Preparing an Apartment for Listing Photos

Whether it's a rental apartment, a co-op or a condo, there are things you can do before I show up to help increase the quality of pictures I produce. Luckily, these are also things that will help your property sell in general. If you're working with a home stager most of this will be covered. The home should look so the current occupants won't want to move. It will also create a strong impression for prospective buyers and renters.

A lot of defects can be fixed in post-processing. Paint colors can be changed, defects can be corrected, furniture can be removed, holes in walls and ceilings can be repaired, new appliances added, heck I could put the property on the moon. There are two main issues with doing this. One, in many cases it's cheaper to deal with it properly in the real world than have me edit it. Two, at some point people are going to visit the property and their opinion of the listing should not degrade after seeing it in person to increase their chances of completing the transaction.

There are 4 major items that should be addressed followed by a checklist of items that should be checked before I show up.


We all have things in our lives that make our lives complete, whether we need them every day or we hold on to them for future use or sentimental reasons. You might want to get a small storage unit to keep these items while your home is listed.

Most homes in NYC aren't known for being spacious. The less items there are in a space, the bigger the space feels. Getting rid of non-essential furniture can open up the space.

This is also a good time to put away personal items such as pictures of family and friends. It makes it easier for buyers and renters to imagine themselves living in the space. Make it look as generic as a nicely decorated hotel room.

Put your out of season clothes away too so your closets don't look cramped.

Deep Clean

Take the time to thoroughly clean everything. The type of cleaning that gets all the dirt and grime off and that you sometimes have to use a toothbrush and toothpick to get into crevices clean. Hand prints on doors, grease on kitchen cabinets and walls, etc. Once a lot of the personal items are removed cleaning isn't that hard and hiring a cleaning service isn't too expensive. This is also one expense you really get to enjoy if you're still staying in your home.

Make Necessary Repairs

It may be little things like nail holes in walls left after decluttering or it may be bigger issues. Have them fixed properly. You'd be surprised how reluctant to buy a house even if it's a very cheap and easy repair. I've heard people say they passed on a house because they didn't like the wall colors. Which brings me to the last major point.


A big part of what is in an interior photo, and what people see in person, is paint. The furniture helps the photos look better but the walls actually stay with the new owner. If the paint isn't too old sometimes cleaning the walls can be enough but if you need to paint... Pick bright, neutral colors that work with the home's decor. With a little care most people can do a good job painting but a professional can prevent problems that will show up in pictures. With a little care and patience you can do it yourself. Take the time to watch some how to videos about proper technique. If you just take the time for prep, try to keep even coverage, and reload the roller frequently so you're not trying to squeeze every last drop out of the roller you'll get a good finish.

Choose a Flat finish for most walls as it is less likely to show defects in pictures and in person. This is especially true for ceilings. Traditionally for kitchens an eggshell finish was recommended because it's easier to clean but new paint technology has made some durable, scrubbable flat and matte paint finishes available. I'm no expert on all the brands but I've had great results personally with Benjamin Moore Aura paints. The Aura Bath & Spa paint has a nice matt finish that stands up to humid environments.

Pre Real Estate Photo Shoot Checklist


  • Remove sponges, cleaning supplies from sink and dish racks
  • Appliances, especially stainless steel should be clean and fingerprint free
  • Magnets, pictures, etc should be removed from fridge
  • It's okay to leave some countertop appliances but helps to get rid of some of them
  • Remove any calendars so the photos don't look dated
  • Remove the trash can


  • Move all personal items. and keep vanity tops clear except for maybe decorative items.
  • Remove all soaps, lotions, shampoo bottles, etc.
  • Make sure all towels are clean, match and are neatly folded in appropriate spaces.
  • Clean all the mirrors and glass doors.
  • Replace toilet paper rolls with new ones.

All Areas

  • Remove any unnecessary items you didn't remove during decluttering because you need them. Remote controls, keys, mail, newspapers, magazines, tissue boxes, trash cans, power cords, power strips, etc.
  • If youw ant me to photograph inside closets make sure they're tidy. The floor of closets especially looks good when it's clear of clutter.
  • Turn on all lights, everything, undercabinet lights, range hood, decorative lights, and make sure all the bulbs are working. Make sure ceiling fans are off.
  • Remove rugs. It tends to make rooms look bigger.
  • Remove personal photos, add artwork where appropraite.
  • Clean all windows and mirrors. It's so much cheaper to hire a cleaning service than to pay me the additional retouching fees if it's an issue. Plus when people visit the property they'll see clean windows.
  • All beds made, bedrooms clean and organized.
  • Dust everything.