small appliance (ex. coffee maker)
▪ Clear outside of refrigerator of magnets, papers, photos, etc.
▪ Hide garbage cans in pantry or closet
▪ Remove dishes from sink, place in dishwasher

Dining Room/Table

This allows buyers to imagine a nice family meal…

▪ Clear table, dust and polish the table top
▪ Use decorative place setting if available
▪ Feature one centerpiece such as a bouquet of flowers
▪ Straighten all chairs and space them evenly
▪ Remove child seats/booster chairs

Living/Family Room

This is a space to enjoy conversation and spend quality time with family…

▪ Remove stacks of magazines, papers, mail, etc.
▪ Declutter fireplace mantel/hearth (no more than 5 items, including art)
▪ Clean interior of fireplace and re-paint if needed
▪ Fluff and arrange furniture pillows
▪ Remove kid’s toys

Master Bedroom

A good night’s rest recharges the body and mind…

▪ Make bed, including decorative pillows/shams if available
▪ Press bed linens and bed skirts
▪ Clear nightstands of all personal items
▪ Store away phone/tablet charging cables
▪ Remove all clutter from top of dressers
▪ Remove family photos from walls
▪ Clean under bed, including kids rooms and guest rooms
▪ Remove personalized names from walls
▪ Remove wall stickers/posters
▪ Remove diaper genies


To be spa-like, the bathroom must be clear of all personal items…

▪ Clear countertops completely. No soap, toothbrushes, medications, deodorants
▪ Put toilet seats down
▪ Close closet doors
▪ Remove shampoo, soap, loofahs, etc. from showers and tubs
▪ Remove dirty towels – leave out only new, unused towels
▪ Remove floor mats
▪ Clean under bed, removing items that may show in the photos


Pets are loving, but their presence should be minimized…

▪ Place food and water bowls in pantry or closet
▪ Place pet beds/toys in pantry or closet
▪ Use lint roller on furniture to remove pet hair
▪ Contain pets in hidden crate or outside
▪ Clear backyard of pet waste/toys


Jennifer Collyer – Real Estate Photographerreal estate photography