First Impressions

Many times a prospect's first impression occurs long before they visit your community! 

You know the cliché: “You never get a second chance to make a first impression” – well this also rings true for your community! The majority of consumers are shopping more and more online every day, including for their next apartment.  It has never been more important to make sure your community puts its best “face” forward.  Think back, when was the last time your community had a photo session?  Does your community need a video to compete in this highly competitive rental market?  If it’s been more than a decade or you just simply can’t remember the last time your photos were refreshed, why not make that a resolution for your community in 2014?!  

Wall Street Journal, August 2012: “According to research from the National Association of Realtors, 98% of home buyers who searched for a home online said photos were among the most useful features of real-estate websites.”

Here are some suggestions for prepping for a photo shoot.

Interior – Unfurnished Unit:

  • Unit should be clear of debris (including cobwebs, dead bugs, garbage, etc.)
  • Carpet should be vacuumed or recently cleaned
  • Counter tops should be clean (save the brochures for the leasing office!)
  • All lights should have working bulbs and turned on
  • All window coverings should be clean and closed
  • All closet doors should be on the track and closed
  • Toilet seats should be down
  • Vanity and mirror should be clean
  • Bathtub should be clean and empty

Interior – Furnished Unit or “Mini-Model”

  • Bedding should be neat and clean; pillows straightened
  • Bathrooms should have:  shower curtain closed, towels on towel bars, and rug in front of vanity
  • Couch cushions and/or pillows should be straightened
  • Dining chairs should be pushed in and straightened
  • Any floor rugs should be straight and clean


  • Outside area should be clear of debris (including dead flowers, leaves, trash, etc.)
  • Lawn should be neatly maintained – grass cut, trees pruned, weed those flowerbeds!
  • Building exterior should be maintained – no chipping or peeling paint, remove or prune overgrown plants/vines

Biggest mistakes we see when arriving to photograph a unit:

  • Cobwebs or dead bugs
  • Non-working lighting fixtures or missing bulbs
  • Too much clutter in furnished units – keep it neat and minimal

When it comes to searching for a new home, whether it be a rental or for purchase, online, the photos are the first impression a potential client sees.  Put your best foot forward with these checklist tips!

This article was provided by our industry partner, Melissa Fuller, owner of Fuller Creative Services.  For more information please visit

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