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How to Get Your Home Ready for Marketing Photos

Make a Spectacular First Impression

Amongst buyers who searched for a home online, 96% of them found photos to be useful.

NAR Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers 2021

While today's real estate market undoubtedly favors sellers, there are still homes that linger. Some are in need of a major renovation while others simply missed the mark due to photos that didn't drive buyers to open houses or to request showings through their agent.

Remember, even a good photographer can't do much about a sink full of dishes, or oversized furniture making a room look small and tight.

Bottom line, great photos maximize the number of potential buyers who will want to see your home, and most importantly, make an offer on it. Prep not only takes a good cleaning but two key components:

  1. Decluttering – Removing extra stuff like mail, phone charger cords, toys and knickknacks, will keep eyes focused on the charm of your home and make every space look bigger. 

  2. Depersonalizing – Be sure buyers can imagine moving into the home by tucking away or packing up family photos, taste-specific art or decor, as well as personal care products.  

To take things a step further, review the items on our checklist below. You can also start from the curb and walk through your home and property looking for anything else that might be amiss like dust bunnies and laundry under a bed or scuff marks on the walls of your mudroom.

Even small details can be picked up by the camera and noticed by buyers viewing photos of your home. Don't let the small stuff stand in your way of a quick sale and maximum return on your home investment.

Home Prep Checklist


  • Turn on every light and open up the curtains or blinds.
  • Remove small rugs and runners that hide your floors.
  • Turn off all ceiling fans, TVs and computer screens.


  • Clear the counters of excess and non-decorative items.
  • Make sure there are no dishes in the sink or drainer.
  • Remove photos, magnets and artwork from the fridge.


  • Remove soaps, toothbrushes, medication, razors, etc.
  • Fold and neatly hang up fresh, clean guest towels.
  • Always check that the toilet seat and lid are closed.


  • Put hoses, garbage cans, bikes, tools and toys away.
  • Keep your lawn lush and landscape in good shape.
  • Remove vehicles in the driveway and close the garage.


  • Keep pets offsite or out of the way for the photoshoot.
  • Make sure there’s absolutely no pet waste in the yard.
  • Remove beds, crates, cat trees, food bowls, toys, etc.


  • Make beds, fluff pillows and straighten throw blankets.
  • Put all shoes, jackets and strollers neatly in a closet.
  • Add a vase filled with flowers or a bowl of fresh fruit.

Keep Your Eye on the Goal

This process can be tough, especially if you've made a lot of great memories in your home over the years. But, the goal is to appeal to as many buyers as possible and not just those who might appreciate your maximalist aesthetic.

Just keep in mind that the faster you knock out these prep steps, the faster you can sell for top dollar. And move on to a new home where you can make new memories, as well as find a perfect new spot for your hutch full of tchotchkes.

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