Preparing for the Shoot

      • Thoroughly clean the entire house (dust, vacuum carpet, mop and wax hard floors, clean countertops, clean windows and blinds, wipe down baseboards, clean and buff wooden floors, clean tile grout, clean lampshades, vacuum all HVAC return grilles) no more than 24 hours before the photo shoot.
      • Consider having a professional cleaning service do the entire house, to include carpet cleaners as necessary.  Consider having a chimney cleaning service clean the hearth and fireplace (if any).
      • Consider having your windows cleaned inside and outside professionally just prior to the photo shoot.
      • Clear entryways of all shoes, boots, umbrellas, rain wear, jackets, hats, etc.; close all closet doors.
      • Replace torn screens,broken switch and receptacle covers. 
      • Turn all lights and lamps ON and replace all burned out light bulbs.
      • Be sure that all light bulbs are of the same color temperature, if possible (ALL incandescent or ALL compact fluorescent, or ALL LED).
      • Turn all ceiling fans OFF and hide all portable fans.
      • Turn all TVs and computer screens OFF.
      • Open the blinds and/or window coverings to let in natural, outside light.  Make sure all shades are parallel and blinds angled identically.
      • Remove personal photographs and paraphernalia, and declutter every room.
      • Remove area rugs to reveal actual flooring.
      • Place all shoes and items of clothing neatly in closets; close closet doors.
      • Remove worn and/or mismatched furniture.
      • Consider contracting with a staging company to rearrange existing furniture, declutter, or put in furniture that will enhance the perceived value of the home.
      • Consider moving out temporarily, taking any pets along (if there are any) while the house is being cleaned and prepped for the photo shoot.
      • Remember, potential buyers want to see themselves potentially living in the house you’re trying to sell, not see themselves as living in a house that reflects the current owner’s tastes and lifestyle.
      • If there are items in the home that you prefer to not be included in the photographs, please move them to a secure location prior to the shoot.
      • Remember, potential buyers want to see themselves potentially living in the home you’re trying to sell, not see themselves living in a home that reflects the current owner’s tastes and lifestyle. 
      • Close garage doors.
      • Remove any vehicles from driveway and front of home.
      • Clean up landscaping (mow, trim shrubs, clear leaves, edge planting beds, put down fresh mulch) no sooner than 24 hours before the photo shoot.
      • Remove empty planters and replace dead plants.
      • Clear cobwebs from eaves, window and door frames.
      • Remove visible water hoses.
      • Remove clutter – toys, sports equipment, yard implements, furniture, etc.
      • Have the siding, visible foundation, deck (if there is one) and driveway pressure-washed, if needed.
      • Consider having an asphalt driveway seal-coated one to two weeks before the planned photo shoot.
      • Be sure that all exterior lights are in working order.
      • Remove for-sale signs.  Visible signs violate MLS policy and can’t easily be edited out.
      YARD / DECK / PATIO:
      • Clean porch and/or deck, tidy up outdoor furniture.
      • Remove kid’s toys, balls, frisbees, basketball nets, soccer goals, etc.
      • Clean pools, hot tubs, spas. etc.
      • Turn on pool fountains and/or water features.
      • Turn off sprinklers (if any).
      • Store visible water hoses and trash cans in the garage.
      • Clean up the garden (if there is one).
      • Clean up pet waste (if any).
      • Repair fencing as needed.
      • Put away remote controls, tissue boxes, etc..
      • Remove stacks of magazines, papers, mail, kids’ toys, etc.
      • Declutter fireplace mantel/hearth (no more than 5 items, including art).
      • Clean the interior of the fireplace and repaint the mantel, as needed.
      • Fluff and arrange furniture pillows.
      • Clear and clean countertops completely; no empty glasses, dishes, mail, soap dispensers, sponges, etc.
      • Leave out no more than two small appliances (ex. coffee maker, toaster).
      • Clear the outside of the refrigerator of magnets, papers, photos, stickers, etc.
      • Clean all black and stainless steel appliances to remove fingerprints, smears, streaks, tape residue, etc.
      • Hide trash cans in the garage.
      • Remove dishes from the sink, place in dishwasher, remove countertop dish racks.
      • Remove visible dish towels and area rugs.
      • Hide dish towels and any towel racks that hang outside cabinet doors.
      • Clear table, dust and polish the table top.
      • Use decorative place settings, if available.
      • Feature no more than one centerpiece such as a bouquet of flowers.
      • Straighten all chairs and space them evenly.
      • Remove child seats/booster chairs.
      • Declutter; reduce the amount of clothing on the racks, spacing hanging items evenly on the rod.
      • Fold and stack items neatly.
      • Line up shoes.
      • Make the bed, including decorative pillows/shams if available.
      • Clear nightstands of all personal items.
      • Put away phone/tablet chargers and charging cables.  Tidy up all power cords. 
      • Remove all clutter and personal items from top of dressers and bedside tables.
      • Remove family photos and/or questionable artwork.  ANYTHING THAT YOU LEAVE OUT CAN AND WILL BE SEEN ACROSS THE INTERNET!
      • Clean under the bed, removing personal items that may show in the photos.
      • Close closet doors.
      • Make the bed(s).
      • Remove personalized names and photos from walls so that they will not be visible on the Internet.
      • Remove wall stickers, posters and/or artwork that a potential buyer might find to be of questionable taste.
      • Remove diaper pails and cleaning supplies.
      • Clean under bed, removing any personal items that may show.
      • Put toys in a toy chest to reduce clutter and clear the floor.
      • Clear and clean countertops, soap dishes and toothbrush holders completely.
      • Put away all toiletries; soap, shampoo, toothbrushes, toothpaste tubes, razors, shave cream, medications, deodorant, etc.  Decorate with unused soap, candles, flowers, etc.
      • Be sure that you have a full roll of toilet paper with no more than one sheet hanging down.
      • Put toilet seats and lids down.
      • Close closet doors.
      • Remove shampoo, soap, loofahs, etc., from showers and tubs.
      • Remove bathrobes and used towels – leave out only fresh, unused towels.
      • Remove floor mats, throw rugs, bathroom scales.
      • Clean shower doors/frames, shower curtains.
      • Clean mirrors to remove spots, spatters, etc.
      • Replace old, moldy caulking with fresh caulking.
      • Clean all grout.
      • Replace all cracked and/or chipped tile.
      • Clean floors and all visible plumbing. Pay special attention to areas near toilets and under cabinets.
      • Place food and water bowls, pet beds, toys and litter boxes out of sight.
      • Use lint roller on furniture to remove pet hair.
      • Contain pets in hidden crates or treat them to a day with their favorite groomer.  Consider kenneling them.
      • Clear yard of pet waste/toys.
      • Expensive and ineffective pressurized spray products are not necessary.
      • Use Simple Green (environmentally friendly, available at most home centers) in a spray bottle to remove hand and fingerprints, and most greasy or sticky residues. Stubborn sticky residues are easily removed by environmentally friendly citrus-based cleaners such as Goo Gone and De-Solv-It followed by the use of Simple Green.
      • Use a 50/50 mix of filtered water and denatured alcohol in a spray bottle as a final cleaning solution. Spray lightly, then wipe down immediately using microfiber cloths (not paper towels), wiping in the direction of the “grain” of the stainless steel. 
      • Use a toothbrush to scrub the grout using hydrogen peroxide (available at most pharmacies). Pour a small quantity of hydrogen peroxide on the grout in a small area of tile. Let it sit for a few moments, then scrub with the toothbrush. When the grout has been fully cleaned, wash and rinse the tile carefully.
      • Use a spray bottle filled with distilled white vinegar (available in grocery stores). Turn off the water supply valve to the toilet, then flush it to drain the bowl as much as possible. Spray any existing calcium rings with the distilled white vinegar and let it sit for 15-30 minutes. Use a wet Scotch-Brite Blue Non-Scratch Scour Pad to wipe off the calcium rings. Repeat as necessary. Don’t forget to turn the water supply back on after any calcium rings have been removed.


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