Preparing your home for a 360° photoshoot is a crucial step in making sure you get the best quality results from your virtual tour. Virtual tours are often a person’s first impression of a place, so it’s the responsibility of the owner to make sure that impression is a great one by prepping in advance.

Every property is different, so each property will have its own preparation requirements. There are a few checklist items, that we consider essential and will apply to just about everyone. These are items that the property owners will want to cover before a photographer arrives on-site to capture their home. For all of our virtual tours, we provide clients with a checklist of required and recommended tips to best prepare for your virtual shoot.

Here are 7 essentials when staging and prepping a property for a 360° virtual tour:

Home alone


Virtual tours are best viewed without people or pets present. As a requirement of the shoot, we ask that all people and pets are removed from the home for the duration of the shoot. For homes with owners that work from home or are homebound, we can schedule appointments around your schedule that allow for an hour of shoot time with no traffic in the home.

Declutter


While decluttering may seem obvious, it’s also one of the most important yet overlooked items on the list. It’s also easier to see when it’s not your own home. I think we’ve all experienced a beautiful home that was so full of furniture, nick-nacks, and odds and ends that it was just really hard to visualize the space. When it comes to your virtual tour that is exactly what we want to avoid. The goal is to showcase the space in the best possible light and in a manner that allows the potential buyer to visualize themselves and their furniture in the space.

Polished

This also goes without saying, but even the smallest stain or bit of dust will be captured in your virtual tour. It’s best to dust all surfaces, wipe down counters, sweep and vacuum as needed. While it may add to the amount of “work” in the interim, it will absolutely reflect in the final product.

Don’t get us started on how much we like “V-shaped” lines in carpets. A just cleaned look will reflect well on your final tour and stand out as a home that did just a little bit more.

Windows

While the windows may often be overlooked, it’s best to clean windows inside and out and to remove smudges, dirt, and streaks. This is even more important for homes with a visual element that adds value such as a beach or lakefront home. We want to make sure your virtual tour showcases that asset as best as possible.

Make sure you dust blinds and freshly press drapes as needed to offer a view unobstructed by the surrounding elements. Make sure that your blinds are consistently pulled or drawn in every room to maintain consistency and to allow equal amounts of natural light to hit the rooms.

Lights


Another requirement we have is that you turn on all interior lights and turn off all interior fans. We want to make sure your tour is well lit and there is limited movement in between shots. You should also make sure that light bulbs that are out, flickering or different shades are replaced prior to the shoot.

Considering that televisions are rarely included with the sale of a home and they don’t provide value to a new buyer we recommend they are turned off.

Staging


Along the same vein of decluttering your home, it’s best to arrange furniture and decor to be more visually appealing and open. While each owner has their own tastes, the goal for decor and furniture should be more about showing the potential of a space rather than the owner’s particular style.

Avoid seasonal decor, like Christmas lights or Halloween decorations. Seasonal decor will date your virtual tour and if your home takes time to sell, it may lead to potential buyers considering what might be wrong with the home that it’s been on the market so long, even if they absolutely love the home.

It’s not personal

While you’ll rarely see it mentioned, we always try to remind clients to remove or temporarily hide their personal information. A virtual tour is all about getting a potential buyer to visualize themselves in your home. So with that in mind we recommend that when possible you remove family photos, certificates, licenses and any other personally-identifying information. Think about your home office, mail on the counter, etc… If it’s personal, it’s best that it’s put away.

A Once Over Before the Shoot

Lastly, walking the home before the photo shoot can help you catch areas you may have missed during staging and prepping your home. Walk each room and look for anything that appears to be out of place. If something seems out of place, it probably is and that will stand out in your virtual tour. Be thorough and check every last detail before the shoot. Keep in mind that issues that need to be corrected will require a return visit which will add to the cost of your virtual tour.

So make sure you put in a little more time upfront to ensure a great quality tour while keeping your costs minimal.

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