How To Prepare Your Home For Real Estate Photos

Eric Stewart July 7, 2015

According to the National Association of REALTORS®, 92% of homebuyers begin their home search online. Online photos provide potential buyers with an idea of the size, layout, and condition of a house without them having to set foot inside. Professional and attractive photos increase the likelihood that a potential buyer will decide to schedule an appointment to tour a home in person.

If you are getting ready to sell your home, preparing for real estate photos will take some work, so give yourself enough time to get your home picture perfect. Below are some general preparation guidelines and room specific tips to help jumpstart your efforts.  

General Guidelines For Real Estate Photos

The key take-away when prepping for real estate photos is that less is more. It is always best to clear the clutter out of every room because a clean space makes rooms look larger. In addition, it may be hard for a buyer to picture himself or herself living in your home if too many personal photos and knick-knacks are on display. The goal is to create generic, but pleasing rooms that a potential buyer will find attractive and inviting. 

You also want to get rid of the grime. It’s important that all areas are thoroughly cleaned in order to remove hard water build-up, dirt or anything else that might be visible. You want to make sure that windows are spotless; they should be washed to get rid of fingerprints or other marks.

Last, you want to let in the light! Prior to the photo session, you want to turn on all the lights and make sure that all light bulbs, both inside and outside, are in working order. You should also raise all window shades/blinds and hang them at the same length and in the same direction.

Room Specific Guidelines


  • Clear as much as possible off counters including food, dish racks, cutting boards, and small appliances
  • Put away any dishes in the sink
  • Remove fridge magnets and other items off the fridge
  • Remove dish liquids, dish towels, and cleaning products as well as garbage bins, brooms, and mops
  • If possible, put out a bowl of fresh fruit or a vase of fresh flowers on the kitchen table or countertop


  • Clear off the countertops including toothbrushes, soaps, razors, lotions, and beauty products
  • Remove garbage cans, bath mats, scales, spare toilet rolls, and toilet brushes
  • Remove shampoo and other products from the shower/tub area
  • Clean tub area and leave the show curtain open
  • Close toilet lid
  • Put out fresh towels neatly folded on towel bars


  • Clear away clothes, shoes, laundry baskets, and make sure that nothing shows under the bed
  • Remove items from bedside tables, including books, magazines, and jewelry
  • Put away stuffed animals and excess toys
  • Remove portable fans, heaters, and waste baskets
  • Make the bed with a nice bedspread and fluffy pillows at the head of the bed

Dining Room

  • Arrange chairs neatly around the table
  • Add a nice centerpiece such as a bowl of fresh fruit or a floral arrangement

Living/Family Rooms 

  • Remove piles of newspapers and magazines
  • Put away all TV/stereo remotes
  • Remove excess knick-knacks and clutter
  • Conceal all electric cords as best you can


  • Keep lawn mowed and trim trees/overgrown shrubs
  • Rake up any leaves
  • Sweep porch and sidewalks
  • Remove all garden tools including hoses and sprinklers and store them neatly in garage or storage area
  • Put away children’s bikes and toys
  • Move garbage and recycling bins out of sight
  • If you have outdoor furniture, wipe it down and make sure that cushions look clean and nice

Final Touches

Now that you’ve cleaned, de-cluttered, and tidied up, there are just a couple last to-do’s. On the day of the photo session, turn off any ceiling fans and televisions. If you have a pet, it’s important to have them out of the way when the photos are taken.  Last, move any cars out of the driveway and do not park them in front of the home. You are selling your home, not your car! Exterior shots are very important and will make an initial impression on potential buyers. 

Taking the time to prep your house for photos will go a long way. If you can do the tasks noted on this list, you are going to get much better images and a lot more views by potential buyers. This, in turn, will hopefully get your home sold quicker and for more money.

If you have any questions on prepping your home for photos, please contact the Eric Stewart Group. To help our clients get one step ahead in this process, all of our home sellers receive a complimentary session with a professional stager. During this session, the stager will tour your home and provide recommendations on how to best prep your home for photos and for visits by potential buyers. 

Once the home is ready, our professional photographer will take high-resolution photos for online use and in printed materials. If you plan on selling your home during the winter months, our photographer, if it’s possible, will take front and back exterior photos ahead of time during the warmer months. This way you will have exterior photos when the grass is still green and flowers are in in full bloom.

To learn more about the Eric Stewart Group, and for other useful tips and advice on selling your home, download our free Market Ready Guide!




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