Preparing A Home For A Real Estate Shoot – What Can a Photographer Do?

Getting a home owner to prepare their home for a photography session is essential to getting good results but it’s more difficult to get through to some homeowners and agents than others. In my experience about 2 out of 10 homeowners require some special help in this area and some agents are prepared to help them but some aren’t. There’s nothing worse than showing up for a shoot and the home is a total mess. You’d think that straightening up the house before a shoot would be a no-brain-er for everyone involved but it’s not.

Getting a home “parade ready” is a important part of marketing a home for more than just getting good marketing images, it’s also for getting the home ready for buyer showings.

Some agents are going to do a good job making sure a homeowner has their home “parade ready” without the photographer telling them but others need something to remind them to handle this issue. I suggest that until you get to know your agent clients you have a explicit discussions with them about whether or not the home they are wanting you to shoot is photo ready. Having a check list to communicate to agent clients about what you expect is a good way to guide this discussion with the agent. The following are some items for this preparation check list:

  1. Contain pets in the garage or out of sight.
  2. Remove all vehicles from driveways and do not part in front of the house.
  3. Move garbage cans so they can’t be seen from the street.
  4. Remove garden tools, hoses and sprinklers.
  5. Mow and rake the yard.
  6. Sweep driveways and sidewalks.
  7. Remove piles of magazines and newspapers.
  8. Clear off counters in kitchen and bathroom areas.
  9. Put indoor trash cans out of sight.
  10. Clean all the photos and kids drawings off the refrigerator.

In the long run it’s MUCH easier to handle this before you get to the home and it’s a mess. Once you get there and the home isn’t ready there aren’t any good options. Depending on the level of the mess, probably the least of all evils is to just reschedule the shoot but the driving time and costs and your scheduled shoot spot is a loss.

Beware of renters: they are the worse case because they frequently could careless about the process of getting the home sold or rented. Also, a large percentage of tenants will be to the point of being uncooperative at the end of their lease or being faced with the prospect of moving. Some of my worst nightmares in home preparation have occurred when we listed homes that are occupied  by renters.

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