Should I Paint Before I Sell?

By: Dave Tingle

I have been fortunate to have worked with a few real estate agents over the past 11 years and have learned what people look at when buying a home, as far as painting goes. I usually agree with what most agents suggest to the sellers, but not always.

I don’t believe that everything has to be painted a neutral color before it’s put on the market. A lot of people like color as long as it looks clean. Baseboards that are nicked or scuffed up, should be touched up or repainted to give it that clean look, as should walls or ceilings that might be damaged, but I don’t think that you have to cover a red accent wall, because it is red.

I have a couple of suggestions, regarding painting, for anyone who is considering selling their home, based solely on what I’ve seen since I started my business 11 years ago.

First of all, instead of spending the money to repaint any or all areas that may not be neutral, put it on the market and see what potential buyers are saying. When potential buyers look at a home, if they don’t like the painting, they figure that is a project that they will have to take on at some point and time, which could turn them off. On the other hand, it could be that the current color scheme is something that they like, or gives them an idea of how they might be able to change it to something they like.

I have some friends who sold their home last year and they had accent walls everywhere, and had a couple of rooms that had a faux finish, (sponge painting, rag roll technique). The real estate agent suggested that they paint everything neutral and get rid of the faux look because it looked too busy. They chose not to, and sold it to someone who came to the first open house. They buyer loved the look!

Two years ago, we did a project, where we came in and repainted a home to a neutral color, after it had been on the market for 6 months. This place was painted a peach color throughout, and the color didn’t go very well with the stained woodwork. The home was empty and big, but based on the feedback from the real estate agent, the paint was the problem. After we painted, the place sold within two weeks, to someone who had already looked at it. The seller knew what to do based on the feedback, but waiting 6 months to change it was a bit long. Sellers can also work out a painting allowance with potential buyers, if they don’t have the time or money to get the painting done.

Since hiring a painter can be a big expense, I would suggest saving the money in the beginning, and see what people are saying. There would be nothing worse than spending a bunch of money on painting, and having a buyer interested more with location and size. Some people figure on painting anyway, just to make it as fresh as it can be before moving in. I think doing less is better at first, and make changes later, as needed!

Until Next Time!

DT

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