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It’s human nature to make snap decisions in new situations. And though we’re told not to “judge a book by its cover,” when it comes to real estate, this happens all the time.
First impressions matter and they matter a lot. If a home looks great on the outside, but the inside is a messy disaster, potential buyers will simply turn around and walk right back out the front door. Learn more about photography ideas at home on our website PhotographyTalk.com.
Many people are visual learners, so they need to see the potential that a home offers. That’s where staging comes in.
Whether you’re a real estate photographer, a realtor, or selling your home on your own, these home staging tips will get the property well-prepared for photos.
Home Staging Tips: Start With Decluttering
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You can show off all the amenities a home has to offer if potential buyers can’t see anything through the clutter and mess. That’s why decluttering is an important first step.
Some people take decluttering to mean that they need to all but move out of the home while it’s for sale. This is simply not the case!
Instead, decluttering is all about paring things down. This includes removing personal items (like family photos) and replacing them with art. Doing so helps remove some of the owner’s personality from the home and helps potential buyers see themselves living there.
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Removing unneeded furniture pieces is also an important step. This is particularly important if the home has smaller rooms because the more furniture there is, the smaller the rooms will appear in photographs.
Likewise, it’s a good idea to declutter closets and cabinets and remove any items that won’t be needed for a while (like winter clothes from a closet when it’s summer). Again, this helps give the impression that there is ample storage space in the home rather than overstuffed closets and cabinets.
Quick Tip: Also declutter kitchen counters, credenzas, and other horizontal surfaces. In the kitchen, find a place for small appliances inside cupboard, that way when photos are taken, there appears to be more counter space.
How to Prep a Home for Photography: Clean, Clean, Clean
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Once the process of decluttering is complete, it’s time to clean the home.
Cleaning the home before photos are taken is absolutely critical, especially in the kitchens and bathrooms.
Real estate photos - good ones, anyway - will be clear, bright, and sharply in focus. That means that fingerprints on appliances, water spots on bathroom mirrors, and dirty clothes stashed in a corner of a kid’s room will be on full display. You can also view another post about photography projects.
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Kitchens and baths shouldn’t be the only areas that get a deep clean, though.
If possible, have carpeting in the home professionally cleaned or do it yourself by renting carpet cleaning equipment. Other flooring like tile or hardwoods should be swept and mopped, or in the case of hardwoods, swept with a microfiber cloth to pick up dirt, dust, and other debris.
All the windows and glass doors in the home should be cleaned (both inside and out). Dust the window sills and jambs, and dust blinds and vacuum drapes.
Quick Tip: Wipe down door knobs, appliances, light switches, and any other surfaces that are touched often and are likely to become dirty.
Staging a Home: Let There Be Light
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That being the case, all window blinds and curtains should be open to flood the home with sunlight.
To supplement that natural light, turn on every light in the home - even during the daytime. This will help give the interior spaces of the home an open, bright and inviting feel. Besides, the more light, the larger the spaces will feel.
Quick Tip: Ensure you get well-exposed interior photographs by bracketing the exposures and merging them in post-processing. Doing so enables you to produce final images that show all the necessary details in a room from shadows to highlights.
Don’t Overstage the Property
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Staging a home for photos is not the same as redecorating the home. That is, in most cases, homes simply need to be freshened up to put their best foot forward, not completely redone.
With that in mind, adding a few key accessories to rooms throughout the home will do wonders for making it more appealing. You can also check another post about photography at home.
In the living room, new throw pillows with bright pops of color will liven up seating areas. A vase of flowers on a fireplace mantel will draw attention to the fireplace while making the room smell nice too.
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The dining room can be staged for a meal, with place settings and napkins positioned at each seat. A centerpiece to add height to the table is a nice touch that can showcase the size and space of the room.
In the bathroom, clean, crisp, white towels will give the space a spa-like feel. New bath mats can freshen up the floor as well.
Bedrooms will benefit from beds that have freshly cleaned linens and a perfectly made bed. Again, add pops of color with pillows or fresh flowers in a vase on the bedside table.
Quick Tip: A little color goes a long way in real estate photography. Resist the urge to go overboard with color, and instead have just one or two pops of color in each room, preferably on or near a feature to which you’d like to draw the attention of potential buyers.
Final Thoughts: Staging for Real Estate Photography
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Staging a home for photos is a process that must begin well before you take photos. And while decluttering, cleaning, and staging the home for impact will take time, in the end, the payoff is huge.
Staged homes tend to get more traffic from potential buyers, and some studies even show that staged homes sell for more money.
That makes staging a critical aspect of real estate photography, and shouldn’t be considered optional.
With the bulk of homebuyers starting their searches online, it’s important that real estate photos are top-notch. By following these simple home staging tips, you will be able to help showcase properties in a way that makes them attractive to buyers.