Think back to all the “firsts” in your life you’ve memorialized with photographs: first day of school, first team sport, first prom, first car, first job. You’ve captured the joy and excitement in each of those moments for your life’s scrapbook.
None of these moments compares to the combination of joy, excitement and, yes, fear, that comes with closing escrow on your first home. Why not capture that milestone so you can look back on it? Here are some tips to remember if you decide you want to do this.
Your Home is No Longer “Staged”
Remember how great your home looked when you first saw it at an open house? Most home sellers today stage their homes to make them as attractive and appealing as possible. And it works — you bought it!
By the time escrow closes, however, the home is no longer staged. On the day you move in, it will not only not be staged, it will be filled with moving boxes. Unless you want to memorialize your new home full of boxes, you’ll want to schedule most of the inside photos for either before you begin moving boxes in, or after you are unpacked and fully moved in.
Need Ideas? Social Media!
Social media is surely driving this trend just as it has with others. Before the advent of social media, no one took photos of their food and shared them with friends and family. But they do now!
On sites like Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter you’ll find thousands of photos of proud new homeowners. Most of the photos you’ll see appear to be taken right after close of escrow, and before the happy home buyers have begun moving in.
Most photographers will include the key shot. By this I literally mean a photograph of the key to your new home.
Naturally, one popular photo shows home buyers in front of their new door. A more stylized version of this shot shows the home buyers inside the doorway of their new home, with the shot taken from inside the house looking out.
Most photographers will include the key shot. By this I literally mean a photograph of the key to your new home. People get pretty creative with this shot. Have fun with it!
Finding a Photographer
Because this is a relatively new trend, not all professional photographers will have experience with this particular type of photo shoot. That might be fine, but there are a few things you’ll want to consider.
Your real estate agent might be the best resource for finding a photographer. After all, he or she used a professional photographer for the MLS© listing that captured your interest in the first place! And, of course, it would be great to find a photographer who has experience in residential photography.
Your real estate agent might be the best resource for finding a photographer. After all, he or she used a professional photographer for the MLS© listing that captured your interest in the first place!
However, remember that the home is the sideshow here; you are the main attraction. The home is only important because you chose it, you’re moving into it and you’ll be paying for it. Your photographer should therefore also have experience shooting people. A wedding or portrait photographer would be an excellent choice, and the best choice would be one who is experienced in both.
While you’ll want to post your photos online, you’ll also want at least a couple of enlarged, professionally framed prints. Make sure your photographer has a professional camera and lighting equipment and professional editing software. The enlargement can be printed anywhere, but hopefully the photographer can help you with that, too.
What will all this cost? While it probably won’t break the bank, it won’t be free, either. The time commitment and materials cost are far less than a wedding, for example, but your photographer still needs to be compensated fairly for his or her time and expertise.
Other New Home Photo Shoot Tips
If you are scheduling the shoot before you move in, have the house professionally cleaned beforehand. Most home sellers don’t thoroughly clean the home before closing the door on the way out. Not only will your home look better for photos, but you’ll appreciate getting everything sparkling clean before all your stuff is in the way.
Avoid showing anything that should remain private. For instance, if you have expensive art pieces, you may not want them displayed for the world to see.
If you schedule the shoot for after move-in, wait until everything is out of boxes and put away. Then, before life messes it up, have the shoot. You can usually find props to flesh out your vision, too. Search for local home staging companies in your area and ask what you might be able to rent short-term.
Avoid showing anything that should remain private. For instance, if you have expensive art pieces, you may not want them displayed for the world to see. Many folks would deem it unwise to include photos of your children in photos you post online; think carefully before posting anything that’s out of the norm for you.
You will only be a first-time home buyer once. Shouldn’t you capture that memory forever?