How to List, Stage & Photograph Your House For Sale or Rent

March 15, 2016 0 Comments

Projecting the love and literal blood, sweat and tears that you’ve investing into a home is difficult and important when you’re considering selling or renting. Even for a photographer taking interior & exterior photos of my home was a challenge. It was an equation of a good light, aligning the timing with a clean and organized space and capturing the right details. (not to mention the emotions of leaving our home factored in) I think I did pretty well so I wanted to share my experience.

About a year ago we planted the seed in our own minds to begin preparing our home of ten years to sell so that we could go tiny and travel. Preparations included our half-finished living room remodel and sunroom remodel, the latter of which you can see here. Along with several other less exciting/less beautiful projects. Finally, once it all came together it was time to share all our hard work.

Here’s what had to be done for a good home shoot:
1st- We had to de-clutter. We’d been progressively purging for the last year but we really had to get down to the bare essentials to stage the home for possible buyers. We sold most of our stuff and what little stuff we decided to keep we put in storage.
2nd- Staging. I watch WAYY too much HGTV. Joanna Gaines is my spirit animal, so what. Staging has always been a joy of mine so I had wayy too much fun with this part.
-I removed all of our personal photos. (hard to do but it’s pretty important so that possible buyers can envision their life in the home, not yours)
-Once everything had been cleared away, I patched, touched-up, cleaned, painted and prettied every single corner of every room. It’s amazing what caulking & paint can accomplish in an old home.
-I set up the furniture in an aesthetic and natural way with minimal items in each room.
-I minimized the decor to a candle and book on a shelf or just one photo on the wall in each room to allow the viewers to see their own things adorning the walls.
-I cleaned, fluffed pillows, washed blankets and curtains and shined windows and floors…and then…
3rd-I photographed every single detail. This was important to me because it’s the little details in a house that truly make it a home, so it was essential to my process to share those with possible buyers.

In the midst of the process we decided to re-investigate all our options before listing the house. We researching listing ourselves as a For Sale by Owner, renting, staying and just listing with a realtor. We decided for a multitude of reasons to list our house on the rental market. Here’s how that went:

1st- We consulted with professionals (who also happened to be friends) in the industry who own apartment units and homes in our area.
2nd– We contacted our city to find out about inspections and regulations.
3rd- (Back track to a boring and cold winter day where I had too much time on my hands) I had already made a website for our home that I was planning to share all it’s history with possible buyers. We decided to turn that into a website to share info with future tenants about what we were looking for and how our situation was unique from a typical landlord/tenant arrangement because we really wanted someone special to rent our home!
4th-We created a tenant application for free on and linked to it on the website asked that any interested parties fill out the application in order to schedule a walk-through.
5th- We listed our house for rent on for free and linked our website in the description.
Sidenote: Within the first hour we had 4 really promising calls and 30+  people interested in the week following. Only 7 or 8 of those actually took the time to read the website and fill out the application but that helped us narrow down who we would call back. Overall, that process worked extremely well and proved to show us the best possible tenants we could have hoped for. You should try to find a good application online or ask a landlord for theirs. Don’t be afraid to add your own questions, too!
6th- Once we narrowed down the possible tenants, we called to check their references/employment and did a general background check online before scheduling a meeting. We met face to face before showing them to house and then did a Realtor style walk-through to show them the place once we decided if they’d be a good fit.
7th- We contacted a real estate attorney to help us make a law-tight lease, too! Which I highly recommend doing rather than pulling one from the web. They’ll help you organize any contingencies for your specific property. A lot of generalized lease templates you’ll find online won’t have things like a late fee policy, or specific contingencies that could have you losing in court should something go wrong.

Right now, we’re in the final two stages and we’re excited about what the next few weeks will look like for us! I’ll be sure to share more later but for now, here’s some inspiration from the shoot: