Top 10 Things You Can Do To Prep Your House For Real Estate Photos


The marketing of your home is one of the most important aspects of the entire selling process — and it starts with inviting images of your house that will stand out.

Whether this is your first time listing your house with a professional agent, or whether you are an old pro at it, these tips developed by our own in house pro photographer will help you make your property shine in today’s fast moving, image obsessed modern marketplace.


1. First impressions count.

Start with the outside, as this is how most people will first experience your house online and in person.

  • Tidy up yard & landscaping

  • Sweep porches & decks

  • Remove and/or tidy ANY and ALL kids toys, garden tools, hoses, garbage cans.

  • Spruce up the patio area! Remove BBQ covers and open up patio umbrellas if wind allows it (house will look more real and relaxing!). if your BBQ is rusty or unsightly, just remove or toss it.

  • Clear all cars from road & driveway and shut garage doors.

  • BONUS: add some color with new potted plants or in Winter a colorful natural wreath on the door.

2. Spend some time on “The BIG 3.”

Kitchen, Living Room & Master Suite. Spending time on each room is a major bonus, but if you want most bang for your time plan on spending the majority of your time staging the BIG 3: Kitchen, Living Room & Master Suite.

3. Light up your world.

Turn on all the lights throughout entire house before your photographer arrives. This not only adds more atmosphere to your house but it’s a great reminder to replace any burned out bulbs you may find.

4. Don’t overlook windows.

Open up all window treatments to same height and clean/brighten window panes that need it. We’ve seen amazing houses that could have photographed so much better if the windows were clean and shiny.

5. Clear the counters.

Clean and clear all counter spaces in kitchen and all bathrooms. Remove all personal items from any shower or bath enclosures behind glass doors. TIP: Place all bathroom & kitchen items you are still using daily in a bin - this way you can easily access and store them quickly.

6. Remove personal and private items.

Remove all unnecessary furniture & decor and personal/private items from the BIG 3 (bonus for all rooms).

7. Remove kitchen/bath mats and all runners.

We know, weird one right? But by removing all floor mats & hallway runners will make each room and your house look and feel bigger.

8. Furry friends are stressed out!

We strongly suggest you remove dogs during the photography & touring process. When you hide their food, beds, toys etc and bring strangers in it spells stress for our furry friends! They may act in ways that are unexpected during this time of stress. It’s best to take them on a long walk or ride while house is being photographed. This not only creates a safe process for your photographer and their equipment, but it will relieve stress on the pets as well.

TIP: Remove/stow all pet items and ask a neutral party (your agent) about the “sniff test” as you may be “noseblind” to your own pet’s unique aroma. 🙂

9. Don’t overlook entrance ways and near doors.

Put all personal items away in a closet (jackets, keys, shoes, alarm clocks, dresser items, bric-a-brac etc).

10. Declutter and clean!

This is the number one thing that will ensure the most positive viewing experience of your photos and home for any potential buyer. Make all beds, vacuum, dust and tidy each room and remove/pack up any and every cluttered area that might make your house look smaller. Think of it as a time saver - now you wont’ have to do this again when you move! Do this yourself, consult your agent, or ask about getting pro advice and/or services from our WRP staging team.

Some bonus insider tips you should know:

  • You can do it! We want your process to be smooth and stress free, so the day your photographer arrives is not the day to be doing this! Go over this list with your agent and plan some time to have all this done before the photographer arrives so you can enjoy the process fully.

  • Need more time? Our photographer is on a tight schedule and wants to get your house listed just as much as you do! Help the process by having everything ready. If you need an extra day or two, just let us know in advance and we can work together to accommodate this.

  • Life Happens. Weather and other scheduling/human bumps come up—take a deep breath, and remember it’s all going to be ok and we are in this together. 🙂Our photographer can absolutely photograph the interior on a cloudy or even rainy day, but occasionally weather can have an impact on how your house looks that first day it enters the market. Your agent and client care specialist will guide you through the scheduling process.

  • We got this! Be prepared to leave the house for approx 2 hours. We understand that owners want to help, but the best help you can be is to prepare your property beforehand and then leave it to our creative, caring and professional team. Your house is in very good hands - take some R&R - you’ve earned it!

Have questions?

Get in touch with our customer care team today!
Everyone here at Williams Realty Partners are here for you all along the journey.