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So you’re selling your house, and the agent is coming to take photographs. Do yourself a favor and consider the following advice. After all, the picture is what most buyers are going to see first. If they like the picture, they’ll search further for more info, ideally coming to see your home in person. If they don’t like the picture, they’ll just click on by.

Cluttered Counters: So many times in interior real estate photographs I see drinking glasses or worse—pop and even beer cans—sitting out on the counter or table. I am sorry, but this just lacks class. Your home doesn’t have to be the Hilton to deserve a tidy-up before the agent comes. For such an import appointment, clear off the counters and tables.

Dark Windows: When you book a time for your promotional photographs to be taken, make it during the day. Natural light enhances your home’s looks, and bright windows with a view of the outdoors make rooms look cheery and inviting. Too often I see pictures of rooms with dark windows. They are like depressing caves to me, and the light of the camera flash reflecting in them is no solace. Further, many people are interested in seeing the yard or other exterior features of a home. If the photographs are taken in daylight, any feature of the home, inside and out, can be on display.

Television on: As with the cluttered counters, I see having a TV on during photographing as a sign that you just can’t be bothered. Not that I expect all home sellers to stand at attention from the moment their home is listed until it sells, but, for me it’s an aesthetic issue. A TV on is a distraction, even in a still photograph. It takes away from your home.

These are a few key things that could be considered when taking real estate photos, to make them the best they can be. In general, too much clutter distracts viewers, in a photograph and in a personal showing. Buyers want to see your house, not your dirty laundry, your favorite drink, or whatever was on TV the day the agent came by.

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