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FIRST IMPRESSIONS MATTER and pictures are genuinely worth 1000 words. Selling your home as a For Sale By Owner (FSBO) requires a strategic marketing plan and even if you are utilizing an Ohio Flat Fee MLS Listing Service such as Ohio Broker Direct, there are a few tricks and tips you should consider when taking your own pictures! If you prefer to use a professional photography service, there are numerous companies available and their fees var based upon services required.


The dust you see on top of the ceiling fan wings, mildew around the bathtub, scum around your kitchen sink, spider webs in the corners, dirty clothes on the floor, disheveled sheets on the beds, rotten fruit in the basket as well as dirt and grime embedded in carpeting are all significant issues! Why? Buyers are LOOKING for what is wrong with your home so that they can justify submitting a lowball offer!!! Psychologically, a buyer will perceive the way you take care of the small details as a reflection of how well you have maintained the home in its entirety.


Most often you will not need to spend hundreds of dollars hiring an interior decorator or renting designer furniture in an effort to stage your home. There are plenty of small things that you can do to “stage” your home to ensure the highest and best offer. 

  • The most important thing you can do is DE-CLUTTER your home. Consider this an opportunity to purge or box items in preparation for relocation. Less is more and reducing clutter offers the illusion of a spacious living area. Your goal is to sell your home not your personal items!  Attention to detail – ALL bookshelves, drawers, kitchen cabinets and closets should be no more than 50% full!
  • The second thing you should do is DE-PERSONALIZE the space. This WAS your home. You are relocating. Remove all personal photos and anything indicating political, religious, or other affiliations. It is imperative that you maximize your “buyer pool.” Anything that takes the buyer experience away from envisioning ‘their new home’ to ‘viewing your home’ can potentially quell the sale.  Your goal is to make sure that your home is THE PERFECT HOME for as many people as possible, with the goal of a quick sale and potentially a bidding war.
  • Simple interior design tricks will be very helpful to you. A bit of color coordination to create a flow throughout each room is helpful. Ensure that bedding isn’t tattered and shower curtains are mildew free. Furniture should be placed strategically to accent the architectural features of each room, do not block closets or windows whenever possible.  Again – less is more. Use enough furniture to show functionality of each room while accenting the spaciousness of all living areas.

Turn on lights in the house or use alternative ambient lighting prior to taking pictures. Lighting is arguably the most crucial element in photography. Turn off the fan while leaving the fan light on. Turn on the light underneath the microwave. While a professional photographer will have the skillset and tools to adjust lighting and change a grey sky to blue, anyone can make the time to photograph the home during various times of day and night. Take pictures of the exterior when there is a beautiful blue sky and be wary of shadows!  Know your house, take the exterior pictures of different parts of your home at the opportune time to avoid any undesirable shadows. Interior pictures are often best taken when it is cloudy outside and the sunlight does not overwhelm the pictures. Enhancing the interior lighting of your home offers ambience, a key factor when presenting a warm and inviting environment.


It may seem logical to take a vertical picture of a narrow space such as a half bath or a pantry, however if the space is not large enough to take a horizontal photograph, then don’t use that picture. Many sites that pull vertical pictures from the MLS will crop them, often in an unpleasant way. Many buyers only view the first dozen or so pictures when perusing a listing, therefore you should be focusing on the BEST pictures of your home, (your “money shots”). Everyone knows what a commode and a pantry should look like, so if it is not a spectacular picture, just skip it.

  • FOCUS:

Lastly, strategic tip… DO NOT LOOK AT THE ROOM that you are taking the picture of… LOOK AT THE PICTURE in the screen on your phone to ensure you are best encapsulating the image of the room. Focusing your camera for clear images is crucial to ensure maximization of marketing exposure. Multiple Listing Services and many other websites prefer the picture size to range between 500kb and 3MB. “Thumbnails” often will not roll to certain sites and on others they will look blurry and pixelated.  

The tips above will help you prepare for the photos whether you take them, or you have someone else take them for you. Please view the following links to view videos and learn more about how we can save you thousands of dollars in real estate commissions: For Sale By Owner Ohio Flat Fee MLS Listing options at Ohio Broker Direct will enhance your marketing exposure to ensure a more expeditious sale, yielding a higher price with better terms that suit your specific needs. Reach out to our team directly, visit our blog page, or sign up for our newsletter to receive the latest information to ensure you have the knowledge to maximize your profit.

We look forward to working with you!

Tana Lantry, Broker / Ohio Broker Direct

Ohio Broker Direct & its Brokers or Associates assumes no responsibility or liability for any errors or omissions in this blog, we advise all participants engaged in the buying or selling of Real Estate to enlist the services of a Real Estate Attorney.

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