Top tips to declutter your home for viewings and photography

You only get one chance to make a good first impression and a picture is worth a thousand words, so make sure your home looks its best before it’s photographed and viewings begin.

It’s often the case that the images of your property are the first thing prospective buyers or renters see when they’re browsing through listings, so it’s important to grab their attention for the right reasons. Once you’ve got some beautiful property photography in place and your listing is live, all that’s left to do is get your home viewing-ready.

Of course, it goes without saying that a good tidy up is key before any photography or viewings take place, so we won’t state the obvious as far as picking up the pesky odd sock by the side of the laundry basket is concerned. However, there are a few extra subtle things you can do to prep your home that’ll make a big difference when making a great first impression.

With that being said, our tips are designed to help you make it as easy as possible for potential buyers or renters to be able to imagine themselves living in your home, and we also share some expert tips from Charters Estate Agents who have a network of nine offices covering Hampshire and Surrey…

Banish the bins and tend to any gardening 

Maximising curb appeal is a great way to make a good first impression, but bins can run the risk of being an eyesore. If possible, arrange any large outdoor bins neatly in a place that doesn’t obstruct the entrance to your property to avoid them getting in the way when viewers come to take a look around. Take particular care to keep areas such as the main door, any footpaths and entry gates clear. For photography, a side alley is a great place to tuck any bins away, but if this isn’t possible, temporarily pulling them away completely to make sure they’re not included in any exterior shots is a great option.

If you have any outdoor space such as a front or rear garden, it’s important to exercise your green fingers ahead of any marketing photography or viewings! Simple touch-ups to your green spaces such as trimming any hedges, mowing the grass and removing any weeds can positively enhance the impression that’s made (even on a rainy day!). Charters Estate Agents also stress that safe, low-maintenance, un-cluttered outside areas are most appealing so cleaning the paving and taking care of any other little tasks to spruce up your outside spaces can really ‘wow’ prospective buyers and put your property at the top of their list.

Organise the hallway and living areas 

Whilst the first approach to the outside of your property must be as clutter free as possible, it’s also essential to avoid obstructions to the entrance to your home. Organising any coats and shoes, which might be stored in a hallway for example, makes homes feel a lot more open and less overwhelming when people first step in.

Ahead of photography and viewing appointments, whether they be physical or virtual, it’s important to put your best foot forward when presenting your living spaces so it’s easy for prospective buyers or renters to imagine themselves in the space.

Turning the TV off is a simple trick but helps to avoid any unwanted distractions in photos and eliminates background noise during viewings. Tidying away any miscellaneous toys that might be left out after any children’s playtime will also make sure your space is as inviting and neat as possible.

For many people, our homes have also become environments where we work a lot more too. With this in mind, if you have a home office, a designated working area or study space, remember to put away any personal items or confidential paperwork ahead of any photography or viewings.

Donate the things you no longer use or need

As outlined by Charters Estate Agents, when it comes to the clutter we’re all guilty of having in our homes, to someone who’s considering your property, clutter can ring alarm bells. At best they could be distracted by the mess and personal trinkets and at worst, they could discount the property for not having enough storage. With this in mind, when preparing your home to come to market, a great option shared by Charters Estate Agents is to donate clothes you never wear, books you’ve read, DVD’s you’ve watched and let go of any shoes you don’t wear anymore. These can be given to charity shops, friends or family members.

Declutter the kitchen 

Now, we’d hate to remember everything but the kitchen sink, so this tip is all about emptying it! Even if they’re clean, any leftover glasses, plates or cutlery that might be found in the sink or by the side of it can be a bit of an eyesore and give viewers something else to focus on other than how lovely your space is and whether they might be able to see themselves living there.

Cluttered worktops can also be a distraction in photos or during viewings so clearing them as much as possible by tucking away any extra appliances is a great way to show off your space.

In addition, if you have a dishwasher, this could be a feature that viewers might want to take a closer look at. Emptying the dishwasher and other appliances such as a washing machine or tumble drier will give a better picture of the space available if any viewers request to take a closer look, oh, and don’t forget to clear the washing line on particularly sunny days too!

Let’s talk loos 

When it comes to the bathroom there are a few little tips that can help make the space look super streamlined, such as closing any toilet seats and emptying any dustbins that might not have a neat lid.

Organising any products which may usually be left out on surfaces and remembering to put away any used towels or empty tissue rolls can also make a big difference too.

Draw back those drapes! 

Even if they don’t consciously realise it, prospective buyers or renters will notice if a home feels dark and shadowy. If you’re limited by layout and window size, Charters Estate Agents have some handy steps you can take to maximise the natural light available, for example choose lighter wall colours and fabrics, opt for light curtains or Venetian blinds, use mirrors to reflect light around the space, trim back hedges, plants and trees that obstruct windows, keep window sills clear and move furniture so it doesn’t block light.

Letting in as much natural light as possible is a real positive mood booster and helps with opening up even the smallest of spaces, so considering some of these tips, drawing back the curtains or opening the blinds to brighten each room before any photography or viewings take place can make a real difference – even on a cloudy day!

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