First Impressions of a Home Start with Photographs

First Impressions

By Catherine McDaniel 
Blue Diamond Staging

Did you know that over 70% of home buyers start their new home search on the Internet? So would you have photos of your home posted and not looking its absolute best? Preparing your home to sell is not as simple as throwing a sign in the yard and hoping for the best offer. Catherine McDaniel, a home staging expert and President of Blue Diamond Staging says, “You want to entice people by giving them a glimpse of your home through photographs.” However, it has to be a memorable picture so that someone will say, I want to see the house with the large sunroom (or office space) or I want to see the house with a basement rec room for my teenage kids to hang out in. If you want to get your absolute best offer, you need to make a little effort before you post photos of your home. Some things that turn off buyers when they look at photos include:

Clutter – “If you cannot walk around the room easily without bumping into things, there is too much stuff” says McDaniel. No one wants to see the stacked bills on the dining room table, the toys on the floor or the jungle of plants in the kitchen. But they do want to see the gleaming wood floors, the spacious room or the new kitchen appliances and they will miss them if they are distracted by the clutter.

No furniture (or too much furniture) – Here you have the exact opposite of clutter. Now the potential buyers can see the wooden floors and appliances but they have to guess on whether they can fit their sectional or a table and chairs. Make it easy on them and place the necessary items to show the potential of the space. According to McDaniel, a living room needs a couch, some end tables, coffee table, lamps and some accessories. It doesn’t need the office desk, the 20 plants you are trying to grow or craft table for the kids.

A dirty house – A picture showing dark stains on the carpet or the dirty stove will make buyers wonder what else hasn’t been taken care of in the house. McDaniel recommends hiring a cleaning crew to scrub down the stove or clean the carpets. This includes the garage and laundry area because they are part of the house too. The house needs to look move-in ready.

Too many colorful rooms – McDaniel says, “I enjoy color as much as the next person, but not everyone will enjoy the fuchsia color on their bedroom wall.”  Tone it down a bit and paint the rooms so they are more neutral and will appeal to the most amount of buyers. You can always add a pop of color with accessories such as pillows, curtains, lamps, or artwork. Dark colors also tend to make the room look smaller. Stick with the lighter airier colors such as yellow, cream or beige.

Curb appeal. If you haven’t taken down your holiday decorations, now is the time. If you need to paint the front door or replace that screen door, do it now. McDaniel suggests putting some planters by the door, mulching the flowerbeds, cutting the grass and trimming the bushes. All of these things will make a great first impression because it will entice the buyer to come in and look at the rest of the house.

After you do all of these things, make sure a professional photographer is used to capture each room of your home. Nothing is more frustrating than finding just the one outside picture of your home on the web. Once they are posted on the Internet, buyers will get a great first impression and will take the next step to ask their realtor to show them the home.

Blue Diamond Staging is a women-owned combat veteran small business. Contact Catherine McDaniel for your home staging needs or redesign at 703-621-3189 or via email

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