Putting your house up for sale on the real estate market is like selling fruit at a produce stand. The best looking apples and brightest bunches of banana are always bought up first.

In order to sell your house quickly and for top dollar, your home should look its finest. Professional real estate photography in conjunction with simple staging is the best way to ensure your house flaunts its assets. Below is a list of tips on how to prepare your home for its photography session.  Make sure your house is the best looking apple on the block!

Download Preparing Your Home for Photography to print out and check items off the list as you complete them.


The cleaner the slate, the easier it is for a potential buyer to imagine your house as his or her new home. Remove as much clutter and personal items as possible from the areas of your house that will be photographed. It may feel strange to have to put a memorable photo of you and your family in a drawer, but it’s important to remove these individual touches.

  • Clear flat surfaces of paper, mail, magazines, knick-knacks and clutter
  • Remove pet items: food and water dishes, beds, toys, etc.
  • Shoes and coats should be put away in closets
  • Remove any furniture that obstructs windows
  • Take down personal photos and posters; leave any framed art
  • Remove extra furniture
  • Lighten shelves and bookcases of their contents; straighten books
  • Replace burnt out light bulbs
  • Take down calendars
  • Put away small floor rugs to show off floors
  • Remove unnecessary screens from windows



  • Remove small appliances from the countertops
  • Put away sponges, cutting boards and dishwashing soap from the sink area
  • Remove everything from the outside of the refrigerator: magnets, photos, dry erase boards, etc.
  • Wipe down countertops and tables
  • Clean shiny appliances – especially stainless steel
  • Hide garbage containers

Dining Room:

  • Remove the tablecloth
  • Remove extra sections from the table
  • Place a small centerpiece in the middle of the table
  • Depending on size, place 4 or 6 chairs around the table; less is more

Living Room:

  • Clear off coffee tables and end tables
  • Keep decorative items to a minimum; usually one item on the fireplace mantle/coffee table/bookshelf will do


  • Put away all clothes
  • Make beds and straighten bed skirt to meet the floor
  • Leave only an alarm clock and/or lamp on bedside tables
  • Store books, magazines, and other extras underneath the bed


  • Close toilet lids
  • Put a full roll of toilet paper on the holder
  • Clear the counter of everything except one soap dispenser or new bar of soap
  • Straighten hand towels, fold in thirds on the rack
  • Close shower curtain/door


  • Wash the windows
  • Rake and mow the lawn
  • Strain pool and remove toys
  • Arrange patio furniture
  • Stow garbage cans, tools, garden hoses, sprinklers and kid’s toys in the garage or shed
  • Sweep the driveway, sidewalks and patios
  • Pull weeds from the cracks in concrete
  • Park cars in the garage or across the street (If there is street parking in front of your house, try to park your car there to prevent other cars from occupying the space. At the time of the shoot, you can move your car and the space will be clear for photography.)


  • Close doors to any rooms that won’t be photographed
  • Turn on all lights
  • Turn off ceiling fans and TVs
  • Shut closet doors
  • Conceal cords (unplug from wall if needed, except lamps)
  • Water the lawn 4-5 hours before the shoot (extra credit for this one!)

That’s it! A little bit of prep can go a long way toward selling your home faster, and for top dollar.