COVID19 Statement:

We want to do our part to help keep the economy going while reducing chances for the spread of the virus in our community. We are consulting State, CDC and Virginia Board of Realtor guidelines to help maintain a safe working environment and ensure the safety of Realtors and homeowners.

We are taking the following precautions and ask for your help:

  • Gear (cameras, tripod, flashes, tablets) are wiped down with clorox wipes between houses.
  • Using fresh shoe covers at each house
  • using sanitizer before and after entering the house.
  • We request each home be on either Sentri lock or combo so we are not coming in contact or meeting with the owner or agent to unlock the property.
  • We request each home be "Open House Ready" with lights on, blinds/curtains adjusted, ceiling fan blades off and toilet seats down so there is no need to touch anything. If this is not possible, we will only be touching light switches with gloves.
  • We are asking owner to vacate their home so we are not sharing air during the appointment.
  • Whenever possible, we request that the owner vacate the home at least an hour prior to our apical since the CDC has stated that COVID19 can spend in the air for a period of time. We also ask that any trades, cleaners, handy person and agents not be in the home for at least an hour prior to our appointment. If there is a special circumstance, let's discuss ahead of time so we can safely plan accordingly.

We can text when we arrive and when we finish so owner or agent can return if needed. Please let us know if this is needed (571.437.5723).

Thank you for your understanding and cooperation as we all work through this evolving challenge together.

Preparing for Photos:

We all buy with our eyes and your agent knows a great first impression starts with preparing your home for professional photos.

Please ensure you are 100% ready on the day of photos. Your home should be "open house ready" with no moving items, no last minute cleaning or staging decisions.

Morning of the shoot:

  • Please have lights on, blinds/drapes open and ceiling fan blades off.
  • Put away toiletries and kitchen items from the morning. Toilet seats should be down. Put out fresh towels.
  • Make beds and hide as many trash cans as you can.
  • For the safety of your pets and my equipment, please secure all pets before I arrive. Dogs and cats can become unsettled with my tripod and flashes, so please ensure they are safe in a room that won't be photographed or out of the house as you would for an open house.
  • Remove cars from the driveway and hide any trash cans that will be in view of exterior or interior pictures.
  • If your agent has asked for a 3D Tour, everything must stay in its place as the camera is working.

1-3 days before photos:

  • Vacuum carpet and touch up floors
  • Double-check all main lights have working bulbs, preferably with matching bulb types (daylight temperature bulbs are preferred as warm/yellow bulbs do not photograph best).
  • Dust or wipe down surfaces and put away anything that's not a necessity.
  • Quick check for any clutter, mail, laundry or toys that need putting away. I won't open or photograph standard closets, so feel free to hide items.
  • Check mirrors, windows and light switches for any smudges or grime.
  • Vacuum HVAC returns and vents and check ceiling fan blades for dust.
  • Seasonally: mow lawn and get front porch and back patio/deck in order. Blow off any leaves and/or shovel snow.
  • Bonus points: table setting with centerpiece, add 2-3 cook books on kitchen counter with decorative bowl. Add lemons, limes, oranges for splash of color.

FAQ: How far do I need to go in preparing my home?

You and your agent should discuss expectations for "open house ready" and make a plan according to your listing timeline and variables. My expectation is that I can start photos as soon as I arrive without delay. This will ensure I can devote the maximum amount of appointment time to your home.

FAQ: We're short on time, how can we get ready fast?

  • If you are short on time, prioritize the spaces buyers will focus on most like the kitchen, any rooms attached to the kitchen, and the master bed/bath. If we have to sacrifice not shooting a cluttered guest room so your home's best features are looking their best, that is a good trade-off.
  • Unless there are significant storage or organizational features that need showing, I will not photograph standard closets, the garage or pantry. These areas naturally have a lot of personal items we'd rather not show the general public, so stash your stuff out of view.
  • If you think you are not going to be ready for the photo shoot, make sure you communicate with your agent with as much notice as possible so I can get you rescheduled.

Some additional outdoor items to consider:

  • Remove vehicles, trash cans and recycle bins from the driveway and front of house view. Move any cars in the driveway well before I arrive to ensure any condensation or shaded areas on the driveway can dry.
  • Wind or remove hoses, sprinklers, garden tools and children’s/pet’s toys.
  • If you have older mulch, give it a quick rake to move it around and spray with water to bring back the color.
  • Organize furniture and grill on your patio or deck.
  • Adding your cushions and uncovering the grill, if in good shape, is a bonus.

FAQ: I need some help, what should I do?

If you're feeling overwhelmed, talk with your agent about your readiness and the overall marketing of your property. They can contact an Accredited Staging Professional for guidance on decluttering, downsizing and staging if needed. I have recommendations with proven results. An Accredited Staging Professional will have a volume of ideas rooted in the psychological factors we all subconsciously use to assess a space, its appeal, and the price premium it should garner.


Cynthia James Photography