Be House Proud Because It Will Pay Off!
Even though you are not selling your house outright it is still extremely important that you stage your house when having photography done for listing on the Vesta Equity Marketplace. In fact, we would confidently state that it is even more important to put the best foot forward when seeking investors in your property. New home buyers can still move in and make renovations and aesthetic changes to match their personal style. However, demonstrating to investors that you are “house proud” and maintain your property in optimal condition will provide assurances to them that the property will be in good hands and will be well taken care of to ensure future value. Remember investors will not get a showing like a new homebuyer. They will be making their decision on the market data and information provided in your listing. If a similar home several blocks away does a better job of staging their home for photography, then they might edge you out. Meaning it could take you longer to secure investors. Alternatively, you could find yourself lining up at the bank for an expensive refinancing.
“All homes need staging! There is no price range where it doesn’t work and no price range that does not want more money!” – Barb Schwarz
Everyone wants the property to look its best. Our photographer will want to have a productive session to create top shots and video to show the home at its best and optimize your opportunity for securing investors.
To help you prepare we have developed a list of general tips of what you should do to prepare for the photoshoot with our photographer. Remember these pictures are for the Internet. As such, a window smudge or some dust on the fans are going to be mere pixels in size. However, the pile of paperwork on the kitchen counter is going to be large. Spend your time working on the big things first and then move on to the smaller items to get ready for photography.
This one can’t be emphasized too much. Remove all clutter. Magazines, mail, paperwork, kids’ homework, the kids’ artwork on the walls, toys, gadgets, refrigerator magnets, and more. Essentially, everything that makes the place look messy. That means even hiding the remote controls. If there’s a bottle of water on your nightstand, then remove it. A few books on nightstands and end tables are okay, but not a stack that’s ten high. Nothing gives a poorer impression of a home than a cluttered mess.
We generally don’t photograph the insides of coat closets, bedroom closets, utility closets, pantries, etc., so these are great places to hide clutter like dog beds, paperwork, personal items, and more. We also do not generally photograph the garage or storage lockers and they can be used to store larger items that can make your place less cluttered.
Photographers like it to be comfortable, so make sure either the A/C or heating are set at appropriate temperatures and make sure ceiling fans are turned off.
“A lot of times people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.” – Steve Jobs
Check all lights. If there are bulbs burned out, replace them. It may not seem like much, but non-working lights tell potential investors that even the simplest maintenance hasn’t been done and may make them wonder about bigger maintenance items. Lights you may not consider include range hood lights, bathroom vanity lights, ceiling fan lights you seldom use, that single light over the bathtub. It’s simple, if there can be a bulb in it then it should be working.
This is simple! We do not want anything in the photographs that dates them. Having pumpkins in the pictures advertises that we took the pictures in October or November. Stockings hanging by the fireplace screams Christmas. This even pertains to magazines you may think look great on the coffee table because their covers may be recognizable.
This may offend some folks and we apologize. First of all, your religious beliefs are personal, and these photos will be on the internet. Likewise, the sports team you support is not going to help you optimize the investor value you may get out of your home. Put the cheese head, the banners, and more in the closet.
Small family pictures are not a big deal. However, huge ones are. As previously stated, these pictures are going live on the internet. Do you really want a huge close-up of a family member on the Internet? Stand back at the corner of the room and look to see if you can identify people in the pictures. If you can then so can everyone else. Our advice is to remove all personal pictures.
Art is subjective and we get that! However, a series of huge nude portraits on the master bedroom’s walls won’t help you. Even if they are tasteful and artistic. You might like Jeff Koons but not everyone has an appreciation for his more fringe pieces. Ask yourself if it could be deemed questionable and fall on the side of being safe.
If you’ve got pets, remove toys, beds, scratching posts, litter boxes, and more. Put your beloved furry companions in an area where they won’t be wandering around and getting into the pictures. Additionally, we don’t want them to escape as our photographer is opening doors to take his shots.
Declutter as much as you can from countertops. Things like toothbrushes, soap dispensers, and tissue boxes should be removed. Make sure the bathroom is spotless. Bathmats and shower curtains should not look old and worn. Don’t have things hanging off door handles or hooks. Invest in new towels that match the décor for the towel racks. Wallpaper or paint peeling is not going to work. Stains and calcium of any type must be removed. There are a number of great hacks available online to remove these.
Kitchens are integral and like the bathroom should be spotless. Remove anything from the counter that distracts such as rolls of paper towels, the dish drainer, or a bottle of dish soap. Some color such as cookbooks and small decorations are okay. However, our photographer may ask you to move things around to hide them as needed. Remove any dish towels, dirty dishes, or other clutter. Make sure the hood lights all work. Unless your countertop appliances add a splash of colour and add to the aesthetic your blender mixer, and toaster are not part of the home’s investment and add to clutter. As such, move them to the cupboards.
Your personal workspace reflects you and then an extension of how you might maintain the property. Make the space look organized and well put together. Make sure there are no wires hanging all over the place. Old printers, screens, desktops, and more should find their way to the garage or storage. Remove any personal documents.
Make these rooms look great! Ensure the beds are made and add in some extras to accentuate the colours in the room. Fluff the pillows, check the dust ruffle and if you stash things under the bed, push them back so they can’t be seen. Make sure children’s rooms are clear of toys and other clutter. Close all closet doors.
Remove all vehicles from the outside of the property. This doesn’t just mean move them to the curb but put them in such a place where they can’t be seen from inside either. We are sure you don’t want to see your car outside the dining room window. If you’ve got neighbors parked where their cars can be seen from inside, perhaps ask them for a favour and see if they can move their car for 20 minutes. We understand this is not always possible and we will work around this.
Does the grass need watering, mowing, raking? Then water, mow, and/or rake. If you’ve got a pet, clean up after them in the yard. Probably won’t show up in the picture, but our photographer needs to move around out there. If your hedges look really uneven or your flower beds look like a zombie apocalypse, then consider hiring a landscaper or fixing them yourself. A quick trip to Home Depot’s Garden centre can do wonders for the look of your garden.
Hoses should be neatly coiled/rolled up or put away. Yard equipment and garbage cans should be stored out of sight on the side of the house or behind a gate.
Remove and put away any pool toys, floats, and cleaning equipment. You can leave the sweep and chlorinator unless you really want to remove those and stash them away, but please do before our photographer arrives so that the area around the pool can dry off. If you have umbrellas around your outdoor water areas, put them up with any chairs or chaises underneath them. If there are a lot of leaves in the pool, skim it! A few leaves can be removed using Photoshop.
If you have patio furniture, remove the covers and stash the covers out of sight. If you’ve got an outdoor dining area, wipe the table off and consider colorful placemats and dishes.
Barbecues are great, but they should be clean and if it’s stainless, give it a good wipe down. Utensils should be out of sight. Put them into the barbecue if you can’t come up with anyplace else. Bags of charcoal and bottles of lighter fluid should be removed, too. If the barbeque isn’t very attractive, go get a cover.
Remove anything seasonal such as holiday lights, a blow-up Santa, pumpkins, 4th of July decorations, a big banner welcoming spring, or that posable life-size skeleton with the cigar and Martini glass (now you know what my house looks like at Halloween).
If we’re doing twilight/evening shots, make sure all outside lights are working. This includes any landscape lights, walkway lights, and pool lights.
Stand outside and look at the house. Are all the blinds open, in the same position, and all horizontal? This can really impact the look of the house! Cleaning the windows also helps, but a small smudge isn’t really going to be seen.
Use this slide show as an excellent reference for well-staged homes and specific rooms, you’ll see many common traits:
When approaching this, think like an investor! They are looking at your home as a potentially great investment opportunity. Their focus is the valuation of the property and images should convey that the home will, above all, maintain or exceed its valuation at a future sale.
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