According to the National Association of Realtors, over 90% of buyers view housing on the internet, before they contact their Realtor® to view properties. Property photos are extremely important to these buyers in determining which properties they want to see.

The goal, for my listings, is to provide enough professional photos to get buyers to schedule a showing. Quality photos are more important than the quantity. According to Zillow, buyers spend little time on listings with 9 or less photos, as buyers assume there is something wrong with the property. They can also lose interest if there are more than 30 photos. When extra photos are variations of the same shot, buyers can miss the important features, because they stop scrolling, and move on to the next listing.

Drone photography is important if we are selling location, i.e., waterfront, acreage, out buildings, and unique surroundings. The Multiple Listing Service shows the satellite image of all properties, so it is not necessary in large developments. Buyers can see the proximity to schools, shopping, parks, etc., from the GIS maps.

Before the photographer arrives, your home should be picture perfect. I recommend you start by deep cleaning. Check windows, appliances, and walls for dirt and fingerprints. You may need to touch up the paint. Clean the floors, plumbing fixtures, and do not forget the unfinished storage areas.
Clutter screams there is not enough storage in your home, and we want buyers to imagine their belongings in your home. Clear the countertops in the kitchen and bathrooms. Remove the magnets from your refrigerator, pack up everything you can live without. I would rather see boxes in the garage or a storage room, than clutter in the house. Hide trash cans, TV remotes and cords for the photo shoot. Remove personal photos, holiday decorations, toys, holiday decorations, and pet supplies.

Walk through each room with a critical eye and think about how it will be photographed. You may want to rearrange furniture, so you are not blocking a nice feature of the room, open blinds to brighten the room or show the view, turn on all the lights, remove the table leaf, add fresh flowers, new towels, colorful throw pillows, remove rugs to make a room look larger, make the beds, close the toilet seat, remove the shampoo and soap from the tub or shower and open the shower curtain. Remember to clean up the yard, deck and patio for great exterior shots as well.

March starts our busy real estate season. Contact an experienced real estate agent right away if you are thinking about selling your home this year.

Ask the Real Estate Agent is a weekly column by Cheryl Kempenich of Coldwell Banker Realty, who lives and offices in the Chisago Lakes Area. Submit your questions to All information is deemed reliable but not guaranteed. For legal assistance consult an attorney.