Preparing Your Seller for a Photo Shoot – Part One

Setting Expectations With Your Seller Clients

Clients do not always understand that the way that they actually live in their home versus they way it should be presented to potential buyers are two very different things. Help your seller understand that the preparation for a photo shoot and future showings is not a criticism of their personal taste or design style.

First Impressions Count!

I like this analogy, and I use it when consulting with my staging clients. Feel free to use it with yours. Imagine you are shopping for a used car and you have narrowed your search to two cars. Both have similar features, are close in price, and have low mileage.

Car #1 hasn’t seen the inside of a carwash in 10,000 miles. The outside is dirty and the windows are smeary and have questionable droppings on them. The interior of the car looks like someone has been living in it. Fast food wrappers tossed in the back seat, maps and papers jammed between the seats. Then you open the trunk, only to find some kid’s old gym shoes and a collection of sweat shirts, gym shorts, umbrellas and a pile of text books.

Car #2 is clean and shiny. You can see your reflection in the windows. What a beautiful color! You open the door and the interior is pristine. No dust, no smeary windshield, no evidence that someone else has been in the car. The trunk is empty, except for the items that came with the car.

Think about the assumptions you would make about each car. Which car has been cared for? Which car has been maintained properly? First impressions count, regardless of the facts! Home buyers make assumptions of a house based on their initial impressions. If a house doesn’t look cared for, there is a good chance that potential buyers could make some assumptions (correct or not) about the upkeep and overall condition of the house.

Before and After Examples

This is a “before” photo of a house that I worked on as both stager and photographer. (This photo was taken with my iPhone and has not been professionally processed.) The clutter was overwhelming! I provided my client with recommendations and she did all the work. I was very specific about what needed to be done to get top dollar for this house.

staging before

Voila! This is the dining room today. It doesn’t even look like the same room!

Readiness is Everything

Your seller clients’ attitude toward preparing their house to photograph and show can affect the process. If you can help your clients understand the “why’s” and the “how’s” of staging their home to sell, everyone will benefit!

Stay tuned for Part Two of this series – Clutter!

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