Posted by: gnangarra | 7 October 2010

Preparing your house for photographs – Inside

Now we’ve prepared the outside of House its time to look inwards, I’ll presume that you’ve done the obvious cleaning of every room as you want to present your house in the best way. I’ll also make the presumption that the house being sold is the one you live in, I’ll talk about working with tennants in a separate blog.

What I’ll focus on is the little details that are there everyday and that you no longer see, remember you’ve lived in the house for a few years now and have adjusted to the little nuisances while making things comfortable and convenient. Firstly declutter as much as possible as it makes the rooms look more open and helps people to move around during home opens. When I say declutter I mean making the areas that people will walk thru open, as a gauge to decide if its open try wheeling a furniture trolley with an empty packing box on it through your house. If you can’t get the trolley through with ease then people viewing your house will have problems, and your walkways will look cramped in the photographs.

In every room

Lights look and work best if they have globes in them they also help me in lighting the room and make it more friendly than relying solely on my equipement, that aso goes for lamps as a lit lamp can add atmosphere to a room. With  mats and rugs make sure they are flat there’s  no rolled edges near walls and furniture, if they are either fix or remove it.

Shelving looks better if the books/DVD/videos/files are standing with the spines facing outwards and the same types are next to each other with volumes in sequence.  If the book doesn’t fit lay it flat with the spin facing outwards.  Check the labelling isn’t likely to detract or attract the wrong attention ie “Marijuana growers association newsletters” . With shelving its great opportunity while preparing to do some early packing of items that you’re not using, the same applies to wardrobes and kitchen benches.

Power cords that cross a room or run around a bench top are not a good look in photographs it says to the buyer that there’s insufficient power outlets available, or they havent been installed in functional positions .  In this case we need to remove them before the photographs are taken, but wait until I leave before returning them especially in open plan living areas as they can appear in later photographs. Powerboards and the cords associated with them need to be tidy, hide any excess cords unplug anything that prevents you doing it or thats stretched and visible like to lamps.

Curtain need to look like curtains, they need be to hung so that it appears all hooks are in place, blinds look better if all the slates are there and in good condition but with these there are multitude of ways to hide most issues, I’ll adjust these to suit the light requirements when I take the photographs anyway.

The Living areas

TVs, stereos, computers etc the cords should be tidy, remotes need a home the TV guide should be out of sight not laying on the table or stuffed down the side of the chair. The coffee table in the middle of the room should have minimal items on it, flowers or ornaments should be low in keeping with the purpose of the table. Coasters on a table look more harmonious if the number is even and the distribution is in harmony with the seating arrangement also if they have a holder then use it. Cushions should be arranged on the seating, bean bags should be removed from formal areas. Bar area glass should be aligned neatly, novelty items are better not seen and stubby holders should be positions to present the most neutral face. Packaging should be either complete and full or removed a six-pack with two bottles removed looks messy. Fridges look better nothing on them that includes on top and stuck on the door, though don’t panic the 300 fridge magnets you collected driving across Australia last year can also work. Ornaments and collectables are a wonderful feature but they can be either minimal in appearance or over the top cluttered just keep themes together.

The Kitchen

Benches should have as much as possible nothing on them except maybe a bowl of fresh fruit or a bunch of fresh flowers to add colour. Remove paper(bills notes etc) from fridge doors, and behind the phone, also remove that list of number for the shoot, I know I don’t want my home phone number displayed on a signboard in your front yard and I can guarantee your friends don’t either. Knife blocks look good if they are full with all  the handles of the same style, some times I will remove them if there’s an external door near by or they clash with the kitchen. Chopping boards leaning against the microwave, tea/coffee/sugar jars that aren’t a set or missing lids, tea towels hanging on the oven door, dish cloth on the sink, detergent in the window sill, plugs all need to removed.

The Dinning Room

In many houses now the dinning room really is just an extension of the kitchen or an area within the adjacent living areas. Basic neat tidy appearance, symmetrical layout of chairs around the table works well if the chairs so signs of use dont panic we’ll adjust them to suit the camera angle on the day. The table can be laid out as a formal setting, just have place mats and a vase of flowers on it or be completely blank. A candelabra can make an intriguing feature on any table the candles themselves need to consistent with each other and the presentation you create.

The Study

The study or home office is a room where we can accumulate many pieces of paper, letters and bills just by placing these in folders it will improve the appearance of the rooom. In/out trays and the stationary set are useful if they dont match put them out of sight, also the blotter make sure it has a clean sheet of card preferably in a plain colour we dont want your boss or a mates boss to see you’ve got the company stationary, do we! Its also room that we place stuff that we used infrequently but need handy like spare chairs, these can be moved out the room and returned as I photograph.

The Bedrooms

Make the bed, use linen thats a matching set put excess pillows in the wardrobe along with the bright yellow dolphin torch. Jewellery, watches, wallets, mobile phones and loose change  looks better if they aren’t there and why would you want to publicise what you’ve got and its location anyway. Shoes look better in a line and paired if there isnt a specific storage device for them draws and doors closed. Toys look great in kids rooms when they are neatly arranged as give life to the room though some in the adults room are best out of sight.

example I was photographing a house one day and the owners werent able to be there so they arranged for their Mother to let me in. While I was taking the photos she was walking aournd with me chatting as you do. I opened the oldest sons room, I think he was about 19 or 20 years old, his room was immaculate and well presented in the room there was a set of shelvess on the wall. On these shelves was a collection of ornaments granma looked in the room and commented that she never realised her grandson was into collecting china ornaments and said she will keep it in mind for christmas. I took the photograph then moved on to the next room, deleting the photgraph as I went. I never had the heart to explain to the grandmother that the ornaments were bongs and I suppose her grandson will be a little confused about his christmas present.

Bathrooms and ensuites

All clothing baskets will need to removed beforehand, towels should be the same colour hanging neatly on the towel rails not on the shower screen, floor mats on the floor if you wish but be careful about colours clashing. Ornamental despensors are a nice touch so are soaps and candles but ordinary plastic bottles, used soap cakes, sponges, and razors aren’t. Toothbrushes that are in a new condition in a special holder are fine,  plugs are another item that if they have holder use it. If the toilet is in the bathroom then the seat should be down and any covering should either match the room or be removed. Oh dont forget the air freshener in the window and to clean the exhaust fan covers.

We know that every house is unique just like every family is unique the suggestions I’ve made are a guide to serve as a starting point to help you get the most out of the photographs that I will take to market your house.  The preparation you do to take the photographs also assists you in preparation for the home open to come. The more you put into the preparation even spending a few dollars to store excesses items,  hire someone to help with the gardens or cleaning the house can result in a higher offer and a quicker sale. Talk to your agent and listen to their advice, they do this every day its what your paying them for.

So far I’ve made suggestions based on you living in the house your selling but thats not always the case I’ll address that in my next Blog


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