Home Prep Checklist

In today's market, the house selling process begins online. The photos representing a property can determine whether a showing is scheduled or not. Great photos, however, cannot happen unless the property has first been fully prepped for it's close-up. The good news is that many of the steps taken to prep a home for photos are essential steps towards readying a home for showings and open houses. Use the checklist below to maximize your home's potential. Consult with your Realtor® if you have any specific questions regarding prepping your home. Downloadable version of this checklist is available here.


- For all areas of the home -

  • Thoroughly clean whole house (vacuum carpet, mop hard floors, clean countertops, clean windows)

  • Turn all overhead lights and lamps ON

  • Replace all burned out light bulbs

  • Use bulbs of the same temperature (ALL incandescent or ALL compact fluorescent)

  • Turn all ceiling fans OFF

  • Turn all TVs and computer screens OFF

  • Open blinds/window treatments to let in outside light

  • Remove personal photographs (or replace with general landscape/object photographs)

  • Make sure all artwork, lampshades, wall decor, etc. are hanging straight

  • Remove stacks of mail, papers, magazines, etc.

  • Place all shoes, jackets, and hats in closets

  • Remove all seasonal decor and calendars as it can date your listing

  • Remove/hide remotes, phones, small electronics, charging stations, vacuums, etc.

  • Tidy/hide visible cables and cords

  • Remove valuables that are not to appear in published photos

  • Hide pet food and water bowls, beds/crates, toys, leashes, litter boxes, etc.

  • Use lint roller on furniture to remove pet hair

  • Clear back yard of pet waste/toys


  • Close garage doors

  • Remove cars from driveway or areas that block the front view of the home

  • Clean up landscaping (mow, trim shrubs, weed, clear leaves, sweep sidewalks)

  • Remove empty/unsightly planters

  • Remove cobwebs from eaves, door frames, decks, patios, etc.

  • Remove/neatly coil visible water hoses

  • Remove/hide toys, sports balls, bicycles, etc.

  • Remove/hide trash cans

  • Clean porch, tidy up outdoor tables/chairs/cushions (pillows/cushions should be fresh, not faded)

  • Remove covers from patio furniture, grill, pool, hot tub, etc.

  • Open patio table umbrellas and extend awnings

  • Remove flags or banners (these tend to flap in the wind)

  • Clean pool

  • Remove pool vacuum/cleaner hose and hide pool cleaning supplies

  • Turn on pool fountains/water features


  • Minimize personal affects on surfaces such as photos and knickknacks

  • Remove stacks of magazines, papers, mail, etc.

  • Remove excess furniture to maximize space and flow

  • Remove/hide remotes, small electronics, charging cords

  • De-clutter fireplace mantel/hearth

  • Fluff and arrange pillows

  • Remove excess blankets and throws

  • Remove kid's toys

  • Clear tables, dust and polish table tops (minimal decor permitted)


  • Minimize personal affects on surfaces such as photos and knickknacks

  • Clear counters and surfaces of clutter, papers, mail, minimal use appliances, etc.

  • Clear outside of refrigerator of magnets, papers, photos, etc.

  • Hide trash cans in pantry or closet

  • Remove dishes, soak, sponges and rags from sink

  • Remove excess furniture to maximize space and flow

  • Clear dining table, dust and polish table top

  • Use decorative place setting if available and/or feature one center piece such as a small        bouquet of flowers on the dining table

  • Straighten all dining chairs and space them evenly

  • Remove child seats/booster chairs


  • Make bed, including decorative pillows/shams if available

  • Clear nightstands of all personal items

  • Store away phone/tablet charging cables

  • Remove all clutter from top of dressers

  • Clean under bed, removing items that may show in the photos

  • Remove personalized names from walls when possible

  • Remove wall stickers/posters

  • Tidy walk-in closets if they are to be photographed

  • Close closet doors

  • Clear countertops of soap, toothbrushes, medications, deodorant, etc.

  • Put toilet seats down - remove toilet covers if applicable

  • Remove shampoo, soap, loofahs, etc. from visible showers and tubs

  • Remove dirty towels/robes - leave out only new, unused towels

  • Remove floor mats (unbroken floor space increases perceived square footage)

  • Remove or hide trashcan, plunger, cleaning products etc.

© 2017 by Jessica Travis Photography.

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