Before the Photographer Arrives

- Make sure that you declutter all the rooms. What does this mean? Any knick-knacks and family pictures need to be removed. You want to make the people viewing the house able to see their family living in the space. Make the home look like a model home.

- Make sure that nobody is in the house during the photo session. If you are having cleaners or landscapers come, ensure that their work is completed prior to the photographer’s arrival. (Having cleaners or landscapers come the day before the photographer would be ideal.)

- Make sure the house is cleaned. This means all surfaces dusted, carpets vacuumed, mirrors and windows cleaned (any streaks will be noticeable), etc. Make the house look the best for potential buyers.

- Make sure that all the blinds in the house are functional. If the view outside the window is pleasant, consider raising the blinds. If other houses are in the view, angle the blinds to allow maximum natural light into the room.

- Make sure you check all lights in the house. This is important to the photographer so that the house can have more light, this will allow for a better appearance in all the rooms, and burnt-out lights will be very noticeable in the photos.

- Make sure all ceiling fans are turned off and dusted. The dust may be visible in the high-quality pictures. Also, ensure all the lights are functional and turned on.

- Make sure the TV is turned off and dusted. If you desire to have the screen on, make sure it is paused on an appropriate image that potential buyers might find pleasing. (My professional opinion...leave the TV off)

During the Photoshoot

- Make sure you do a walkthrough of the house and ensure that all the lights inside and outside the house are turned on.
- Make sure to open all the blinds and draw back the curtains. If there is an unpleasant view through a window, angle the blinds to allow the most natural light into the room while still remaining closed.
- Make sure all ceiling fans are turned off and the lights are on.
- Make sure you remove all trash cans from the view. Hide them in another room if necessary. This goes for the outside trash cans as well, place them in the garage during the exterior part of the session.
- Make sure that all the vehicles are out of the shot, if needed park your cars in the garage or down the street. If someone is parked in front of your house, make plans with them prior to the photographer’s arrival to have the vehicle moved.
- Make sure that you hide all pet bowls, litter boxes, toys, beds, etc. You love your dog, but you may not want everyone to know from the get-go that pets have lived in the house. Certain buyers might find this undesirable from the images. If you have dogs, make sure you can hide them outside or take them for a walk during the photo session. If you have cats, they typically hide in the house and typically do not cause any problems.
- Make sure if there is a pool/fountain/hot tub that everything is on and running. Remove all cleaning equipment, place it in the garage and out of the way.

In the Kitchen

- Make sure to remove everything from the fridge, this means magnets, photos, cards, and anything sitting on top. Also, make sure that the fridge surface is cleaned.
- Make sure to wipe all the counters, shiny and clean counters can really make the pictures pop.
- Make sure to hide any cleaning products. This means all soaps, sponges, paper towels, used hand towels.
- Consider setting the kitchen table with a nice set of dishes. If you do not own a fancy set of dishes, then ensure the table is wiped and cleaned of any napkins other clutter.
- Consider a touch of color. What does this mean? Buy a bouquet of flowers and put them in a decorative bowl. If you don’t like flowers then consider a bowl of mixed fruit.

In the Bedrooms

- Make sure that all the beds are made. Try to avoid any lumps under comforters, if you have decorative pillows this would be a great time to make sure they are set up. 

- Make sure to hide any personal items. If you have a nightstand with clocks or other personal items, consider putting these items in one of the drawers. 

- Make sure that the closet doors are closed. If you have a large walk-in closet and this is a nice selling feature of the house, ensure it is not cluttered and the lights are on. A good way to declutter would be to start putting away some of your less worn clothes to better show the size of the closet.

In the Bathroom

- Make sure that all the toilet lids in the house are put down and cleaned. 

- Make sure to remove any trash cans, cleaning items (such as plungers and toilet scrubbers), scales, toothbrushes, make-up, etc. Everything should be off of the counter and it should be cleaned. A single soap dish with some decorative soap may look nice in the picture. 

- Make sure to remove all soaps in the shower or bath area. A fresh set of hand towels or folded shower towels may look nice in the picture. If towels are used, make sure the color is complementary to the room. 

- Make sure to clean all glass surfaces (such as shower doors) and mirrors. 

- Make sure to remove any bathrobes and used towels from over doors or hooks. As stated above a freshly folded set of towels colored to match the room would have a pleasant appearance. 

- Make sure to remove all used floor mats. If you have a new decorative floor mat you can leave that as it will look nice in front of the shower.

In the Family Room

- Make sure to declutter the rooms. Any kids toys or unnecessary furniture to the room could make it look crowded. You want to show off as much space as possible in the living room and family rooms. 

- Make sure to power off the TV and hide the remotes in a drawer. 

- If there is a coffee table, consider placing a small plant or fanning out some magazines or books. 

- Make sure that the couch is decluttered and that all the pillows are clean and the colors match. Also ensure that there are no blankets hanging on the back of the couch. 

- Make sure that all carpet is vacuumed and if you have hardwood, a nice polish will show off some natural light and help the room to pop.

For the Exterior

- Make sure to clean all the walkways, driveway, porches, or patios. If you have the time a good power washing will help it look brand new. If you do decide to power wash, do it a day prior. Any wet surfaces on the outside of the house could give a patchy or spotty appearance. Make sure to turn any automatic sprinkler off for the day of the photo session. 

- Make sure to have all cars (including any type of recreational vehicle or campers) out of the shot, nothing in the street in front of the house or the drive way. If you have any type of for sale sign up, remove it for the time of the photo session. Also, ensure all trash cans are hidden from view. 

- Make sure to remove any items from the grass. This could be kids toys, sprinklers attached to hoses, all hoses, etc. 

- Make sure to check all exterior lights and replace any burnt out ones. If any twilight photos are being taken of the house this can really make or break the picture.