A growing number of home buyers find their properties online without the help of a realtor thanks to real estate databases like Zillow and Redfin. And that means your online listing can make or break a sale — especially the photos. Here, we outline seven tips for staging your home for your online listing.

1. Focus Your Time

You can’t make every room perfect, so one of the best tips for staging your home is to spend time on your living room, kitchen and master bedroom — the most important rooms for buyers. The least important? Guest and kids’ bedrooms.

2. Embrace Minimalism

Online buyers want to see themselves in your home, so give them a clean slate. Remove family photos, kids’ artwork, vacation tchotchkes, even unnecessary pieces of furniture. Let your square footage speak for itself — even if it means renting a storage facility.

3. Know Your (Most Photographic) Angles

Keep in mind that there will likely be only a couple photos of each room posted on your online home listing. If you hire a real estate photographer (which you absolutely should do!), they’ll do a walkthrough to determine where to shoot. Arrange your furniture and focus your decluttering efforts with that angle in mind for each room.

4. Take Pictures on a Sunny Day

While cloudy days reduce shadows, sunny days provide the best lighting to make your home seem bright and airy. Make the most of it by washing your windows, curtains and blinds, then opening them all the way.

5. Don’t Forget the Outside

Curb appeal is real and one of the best tips for staging your home is to start with the outside. Apply the decluttering principles here, too. Hide trash cans, bikes, toys, tools, empty pots, etc. Give your yard a good manicure, pulling weeds, trimming trees and picking up pet waste. Don’t forget to give everything a good cleaning, including your front door, light fixtures and patio furniture.  

6. Get a Second Opinion

Seek a fresh perspective on your house. Bring in a realtor or detail-oriented friend to identify problem areas, whether cosmetic or bigger-picture fixes. What would be a red flag if they were buying a new home?

7. Hire a Professional Real Estate Photographer

All the cleaning and light in the world won’t matter if your listing has photos you took on your phone. After all, photos are your first and best impression when selling your home online. A professional real estate photographer will capture your home’s best side in the right lighting. Your realtor likely has working relationships with trusted photographers, but websites like Yelp and Zillow also have listings and reviews.

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