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Homebuyers now only have one option to search for and view a new home, and that’s online. In the current overstocked market where buyers are spoilt for choice, it’s critical for a home to capture attention.

The responsibility of taking pictures that make a house stand out from the crowd, however, now falls on the shoulders of the seller.

Jill Lloyd, area specialist for Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty in Cape Town, says one should always remember that the purpose of photos is to show prospective buyers the potential of a property. “They must be able to imagine themselves and their families enjoying the space and making their own memories.” She has some advice for homeowners preparing for that all-important photo shoot.

1 Declutter your home and get rid of things you no longer need while clearing out storage space for items you want to pack away.

2 Depersonalise your home by storing family photos, kids’ drawings, trophies and other knick-knacks. “While your home should not look too impersonal, it’s important for buyers to imagine the space as their own,” Lloyd says.

3 Outside, make sure the garden is immaculate and remove or store any pool cleaning equipment before photographing.

4 Naturally, sellers must highlight the main features and attractions of their home, but they shouldn’t assume that these are their favourite spots in the house – rather try to see it from a stranger’s perspective. “If the biggest attraction of your home is its lifestyle features, show it as an inviting space in which buyers could imagine themselves living.” Even dress a dining room table as if for a dinner party, and make outdoor living spaces pop with bright lounger cushions.

5 Take photographs at a time when natural light is at its best. “The right light can make a property look bigger and more attractive and bright photos can look crisper, which emphasises quality. Leave the lights on, even in broad daylight, especially if you have small rooms.”

6 Lloyd adds that photo-editing programmes like Photoshop can be great for improving a picture, but cautions against extreme retouching. Over-editing can easily give the wrong impression of the property, which could disappoint interested buyers and lead them to think that there’s something to hide.

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