Realtor - Amanda S. Davidson: Home Selling Tips – How To Prepare Your Home For Picture Day

Home Selling Tips – How To Prepare Your Home For Picture Day

Home Selling Tips – How To Prepare Your Home For Picture Day

Pictures can make or break a home sale. The first place potential buyers are going to see your home is online, gone are the days that the first impression is when they pull up for a tour. I’d even venture to argue that the first showing for your home occurs online. If buyers don’t like what they see online they’re not going to come to see a home in person. You want to make sure your home is staged and ready for picture day. Below are tips about how to prepare your home for photos.

 Home To Prepare Your Home For Picutre Day

Interior Tips For Picture Day



Rooms that are packed with furniture will not only appear small in photos they’ll also appear small for showings. Less is more, work with your agent or your stager to determine which pieces should stay and which pieces should be removed. Anything you remove for picture day should stay out of the house for showings as well.



Countertops photograph best when they’re clear. For the kitchen, this means small appliances, paper towel holders, cutting boards, and knife blocks need to be removed. In the bathroom take the toothbrushes, soap, makeup, lotion, and any other personal items off the top of the vanity and put them out of sight. The same goes for nightstands and dressers – have their surfaces clear.



No magnets, photos, artwork, or calendars allowed. Have the exterior of your fridge completely clear. It should stay this way the entire time your home is on the market as well. While it doesn’t have to be done for picture day don’t forget that when it’s time for showings the inside of your refrigerator needs to be organized and clean.



Make sure the exterior of all the cabinets in the kitchen and bathrooms are clean. Wipe them down as needed prior to the photographer arriving. Pay close attention to spills, drips, and dried toothpaste.


Showers and Bathtubs

Shampoo and conditioner bottles, soap, razors, and anything else inside the shower or tub need to be removed. Showers and bathtubs should be completely clear including anything hanging on the wall. If you have glass shower doors wipe them down and remove any soap scum or water spots.

Home Selling Tips - How To Prepare Your Home For Picture Day 


Go through your entire house and replace any burned out lightbulbs. Consider replacing bulbs that don’t put off bright light to achieve better lighting the day of photos. On picture day turn on every light in your home. Lights on ceiling fans should be on too but, the fan itself should be off.


Throw Rugs

Entryway, hallway, and bathroom rugs need to be removed for picture day. Having them on the floor causes rooms to look small and cluttered.


Loose Wires

Lamp, TV, and electronic device wires should all be concealed. If that’s not possible at the very least they need to be wrapped neatly and zip tied to avoid being an eyesore in photographs.



Every bed needs to be made, not just your every day make your bed routine. Take time to make sure the sheets and blanket aren’t showing from under the comforter. Smooth the comforter out and ensure it’s even on all sides. Add a throw to the end of the bed for an added touch. Fluff and arrange all of the pillows. Getting a bed ready for photos isn’t a quick task, allow plenty of time the morning of photos.

How To Prepare Your Home For Photos When Selling 

Toilet Seats

This one is a pet peeve of mine anytime I see it in photographs of a home for sale. Make sure they are all down. If you have a professional photographer they’ll likely put them down or if your agent arrives prior to photos commencing to walk through your house they probably will too but, regardless of who takes care of it just make sure it gets done.


Trash Cans

All trash cans need to be hidden and that includes the kitchen trash can. Your home is the product you are selling, not trash cans.



It goes without saying to remove your pet the day of photos but, don’t forget to remove your pet's belongings too. Beds, bowls, and food storage should not be photographed nor should they be present for showings either. Some buyers do not want to purchase a home if its apparent pets live there.

Home Selling Tips Preparing For Photos 

Exterior Tips For Picture Day

Don’t forget the exterior when preparing for picture day. It’s equally as important as the interior.

Tips For Preparing Your Home For Photos When Selling 

Front Door

Place an attractive flower pot leading up the walkway or on a pedestal by the front door. Something with an inviting color that doesn’t overwhelm the space. Adding something by or near the front door gives a welcoming vibe in photos.



Trim trees and bushes, pull weeds, mulch flower beds, and mow the yard. If the weather hasn’t warmed up enough for the grass to grow and there are bare spots with dirt showing in the yard have sod put down.



Remove cars from the driveway and garage. If you have any sports equipment in the driveway or in front of the garage it should be removed as well.

Home Selling Tips 

Trash Cans

Even the trash cans on the exterior of your home need to be removed for pictures too. Buyers aren’t interested in photographs with trash cans in them under any circumstances.



If you have pets make sure the yard is free of any calling cards they’ve left. If you have children remove their toys – there shouldn’t be any random items left out in the yard on picture day. Garden hoses are an item that is often overlooked and they should be put away if they’re lying on the ground.



All the windows in your home should be closed for picture day – blinds, however, should be open. Don’t forget to clean them prior to the photographer coming.

How To Prepare Your Home For Pictures 

Preparing your home for picture day takes a lot of attention to detail. I make it a point to arrive 45 minutes to an hour ahead of the photographer so that I can go through each room of the home and make any final adjustments. It’s easy to overlook little things when you don’t prepare a home for photos every day and it’s a costly mistake to make. Think of the photos you’d share if you were creating an online dating profile, they’d only be your absolute best. The same mentality applies to your home. Take the time to go room by room and get it ready to shine on picture day!


Getting Your Home Ready For A Spring Sale via Luke Skar with Inlanta Mortgage of Madison

What Updates/Repairs Should We Do Before Listing via Joan Cox Broker-Owner House To Home in Denver Colorado





Amanda Davidson Real Estate Group

 exp realty






C  703.431.3755   |   O  703.988.3151  |   W

A  20130 Lakeview Center Plaza #400 Ashburn, Va 20147

Comment balloon 41 commentsAmanda S. Davidson • March 15 2019 07:27PM


HI Amanda S. Davidson - I see one of those gold stars in your future!  This is an excellent checklist that every seller should have to make sure their home is picture day perfect.  Sometimes I have to rearrange furniture also. I like to see flowers in simple vases for some of the pictures also.  Great job with this post!

Posted by Sheri Sperry - MCNE®, (928) 274-7355 ~ YOUR Solutions REALTOR® (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage) 4 months ago

Uh oh...I feel  a reblog coming on....poof it is !

Posted by Sally K. & David L. Hanson, WI Realtors - Luxury - Divorce (EXP Realty 414-525-0563) 4 months ago

Amanda, Everyone of these tips is exactly what home sellers should be doing before picture day. Great list!

Posted by Lawrence "Larry" & Sheila Agranoff. Cell: 631-805-4400, Long Island Home and Condo Specialists (The Top Team @ Charles Rutenberg Realty 255 Executive Dr, Plainview NY 11803) 4 months ago

Amanda: An excellent list of things sellers need to take action on to ensure their home looks its best when listing photos are taken.

Posted by Anita Clark, Realtor - Homes for Sale in Warner Robins GA (ColdwellBanker SSK Realtors ~ 478.960.8055) 4 months ago

Very well demonstrated! Thanks.

Posted by Dave Rosenmarkle, 32 years of providing fully satisfying service! (Highland Realty) 4 months ago

Hi Amanda,

What a great list of tips.  I would also add use a photographer that understand lighting!

Posted by Ron and Alexandra Seigel, Luxury Real Estate Branding, Marketing & Strategy (Napa Consultants) 4 months ago

Good morning Amanda S. Davidson, photographers are not miracle workers, homeowners must do their part to participate. I'm against "touching" the pictures, prepare the home and use a good photographer. You've provided a great list for all home sellers. Congratulations on the feature! 

Posted by Beth Atalay, Cam Realty of Clermont FL (Cam Realty and Property Management) 4 months ago

Hello Amanda and Great feature blog for sure for us here in the rain to learn about thanks!

Posted by Will Hamm, "Where There's a Will, There's a Way!" (Hamm Homes) 4 months ago

Hello Amanda - remember the importance of elementary school "picture day"? This is far more important.   Talk about the impact on "your permanent record". Let alone your bank account balance.

Posted by Michael Jacobs, Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393 4 months ago

What a wonderful list and totally agree with your statement:

I’d even venture to argue that the first showing for your home occurs online. If buyers don’t like what they see online they’re not going to come to see a home in person.

Posted by Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543, Tredyffrin Easttown Realtor, Philly Main Line (Long & Foster Real Estate Inc 610-225-7400) 4 months ago

This is a very comprehensive post. You should hand this out as a checklist. Well-done!

Posted by Jill Sackler, LI South Shore Real Estate - Broker Associate (Charles Rutenberg Realty Inc. 516-575-7500) 4 months ago

Wonderful post filled with great info and tips, Amanda S. Davidson ... I'm sharing it everywhere I can! 


Posted by Gene Mundt, IL/WI Mortgage Originator - FHA/VA/Conv/Jumbo/Portfolio/Refi, 708.921.6331 - 40+ yrs experience (NMLS #216987, IL Lic. 031.0006220, WI Licensed. APMC NMLS #175656) 4 months ago

Hi Amanda - congratulations on this well dersered feature. You covered everything inside and out.


Posted by Grant Schneider, Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes (Performance Development Strategies) 4 months ago

Such a great breakdown of what to do to prepare a house for selling, I am going to steal most of it and turn it into a document to give to my sellers, haha.

Posted by Brian England, MBA, GRI, REALTOR® Real Estate in East Valley AZ (Arizona Focus Realty) 4 months ago

This is a blog most realtors should read!  I investigate every house on line before I inspect it.  Sometimes the photos are terrible!  Other times the photos reveal the unimportant!  Sometimes the photos show me problems that I note BEFORE I get to the house!

Once I saw a living room ceiling that I could see in the photo was bowing down dramatically.  I knew from the model of the house that a wall had been removed to get the "open concept" people see on TV and want in their homes.  Seeing that I knew we had a serious structural problem and I contacted my clients and their agent and warned them in advance.  They withdrew their contract!  We did an inspection on another house.

I didn't have to tell them but merely show up and "find" the problem during the inspection and take their money.  They thanked me at the inspection saying that they appreciated not having to pay me for a problem that would have foiled the deal anyway because they surely would not have proceeded with the sale.  I'm not one to steal people's money.

A Scout is trustworthy.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) 4 months ago

Great Post!!!  Thank you!

Posted by Pete Cullen ~ Broker Associate, Serving The Entire Monterey Bay Area (Bailey Properties, Inc.) 4 months ago

Awesome post - reblogging with gratitude Amanda S. Davidson!

Although, I've seen a couple of pet photobombs that make the place look more adorable.

Posted by M.C. Dwyer, Santa Cruz Mountains Property Specialist (Century 21 Showcase REALTORs) 4 months ago

Good evening Amanda S. Davidson ,

Congrats on a well deserved featured post. You are so right photos can make or break a home sale. All agents need to read this and give it to their sellers! You covered it all!

Posted by Dorie Dillard CRS GRI ABR, Serving Buyers & Sellers in NW Austin Real Estate (Coldwell Banker United Realtors® ~ 512.750.6899) 4 months ago

Great tips another one to add is warn your agent to beware of the mirror in the bathroom!

Posted by Buzz Mackintosh, “Experience, reliable, leadership” (Mackintosh REALTORS) 4 months ago


There's a lot of great information and advice here for sellers. Getting ready for the market, and for photo day, is a LOT of work but it has to be done well. The Photos are your first Open House!

I like to take photos before preparations are made so sellers can see how things will look online - it's often very different looking from living with the home itself. Clutter takes on a new perspective in the camera!!


Posted by Jeff Dowler, CRS, The Southern California Relocation Dude (Solutions Real Estate ) 4 months ago

Amanda, excellent list and will be giving it to my broker. We may use this as a handout if it is okay with you.

Posted by Rebecca Gaujot, Realtor®, Lewisburg WV, the go to agent for all real estate (Vision Quest Realty) 4 months ago

Amanda, loved this post in the 25+ years of being in Real Estate, I can count on two hands how many sellers appreciated and followed your posts advice.... the rest the photographer and I had to scramble from room to room, Endre

Posted by Endre Barath, Jr., Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002 (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices) 4 months ago

If the flower pot is in all the front door shots, I guess it could look like your trademark if the same type of pot and flowers. Try to make each home different in the series of shots, angles and approaches. Otherwise like tired sing song copy, they all seem the same. When you add video to the show and tell, keep the fans spinning on low so they know this is a full motion video... not a slide show of the same still slides pushing in, sliding out. Keep it clean, light and bright and tidy up the place as if you first date is coming over... you are out to impress when you are selling your home. Great list Amanda S. Davidson and congratulations on the gold star!

Posted by Andrew Mooers | 207.532.6573, Northern Maine Real Estate-Aroostook County Broker (MOOERS REALTY) 4 months ago

I am sending this to two people whose homes I am about to list!  Thanks for a great article!

Posted by Lise Howe, Assoc. Broker and Attorney Licensed in DC, MD, VA, (Keller Williams Capital Properties) 4 months ago

Brian England of course! It was inspired by a 75 point photography checklist I made. I'd be happy to share that with you if you think it would be useful. 

Posted by Amanda S. Davidson, Alexandria Virginia Homes For Sale (Amanda Davidson Real Estate Group Brokered By eXp Realty) 4 months ago

Jay Markanich that says a lot about your character, very honest and kind of you to tell them before they had an inspection. I agree some photos are SO bad, embarrassingly bad. Your trained eye catches far more than just an ugly photo.

Posted by Amanda S. Davidson, Alexandria Virginia Homes For Sale (Amanda Davidson Real Estate Group Brokered By eXp Realty) 4 months ago

Jeff Dowler, CRS that's a great idea and puts things in perspective. You're right about the clutter, it seems to multiply in the camera. Thank you for sharing your process, I'm going to implement this as needed. 

Posted by Amanda S. Davidson, Alexandria Virginia Homes For Sale (Amanda Davidson Real Estate Group Brokered By eXp Realty) 4 months ago

Rebecca Gaujot, Realtor® thank you! Absolutely, you and your broker are welcome to use it and brand it as your own. 

Posted by Amanda S. Davidson, Alexandria Virginia Homes For Sale (Amanda Davidson Real Estate Group Brokered By eXp Realty) 4 months ago

Amanda, this is a great article! Some very good tips on home staging. Have a great weekend!

Posted by Elaine VonCannon (Coldwell Banker Traditions) 4 months ago

Endre Barath, Jr. haha I always say we need to do a time lapse when we get to a house before photos. We arrive about an hour early and I know we look like little ants running around putting things away. It's heaven when sellers follow our advice but, I completely agree those that do are the minority. 

Posted by Amanda S. Davidson, Alexandria Virginia Homes For Sale (Amanda Davidson Real Estate Group Brokered By eXp Realty) 4 months ago

Lise Howe congrats on your listings! I hope your clients have them all ready for the camera. 

Posted by Amanda S. Davidson, Alexandria Virginia Homes For Sale (Amanda Davidson Real Estate Group Brokered By eXp Realty) 4 months ago

Once again, you nailed it Amanda!  Doing all the small things make a HUGE difference in the pictures.  Those pictures are critical to your sale.

Posted by Gordon Crawford, Your Morris County Specialist! (Gordon Crawford Home Selling Team) 4 months ago

Amanda ruler of all Alexandria VA Real Estate....

Posted by Richie Alan Naggar, agent & author (people first...then business Ran Right Realty ) 4 months ago

Absolutely love this list so I shared it on my facebook page, giving you credit, of course!! Thanks so much for the wonderful insight on photography for home listings.

Posted by Anne Corbin, Serving Lake Anna & Central Virginia (Long and Foster - Lake Anna) 4 months ago

Great list, Amanda. We saw a million dollar plus listing pop up last week and the deck was covered in leaves. Really?  Sloppy mistake in our book. 

Posted by Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD, REALTORS® in Clark County, WA (ViewHomes of Clark County - Nature As Neighbors) 4 months ago

This is GREAT for anyone considering selling a home.  It's so important to de-clutter and follow your entire list.  We never get a second chance at a first impression :)  Congrats on your accomplishments!

Posted by Jan Green, HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN (Value Added Service, 602-620-2699) 4 months ago

Hi Amanda- excellent post and certainly feature worthy. We've all seen MLS photos where you shake your head and wonder what they were thinking. Always view a room through a camera's eye. 

Posted by Kathy Streib, Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224 (Room Service Home Staging) 4 months ago

A great list to share with sellers.  There are so many things to do to get it right.  I agree on the toilet seats.  Seats that are up are the worst!  They are so distracting.

Posted by Shirley Coomer, Realtor, Keller Williams Realty, Phoenix Az (Keller Williams Realty Sonoran Living) 4 months ago

Excellent post and a lot of good information.  So many time if people only stopped to think and sometimes things are so easy to add that extra little bit.

Posted by Robin Wells, Giving Peace Of Mind One Chimney At A Time ( RAW Chimney Sweep and Inspections) 4 months ago

We also like to take preliminary photos prior to the photo shoot just to have a visual reference so we can address any areas that need attention.  Nice list and congrats on the feature.

Posted by Joyce Marsh, Regional Manager Regal Christie's Int'l Realty (Regal | Christie's International Real Estate) 4 months ago

Excellent post! I found it because another member shared it. This is fantastic material. It is crucial that the house shines before photos are taken. You are 100% correct, that if the pictures don't look good online, buyers might reject the property without viewing it in person.

Posted by Pat Starnes-Front Gate Realty, 601-991-2900 Office; 601-278-4513 Cell (Front Gate Real Estate) 3 months ago