Preparing a Home for Sale + Listing Photo Tips

took the listing photos for the property, of course. My friends and realtor Original Realty Co. assisted with staging which really made the place come to life when I had originally thought I didn’t need it. Wow does it give the place life! I’m going to share what we did to get this townhome listing ready – thanks to the advice and encouragement of our friends, Original Realty Co. and about how much we spent total to get it where it is today.

I’ve taken a few for listings and I wanted to also share interior photography tips.

Tips on Taking Better Interior Photos

  • Turn off all the lights and only use natural light. Mixed lighting is not good.
  • If you have very limited natural light, or none, then turn on the lights and adjust the yellow temperature in post to make it more of a daytime white.
  • Shoot a little below eye level depending on your height. You want images to similar to if you walked into a room and what you would see at eye level. Because I’m almost 5’8″, the most part I bend down, just a little.
  • If shooting for a listing:
    • Shoot the front, amenities like a pool, parking area.
    • Start in one area and as you walk through, shoot so you don’t miss anything.
    • Close most doors, then have them open if there’s something inside you want to show.
    • Toilet seats down!
    • Shoot from every corner of the room
    • If it’s an apartment or townhome, shoot the parking, pool, entry of the are to give a buy the entire vision of the place.
    • Is there a pretty green belt nearby or neighborhood park? Take a photo of that.
  • Don’t be afraid to use a tripod if your shutter is dragging. Use a 2-second timer so there’s no shake.
  • Lower ISO the better for less noise – if you need a tripod, use it.
  • If shooting for details of an entire room, shoot with an aperture that will get it all, like F11.
  • Remove outlets, and overhead lights anything that’s distracting – but you probably should avoid doing it for a listing ;)

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Want to see the before? Check out this blog post when I moved out and I took a few images.

Upgrades to get the townhome ready for market

We originally wanted to sell as is – and probably would have if our tenant had interest to buy it and taken a lower rate. But she wasn’t interested in being a homeowner yet, and so we knew we had to get in there and do some upgrades. We just didn’t know where to begin first when you want to sell a home.

Here’s what we did – (help from our friends Original Realty Co.) we used the cash saved in our real estate account when it was a rental. We suggest keeping your rental savings at $10,000 for any fixes. It is after all, another property you own.

Painted the kitchen cabinets, walls, ceiling and doors and trim

Whisper White was recommended by Amber. Flat on ceiling, eggshell on all walls, and semi-gloss on doors and trim – all the same shade, just different sheens, including the cabinetry.

New carpet

My dad said the same thing, replace the carpet and that’s it. Sure you’d probably prefer tile floors, or whatever, but the reality is – everyone has different taste so you just want the floors to look CLEAN. The new homeowners can rip it up, all of it and put in what they want. Don’t waste your money or their time, make it easy.

Cleaned the floors

The floors we did keep, the tile, we had cleaned, polished and sealed. I mean I was kinda jelly when I walked in and saw it. My travertine tile never looked so spotless! Worth the $700 for the hallway and kitchen. Tiny spots, but worth it for first impressions.

Removed everything that looked like it was falling apart

There were some metal/plastic awnings in the south facing part of the townhome that were so ugly. I didn’t know how to get them off so I never did, but wow it looked better removed. Anything tired, remove it.

Resurfaced the 70’s counter and bathroom

A white spray for the counter and bathroom tile was sprayed all white which made it look upgraded immediately. They are lower set but I didn’t want to spend the money to redo the entire bathroom – remember you are making it look clean, the homeowners can personalize it how they want, if they want.


I never thought staging was important, but it really is! After it was done I was floored and thought, OK, I now understand how this makes a difference. It allows buyers to see the layout, furniture scaling and visualize their entertaining spaces. It really made the house look cozy. I truly believe it’s why we had multiple offers on the first day!

Things that stayed

We kept the laminate wood flooring in the 2nd bedroom because who knew if someone would prefer it for an office instead of a carpeted office? We kept the light fixtures and faucets, easy swaps for a new homeowner and why waste time trying to define some else’s style? As long as it’s basic and not out of this world, it’s fine. We also chose to leave the appliances, they can cost a lot for a new homeowner, I mean they can have it if they want!

To me the most important is the repainting of the place. White walls are everything and I doubt anyone will paint them. The cabinets are white, everything just looks clean! We spent about $7ooo on the face lift. I think we did a WAY better job in terms of value and style for the new homeowner than what I got, especially since I had already added new doors and doorknobs to the place 14 years ago. Even if they aren’t someone’s style now, they were a thousand times better than the hollow brown wood doors that were there. We really do care about who moves in and so I hope someone likes it!

If you are selling a place in the Phoenix/Scottsdale area and need help with your listing, call my friends Carson and Amber at Original Realty Co. They have flipped over 200 homes in their career and are experts with vacation rentals, staging and they also own The Strawberry Inn. They are our close friends we met through church and we are so thankful we went with them. Truthfully we were scared to even hire a friend and then we thought we could just do sale by owner and go with the buyer’s agent, but I’m glad we didn’t.

Have your agent call my agent if you’re interested *wink*

Diana Elizabeth never thought white walls would be so magical and change the way the place looks – so bright! She had pea green colored walls (don’t judge, it was in a Crate and Barrel catalog!) and the floors were a warm brown. The decor look that was in was permanently fall and she definitely made it that! She’s in awe what some paint and no drapery can do!

Diana Elizabeth is an author, photographer, and obsessive antique shopper. You can typically find her in her garden wrist deep in dirt, at a local estate sale or planning her next epic party.


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