Sometimes what looks great in person turns into visual clutter in photos. And when potential buyers walk in the door, we want to be sure they are focusing on your home’s best features and not distracted by your belongings. This list of simple (and mostly free) things you can do to prep will make a huge difference in how your home appears in photos. But don’t go overboard—a property that’s too empty looks cold and uninviting.


  • We always recommend a professional cleaning
  • Remove items from the tops of cabinets
  • Put away anything on the floor—extra shoes, kids’ and pets’ toys, bikes, umbrellas, etc.
  • Edit your personal belongings such as family photos and religious items
  • Partially empty closets—leave plenty of breathing room for hanging items (about one third of the pole should be available) and the floor as close to empty as possible
  • Replace any burned-out light bulbs
  • Remove minor paint flaws with Magic Eraser
  • Check stair risers—are any paint touch-ups needed?
  • Make sure you have fresh batteries in a CO/smoke detector within 15 feet of each bedroom (required by law in Philadelphia)


  • Get sink top as close to completely cleared as possible, with no personal hygiene items out
  • Remove personal hygiene items from the tub/shower
  • Is your shower curtain liner mildewed, or even just a little dingy? Replace it with a new one—we recommend white, which doesn’t show water spots
  • Remove rugs/mats
  • Re-caulk the shower/tub surround—it gives a huge facelift to every bathroom


  • Remove everything (magnets, photos, etc) from the fridge and clear the top
  • Edit countertops—generally leave one item (an attractive crock of utensils, a handsome cutting board or bowl of fruit) in each section
  • Stash away soap, sponges, paper towels and your dish rack

Curb appeal

  • Replace doormat if it’s seen better days
  • Do your planters/flower boxes need planting or weeding?
Need a handyperson, landscaper, cleaner or other professional to help?