Spotlight on Real Estate Photography
Don't Move Out, YET!
So you're selling your house. The first order of business is to make it ready for the fussiest of white glove inspections, but as you clean, you should also de-clutter. Everybody says that, of course, but what exactly does that mean? From the most simplistic point of view, that means you should minimize the visual impact of your family on your home, but that doesn't mean you should move out unless you have to.
From our point of view, few things are worse than an empty house. When we photograph a vacant home, one empty room looks pretty much like another and any slight flaw, like a traffic pattern in a carpet, stands out like a focal point. Even if you know you will be moving out before the house has time to sell, in most cases it would be a good idea to get photos of the house while it still has furnishings. There are, of course, exceptions, but usually your furnishings make your home more photogenic.
There's another reason to photograph your home with furnishings. Not only will it look better, but it will also help a potential buyer see themselves in your home. Quite frankly most people can't imagine what to do with an empty room without a little visual assistance. Your style might be completely different from theirs and they may not use the same arrangement of furnishings as you do, but the placement of your belongings gives them a jumping off point for their own. Your dining room table tells them what the room is designed for and how it can be used.
If your real estate agent will be holding an open house, they will probably tell you to remove your most valuable possessions from sight. That's a good idea for photography, too. While no one would be able to knock your mother's heirloom off the mantle in a picture, if your mom's heirloom is a Faberge egg it might inspire someone to come steal it. So the first order of the de-cluttering business is removing anything irreplaceable or of great value from sight. (If it is a Faberge egg, you might want to remove it from the house altogether!)
Next, knock out the big stuff. The very things that make your house your home could well be the exact items you need to get rid of for open houses, showings and photography - especially photography. Balancing what you'll need to live there, with what needs to come out to sell the house is one of the most difficult parts of the job. Your most extreme de-cluttering should be for photographs. Even if you just hide items on the day of the shoot, but bring them back out afterwards.
After the big things are gone, you can start whittling away at the small stuff. Every visible item should be judged only by its ability to sell your home. It doesn't matter whether you love it, have a sentimental attachment to it or just enjoy looking at it, if it doesn't sell you house, it needs to go. Every surface from counters to table tops to mantles - even floors - need to be almost bare to look good in photos. But remember, that's almost bare, not completely bare!
Come back next week and we'll have more de-cluttering ideas.