Selling Your House? Here's How to Prepare Your Home for a Virtual Tour
Real estate experts and interior designers share their best tips.
These days, a well-executed virtual home tour can make a big difference in how quickly you sell your property. "Virtual tours are far better than photos because they allow you to see the transitional spaces and the general flow and feel of a home before stepping foot in it," explains agent Allison L. Chiaramonte of Warburg Realty. Of course, a successful virtual home tour requires you to make a solid first impression with a potential buyer, who might already be wary about not seeing the space in person. "How things look is very important," Chiaramonte explains, "but with the right lighting and a little bit of cleaning and organizing, any home can look great."
When the time comes to prepare your home for a virtual tour, Abbe Fenimore of Studio Ten 25 says a deep clean is a great place to start. "Pack away all clutter on countertops and tables in order to feature the best parts of your home," she says. "No one expects perfection, but a tidy room speaks volumes when your audience is able to focus on the overall look instead of the pile in the corner."
According to our experts, the time of day, and more specifically, your home's lighting, are important factors to take into account when planning a virtual tour. "Watch how the light moves around your home during the day to choose the best time," Fenimore says. "Softer light will create a look that doesn't cast harsh shadows around the room." She also recommends using a camera to test the lighting in every room of your home beforehand, so you can get a sense of how each space looks on film. "Be wary of ceiling and task lighting as they tend to reflect a yellow glow that makes the space look darker on camera."
Once your home is clean and you've got the lighting down, broker Tania Isacoff Friedland of Warburg Realty recommends removing or fixing any glaring eyesores. "Touch up any visible cracks or stains on your walls or ceiling," she says. This also means paring down each room of your home so it appears tidy and clutter-free. "Anything that would catch someone's eye or distract from them seeing the good points of the home should be minimized," Chiaramonte adds.
Before filming your virtual home tour, Jade Joyner of Metal + Petal suggests going through each room of your home and making sure everything is in its place, which will help it look good from every angle. "The smallest little crease in a pillow or untucked bed skirt will show on film," she warns. "I like to go through each room with a camera lens and evaluate different angles to triple check that each space is tour-ready."
Stay in Control
Above all else, our experts say to remember that you're in control of what you do or don't show viewers in the virtual tour of your home. "You don't have to show every inch of every room," Joyner says. "Highlight the areas that look the best and be sure to hide anything unsightly—and keep your visible trash cans empty or put away."