6 Ways to Take the Perfect ‘I Just Bought a House’ Photo

A photo to accompany a story about taking the ultimate "I just bought a house" photo Dustin McKibben / Getty Images
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If you managed to navigate the past year and come out of it as a new homeowner, congratulations. You’re winning, regardless of what interest rate you have. Now, it’s time to snap a photo to immortalize the moment.

With gatherings the size of your typical housewarming party on hold, you’ve got one indispensable option left for celebrating — the “I just bought a house” photo.

The homebuying selfie was tailor made for this moment. Now you need to execute.

While there’s no wrong way to share your excitement with the world through a photograph, there are some boxes you can check for maximum impact. So if you’re struggling to take the “right” photo, here are some “I just bought a house” selfie stalwarts you can rely on to rake in the likes, follows, and shares.

Pro Tip

Don’t limit yourself to one idea. Mix and match a few to maximize your fun. Try hugging your keys while your dog holds a ‘for sale’ sign in its mouth.

6 Essential Elements to an ‘I Just Bought a House’ Photo

1. Let us see the house — bonus points if you include the For Sale sign

This may go without saying, but if you just bought a house we want to see it in the photo. So set up on your new abode’s good side or in front of a quirky door and strike a pose.

Destiny Boyum, 26, and her husband Jens, 29, upgraded from a condo to their first home in December. Just like everywhere else these days, the real estate market where they were house hunting, in Rochester, Minnesota, is hyper competitive. But the Boyums pulled off a bit of a present-day real estate miracle when their offer was accepted — even though it was for less than the asking price.

“We were ready to go, we were preapproved and had all of our ducks in a row. I think [the sellers] had been negotiating with somebody else, who wasn’t ready to go,” Destiny says. 

And just like that we have our first bit of advice that applies to both homebuyers and homebuyer photos: be prepared.

2. Include all your babies — including the furry kinds

The internet is great. It’s pretty neat to have anything you need right at your fingertips, but what we all really want is more cute stuff. So by any means necessary, include your pups, cats, and kids in the photo.

Serial entrepreneurs Alysha, 29, and Nathan Jackson, 30, turned back the clock by purchasing an Indiana home with a style that’s frozen in the ’70s. They weren’t actively looking to buy, but when they stumbled across the house on Facebook they jumped at the opportunity and plan to put it on Airbnb once renovations are done.

For their photos, the Jacksons let the property dictate their style. The family decked themselves in 1970s attire and Nathan even donned a mustache for the occasion. “Because the house is so retro, we wanted to really capture it in its essence, and dress to match the home,” Alysha says.

3. Keys in the photo

A deed may be the legal document that transfers ownership of the property to you, but we don’t want to see the fine print. We want the keys.

Audrey Hamid, 31, and her husband Huy Nguyen, 28, started their homebuying journey in July and ended up with a newly built home. “For us, it was a really easy process,” Hamid says. “It was surprising, considering the housing market in Seattle is insane right now.” They just put down the earnest money with the builder and didn’t have to bother competing with other buyers. “The company was on a first-come, first-serve basis, so we didn’t have to bid,” Hamid says.

When it came time to photograph their new home, Hamid and Nguyen needed to get a little creative. Hamid had friends whose “I just bought a house” photos featured props provided by the agent or builder, such as a comically large key.  “But because of Covid, those people aren’t there providing a prop for you to take a photo with,” Hamid says. 

4. The house hug

This may not be a trending category yet, but let’s make it one. It would be a better world to live in if everyone started hugging buildings that seem particularly friendly or interesting.

Isabella Virrueta, 29, and her husband Corey Hanson, 30, just closed on their first home after spending months scouring the Milwaukee area for an ideal abode. And the pent up emotion shows. “I was just so happy in that moment. I also tend to get attached to things very quickly. I’ve named my car and named my house,” Virrueta says.

For the record, the house is named Adrian Palmetto, which is a combination of the street it’s on (Palmetto), and the eccentric character from the TV show Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Adrian Pimento. “He’s such a weird crazy character … just very wild. Not that our house is wild, but it does have this facade of a very cute house next door, but then has a full 20-foot basement bar,” Virrueta says.

5. Don’t forget the boxes

After you buy a home, the excitement will eventually get pushed to the side by the reality that, at some point, you’ll need to move in. As much as we like sharing in your excitement, it’s also nice to know that you’ve got stressful moments just like the rest of us. So don’t be afraid to show a bit of the move-in chaos.

When Covid delayed Angie Wang’s wedding plans, she and her fiancé decided to make the best of it and invest in a home. Wang, 31, ended up falling in love with the first home she saw and that was that. “We ended up canceling all the other homes we were going to see that day,” Wang says.

Wang recommends using your camera’s, or phone’s, live-photos setting if you have that option. “Live photos really capture the raw unposed moments,” Wang says. Make sure to take a bunch of different photos, so you’ve got options. Finally, don’t forget the setting. “If you’re moving … then have moving boxes and maybe make the background a little bit chaotic, because that’s just what it is.”

6. Make it a memory

Taking a photo everyone else will like is great, but don’t forget to make it special for yourself.

Cara Benko, 27, and her fiancé, TJ Roux, 29, recently bought their first house together. Getting an offer accepted in today’s real estate market can be a bit of a nightmare, and for Benko and Roux it was even harder. Thanks to a job change, they had the added challenge of shopping for a house in the Atlanta area, roughly four hours from where they lived. They started off looking at homes on the weekends, but had to change course. By the time Saturday rolled around, most listings already had multiple offers. So they started looking at mid-week listings. “Usually everything came up Thursday,” Benko says. This allowed them to jump in with an offer more quickly.

For their photo, they made a call back to the picture Roux took when he bought his first house. “My very first house I thought it’d be cool to hold up the keys to the camera … and we replicated that idea with this house,” Roux says. “So you can put the two side by side.”