You’ve heard the expression, 'first impressions count' and when it comes to listing your home for sale those first impressions count more than at any other time. Good quality photographs are the key to the successful marketing of your property so follow these tips from Mark Manning at The Property Experts and you'll be well on your way to generating more interest and a faster sale.

1. De-clutter

The most important factor to consider, is making sure your home is clutter free. But it can be a tricky balance to achieve a de-cluttered look without creating a clinical space. Potential buyers can struggle to see past the clutter of your possessions, when they want to see how the space works and how their furniture will fit into the room. Take a good look at your possessions and create separate piles – skip, store and show. Try not to hold on to the things you no longer need, they can be thrown out, donated to charity or sold, and as an added bonus this cuts down on the amount you need to move to your next home!

2. De-personalise

It’s important to not have family photos on display around your home. The same can be said for the cute pictures drawn for you by your children or grandchildren that you’ve proudly displayed on your fridge. You’re trying to make your home appeal to as many people as possible, and having tasteful and subtle decoration will undoubtedly help. Seeing your family’s history in pictures dotted around the house is unfortunately a distraction to future buyers.

3. Avoid time-stamping

If you like to decorate your home with seasonal items like Christmas trees, Halloween pumpkins, Easter bunnies, birthday / anniversary cards, make sure these aren't on display for your photography session. If your home takes longer to sell than anticipated, having seasonal decorations on display will only emphasise the amount of time it has been on the market.

Great British Life: Make the home look neutral without your personal features like family photos Photo Mark ManningMake the home look neutral without your personal features like family photos Photo Mark Manning

4. Pop on a fresh coat

A fresh lick of paint in a neutral colour can make a big difference. The walls in the hallway are the most likely to become scuffed or marked, as it’s used as a thoroughfare. New paint will create a favourable first impression, as the hallway will feel clean and bright. Of course, check all the walls in the house, and touch them up as necessary. If you have any broken doorknobs or cupboard handles, make sure these are replaced too. If buyers perceive that there’s too much work to do, they may be put off so it's better to finish the jobs on the to-do list first.

5. Pets at home?

If you have pets, you’ll know that they are very much part of the family. They bring an immense amount of joy to any family and companionship to those who would otherwise live alone. However, they also bring pet odours with them! For your photography session and also for viewings, it’s essential that all pet related items are removed. The odours can usually be eliminated by washing their bedding, moving food bowls outside, and using a carpet and upholstery cleaner.

Great British Life: Give your home a deep clean Photo Mark ManningGive your home a deep clean Photo Mark Manning

6.Mr Muscle/Mrs Mop

Clean, clean and clean again. Yes, it really is that important! There may be rooms you use less often, that end up gathering dust. Any high-traffic areas need to be vacuumed, polished and shined. Pay particular attention to kitchen worktops, oven doors, glass shower doors, mirrors and windows. Keeping these areas spotless while your home is on the market will also create a good impression to buyers, and make your home smell good too. Also top tip, there are some items that should never be seen in pictures, no matter how useful they are in everyday life. These include oven gloves and tea towels, fridge magnets, kitchen roll, bins, tv remotes, and children’s toys. As you want to make your home look as appealing as possible, do remember to close toilet seats too!

7. Fresh bathrooms

When it comes to bathrooms and en-suites, less is more. Remove towels from towel rails and radiators and remove the multitude of bottles that are in everyday use. A good quality hand soap dispenser should be left by the sink, but make sure you remove toothbrushes and chargers. Toilet rolls should be neat and tidy, especially the ends.

8. Let there be light

Opening all curtains and blinds will let as much light in as possible. Add to this by turning on every light and lamp in the house (don’t forget the cooker hood). This will create a warm, homely ambiance making your home even more desirable.

If you want to see how the professionals stage a home, take a trip to a new-build housing estate. Visit the show home, even if you’re not wanting to buy one and have a look at what is on display. Everything is neat and tidy with nothing superfluous. Colours work together well, and make you feel at home.

Remember that the photos are essentially your shop window and that well taken images will help to get buyers through the door. Even the best photographer in the world is only going to photograph what’s in front of the lens. By making sure that your home is clean, tidy and well-styled you will ensure you get the best results.