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Preparing your home to be photographed

That old cliché - first impressions count - has never been truer than when it comes to selling your home. And where are potential vendors most likely to initially see your property? Online via photographs (video and virtual tours included), which is why getting your property ready for its close up is absolutely crucial to securing a quick sale.

At Butler & Stag, thanks to years of experience in maximizing a home's appeal, our professional photography service is second to none, helping to showcase your property at its very best. However, there's plenty for you to do as a seller before the shutter clicks on the camera. Here are some top tips to ensure your home is photo shoot ready...

Getting the outside right
Kerb appeal has always been high on buyer wish lists so it's important to make the front of your property as attractive as possible. A clear, bright day will help, but that's obviously not within your powers. What is, however, is the removal of such unappealing objects as waste and recycling bins. A freshly mown lawn, a jet-washed driveway devoid of vehicles and, indeed weeds, plus clean windows should also be on your to do list. Similarly to out front, ensure your back garden is neat and tidy, with children's toys and any gardening paraphernalia stored out of sight.

Setting the scene inside
Good lighting is essential when it comes to taking flattering pictures of a property, therefore make sure all curtains and blinds are open throughout the house to allow the light to flow and keep internal doors open too. Even during daylight switch on lights and lamps and replace any blown bulbs. Consider moving furniture around to help make a room look more spacious. Polish/wipe down all surfaces and hoover/mop floors. Strategically placing a vase or two of fresh flowers will help breathe life into your property.

If there's one room you really want to show off in your property then it's the kitchen, and the biggest piece of advice we can give you here is to declutter, declutter, declutter until there's barely a trace that this is the engine room of your home. Worktops should be cleared as much as possible, appliances wiped down and all washing up removed from the kitchen sink. Take down backboards, calendars and fridge magnets and store away bins, brooms, mops and pet products. Add a bowl of fresh fruit for a pop of colour and have visible just a single clean tea towel, neatly folded and complimenting the room.

Reception rooms
With property pictures the goal is to exude space and that is especially so when it comes to living and dining rooms. Remove scruffy throws from sofas, plump and arrange cushions and if you have a wooden or tiled floor, take up rugs. Consider removing extraneous furniture such as pouffes, foot rests and side tables and ensure any children's toys, piles of magazines, DVDs etc. are out of sight. Limit personal objects to one or two small photos. You could use a decorative place setting on the dining table, if available, and straighten all dining chairs and place equal distance apart. Store away highchairs or booster seats.

Making the bed should go without saying, but also consider what bed clothes best complement the room. You might want to invest in a new set, with extra matching cushions to bring added pizzazz. Be sure to remove all items from bedside tables, apart from one lamp on each which can be turned on. Clean all mirrors and dust surfaces and remove all clutter from the top of dressers and anything stored under the bed should be completely out of sight. All drawers and wardrobe doors should be shut. If you have children, don't be afraid to show off their rooms as kids' room, just make sure all toys and games have been tidied away before the photographer arrives.

The most important thing about your bathroom is not just that it's clean and tidy, but that it has a real sparkle too. Like a kitchen, a bathroom can be a huge selling point, but anything less than pristine will show up on a photograph. Therefore you need to clean from top to bottom, ensuring grout and tiles are wiped down and gleaming and all items are removed from shelves or on top of the cistern. Unless your shower curtain is immaculate, take it down. Keep the toilet seat down and hide spare toilet role from view. Any towels should be neatly arranged and folded and chosen to compliment the room.

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