More than likely, a buyer’s first interaction with the home you’re hoping to sell will be via its online listing. It’s also safe to assume their focus will be on the photos featured in that listing. While staging a home is an essential part of the process and will play a role during showings, preparing the property for listing photos benefits from paying attention to unique details. Do your part to create fantastic listing photos by following these proactive tips. Not only will it make life easier for your agent and real estate photographer, but you’ll also be confident that prospective buyers see your home in its best light. Clean and TidyIt shouldn’t come as a surprise that a clean home makes for the best photos. However, consider taking your efforts to a new level. Removing personal items such as toothbrushes and hair products from bathroom countertops or magnets and artwork from the refrigerator will avoid an unnecessary distraction. Take the extra time to make sure the home’s windows and mirrors are spot and streak-free. Empty clothes hampers, be sure there are fresh towels in the bathrooms, and consider organizing closets to give even the overlooked spaces a crisp look. Any efforts to define spaces and showcase their utility will promote the home’s layout as a positive feature. Light MattersIn most cases, the photographer will appreciate giving the home as much natural light as possible. Open blinds and curtains on the day of your shoot to save them the trouble. It’s also helpful to double-check all the light bulbs in the home and replace any burned out ones. While reviewing those fixtures, go ahead and turn off any ceiling fans to avoid the blurred motion that is easy to find in many listings and gives photos an amateur look. If you don’t plan to be at home during the photography, it may help to turn all the lights on before leaving so the photographer won’t have to hunt for the right switches. Get OutdoorsDon’t forget that the exterior of your home will also be part of the shot list. Be sure your grass isn’t overdue for mowing, and any flower beds are free of weeds. Removing vehicles from the driveway and garage, as well as from the street in front of your home, will give the photographer plenty of room and angles to work with. If you have pets, inside or out, it may be best to remove them from the home while the photos are being taken, or at least confine them to a kennel or carrier in an out-of-the-way area. If your neighborhood features amenities that add to its appeal, such as a nearby park or community pool (or if it’s walking distance to a popular school), discuss with your agent whether those images should be included with your listing. Preparation is rarely a mistake, so it shouldn’t start with listing your home for sale. Visit OpenMortgage.com to learn more about putting yourself in the best position to buy your next home, or call to speak with a representative about your mortgage options.