Kirsty McLuckie: How to make a picture-perfect home when selling

While it is impossible for most sellers to live in a picture-perfect home for weeks of viewings when selling – real life must go on – when it comes to taking marketing shots, you want every part looking its best.

I probably see more house pics than most in the search for features for Scotsman Homes, and so I have a few tips beyond the obvious cleaning and decluttering to make a place appear as attractive as possible in still pictures.

There are companies that offer a home-staging service and will come up with photos fit for a high-end glossy magazine, while at the other end of the scale are sellers who take dodgy snaps with their phones – which if you aren’t careful can go viral for all the wrong reasons.

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But, if you have a photographer coming round, you can make a difference by acting as an art director, staying one step ahead to make quick fixes during the shoot.

Illustration: Visual Generation - stock.adobeIllustration: Visual Generation - stock.adobe
Illustration: Visual Generation - stock.adobe

Firstly, it may seem obvious, but try and have the photos taken on a sunny day. Morning sun will lessen the shadows in a garden and make the inside look brighter.

Make sure the outside of the property is photographed before the for sale sign goes up. You don’t want to advertise for the estate agent more than necessary, and a sign posted in your lawn somehow subliminally implies that the place has been on the market for a while.

If possible, don’t have pictures with a row of cars parked outside. In busier streets this can be difficult to avoid, but asking neighbours to free a space at the front for a few minutes while shots are taken will remove the red flag that parking is competitive.

This might very well be the case, but you don’t want it to be the first impression of your home.

Communal bins on city streets are an eyesore too, so shift them while the front is snapped, or at least try for an angle that excludes them.

In your own outside space, utility gubbins such as oil tanks can be screened with a willow panel – and if you don’t fix it down you can move the same panel to hide more than one unsightly spot. Your choice to prop it up or crouch behind holding it in place for the shot, will depend on the value of your dignity.

Inside, make sure you have cleared kitchen work surfaces including everyday things such as hiding the washing up liquid left by the sink.

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Curating bookcases works wonders – coverless paperbacks and badly folded maps shoved on the shelves any which way should definitely be removed. Arranging books in height order, rather than alphabetically or in your preferred genre, might seem prissy but it does look better.

Loose electrical wires should be hidden and I’d move the TV out of shot, if it isn’t wall mounted. There is something off-putting about all the furniture facing a giant screen, however truthful that is to how we live. Centre sofas around a fireplace, if there is one, and no-one will notice if the telly reappears for viewings.

Iron your bedcovers. I realise hardly anyone does this in their normal lives anymore, but a rumpled bed really draws the eye.

As a finishing touch, a vase or two of flowers is worth the investment and can also be reused in a few places – just don’t push it.

The same blooms in every shot gives the aspirational game away.

- Kirsty McLuckie is property editor at The Scotsman

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