Preparing your Home for Photos in the Winter

With the wintery snow covering our city, the bright colors of summer have long vanished and the colorful hues of fall have been discarded by the northerly winds. 

Generally, winter can be a slower time for the real estate market as people prepare for the Christmas holidays and are busy shopping for the latest gadgets for their loved ones.  However, while others are looking for the perfect gift, there are others who will be looking for a new home to hang their stockings and decorate for the holidays.  With the lower stock of homes typically for sale during the winter, it may be a good time to ring in the New Year with a new address.  

Should you decide to sell your home this season, we have put together a short list to help you prepare your home for listing photos (open houses and showings) so that your home can be gift wrapped for holiday home buyers.

1. Nobody likes to do it but the blanket of snow covering the driveway, porch, patios, decks, and balconies need to be removed.  Prospective buyers will want to see what the snow is hiding so they can picture themselves sipping wine on the patio during warm summer evening sand enjoying the other amazing exterior features that your house has to offer.  The only way for the photographer to capture those features in the listing photos is for the snow to be removed.

2. As the number of daylight hours is limited, ensure that all of the lights in the house have working bulbs.  This is especially true of exterior lights as your Realtor will recommend that you leave these on before showings.   For photographs, the increased light from exterior lights will highlight the exterior features of the home and bring attention to details like brick and siding color as well as decks and balconies. 

When replacing bulbs, it is best to ensure that all of the bulbs in a room (or in the exterior) are of the same color temperature.   Color temperature of bulbs are graded using the Kelvin scale.  The lower the number the more yellow or warm the light is.  The higher the number the more blue/white it will seem.  Generally speaking, the warmer colors are better for living rooms and bedrooms with the whiter bulbs reserved more for kitchens and office spaces.  We also recommend warmer colors for the exterior as it makes the exterior feel warmer and welcoming like a home and less like a shopping mall, office or other commercial space.

3. We know the holidays is an exciting time for everyone but holiday decorations may need to wait until the photos are done.  A modest tree with moderate decorations and/or a wreath may be included in the photos as long as they do not hide features like floor to ceiling windows or brick fireplace mantles.  Remember the buyers are interested in features of the home and not buying holiday decorations.  Note however, that Including the holiday decorations and presents will date the photos should the sale of the home extend into the New Year. 

4. Speaking of holiday decorations, swap your colorful exterior Christmas lights to plain warm white lights to make your home look warm and welcoming for the photos and throughout the winter showings. 

5. Clean, clean, clean, photos tend to look the best with the least amount of personal items as possible.  This means storing away Christmas cards and presents that you've received.  Of course our usual recommendations apply for removing everything personal including photographs, fridge magnets, shampoo, towels, small kitchen appliances, throw pillows, toys etc.  The idea is that you want potential buyers to start picturing their personal items in your space.  This includes all the mitts, boots, toques and other winter clothing that may be hanging out in the mudroom.

Of course our standard list of recommendations for preparing a home for photographs still apply.  Contact us to schedule an appointment and we will be happy to provide you with a checklist of recommendations.