Just like the first day of school, one of the most exciting days of a new listing is picture day. Sellers have one chance to capture their home in 24 images or less. Photos are like a dating app for your house- based on your photos a buyer either clicks or scrolls to the next home.
When the real estate market was on steroids, with a dozen offers in hand before the home was active, none of the following suggestions were necessary. But as the real estate market starts to adjust (or is it?) I wanted to share a few things to hide before listing your house.
As always, these tips work for those of us who decide to age in place and stick with our interest rate.
Before I dig into this list I am not talking about the Captain Obvious items like:
- medication (prescription and over-the-counter)
- credit cards (or gif cards)
- pricey bottles of wine or top-shelf brands
- financial and personal documents
- family photos (distractions) I mean who would not be distracted by this family photo?
- guns (stored in a safe or remove from the property).
No, I am talking about items that should be out of sight before the photographer (and future buyers) arrive at the property.
Do you remember when I shared my visceral reactions at parent’s weekend? in this post?
Well, these pre-home listing items (plus the obvious ones above) are everyday items that may illicit an over-the-top response, like Vince Vaughn’s reaction to the dirty diaper in Four Christmases.
These tips are not just for the post-college under-thirty buyer whose last residence was a fraternity house. No, I have seen things that cannot be unseen by all ages and stages of homeowners.
I have real estate friends who have seen ALOT. So let’s just stick to the everyday objects that need to be out of sight, because if it is out of sight it is out of mind.
As home decor enthusiasts we take it for granted that everyone’s home looks like an image on Pinterest. We find and view beautiful photos of kitchens and patios and we just think everyone knows to do this. And then?
ITEMS TO HIDE BEFORE LISTING YOUR HOME
A few things you need to know about me when I list a home. I have a visceral reaction to toiletries in the shower and toilet brushes and plungers next to the toilet (put them in a cabinet).
No one wants to be reminded of the seller’s morning routine.
TOILET BOWL ACCESSORIES
This first suggestion came up in a writing workshop I attended last fall. It was a writing exercise. I can’t remember the prompt, but my answer was a plunger. And the Hallmark writer/speaker asked me “But where do I put them?”
Anywhere but next to the toilet (at least during showings). Store it under the sink cabinet or relocate it to a closet. If this sounds extreme it might be, but the suggestion may end up in a Hallmark script one day.
Store trash cans under sinks or in a closet. This is temporary. Again, we don’t need to know your morning routine with a side-eye view of your bathroom bin.
PERSONAL HYGIENE ITEMS + TOILETRIES
Put away the shampoos, razors and hair gel. Add a plastic bin under the sink and just get them out of the shower or off the counter.
DIRTY CLOTHES (EVEN IN A LAUNDRY BASKET)
A simple tip for dirty clothes: Just put a towel over the laundry basket and keep it in the closet.
Keep rugs to a minimum. The goal is to show off your floors and make the space look large and unencumbered. Rugs with worn edges are best rolled up.
Rugs can make a room look too busy in photos.
I suggest folding bath mats over the bathtub or store under the sink.
I suggest sellers buy fresh hand towels for the main level guest bathroom that are stored under the sink and are used just during showings.
Fold the used towels, hide the towels, or toss them in the dryer. Dry towels hold their shape better on a towel bar.
DUST ON CEILING FANS
LIDS DOWN ON TOILETS
Train the family to close the lid.
BOXSPRINGS+ Metal bed frames
This tip is courtesy of a former seller’s metal bedframe that was completely exposed minutes before the photographer arrived. I can fix a comforter and plump the saggy pillows, but an exposed metal bedframe is a bit of a challenge.
Photographers and agents are quick on their feet when a room is not quite camera ready.
So in a pinch, with the photographer making her way up the staircase, I pulled the flat sheet down the length of the box spring. It was the only fix I could think of at that minute. It worked. I texted the seller and told him I tweaked his bedding for photos- most days are not glamour days in real estate.
Now, I double-check beds and metal frames before we schedule photography.
Tip: Take a flat sheet and tuck it between the mattress and the box spring. Photos look better with bedding neatly tucked into corners and bed frames.
I promise you when you read this list and go looking for your next home (or touring your neighbor’s home at an open house) you are going to remember that Laura from the blog everyday something (edits) mentioned this in her blog.
Do you have a funny story about when you attended a showing? Thanks for stopping by today! I would love it if you followed me on Pinterest or Instagram for fun ideas and projects! Or sign up for the Weekend Edit -an easy breezy four-minute newsletter delivered to your inbox on Saturday mornings. You can read it at your kid’s or grandkids’ soccer game.