Should You Paint Your House Before Selling?

Should You Paint Your House Before Selling?

When it comes time to sell your house, it may be what’s known as a buyer’s or seller’s market. In a buyer’s market, the supply of houses is greater than demand – which gives buyers leverage in the offering price. The opposite is true, of course, in a seller’s market – which is the current environment. But even with high demand among homebuyers, home sellers need to have their house present itself in its very best light in order to sell quickly – and for top dollar!

The truth is, no matter how hot the real estate market, a house that is in obvious need of maintenance or updating can languish for months without an offer – or attract only lowball bids from those who consider it a “fixer” in need of extensive, expensive repairs and/or remodeling. As they say, you never get a second chance to make a first impression. A fresh paint job – exterior, interior or both – can get your house the positive attention from potential buyers it needs to stand above the neighborhood competition.

First Impressions Count – What Real Estate Agents Say

Don’t take our word for it – experienced though it is! Writing for HomeLight, real estate author Melissa Rudy notes the following:

“How your home looks from the outside shapes a buyer’s opinion from the start, which is why 76% of top real estate agents nationwide say that improving curb appeal is the no. 1 thing a seller can do to boost the marketability of their home.

“And the chances of recouping the cost are in your favor: According to a HomeLight survey of more than 900 real estate agents, painting the exterior of a home boosted the value by around $4,228 compared to a cost of $2,803, which means it nets a 51% return on investment.”

HomeAdvisor expert Dan DiClerico agrees that painting your home before putting it up for sale can be critical to selling it faster and for a better price.

“While it varies a lot, we estimate that fresh paint adds 1% to 3% to a home’s final sale price,” he says. “On a $300,000 home, that means you could be getting $3,000 to as much as $9,000 more.”

Also writing for HomeLight, home design and real estate journalist Erika Riley observes the following:

“Curb appeal is vital for making a fantastic first impression with buyers; it sets the tone for buyers’ expectations of your home’s condition. Since your home’s exterior takes up most of the view, fresh paint can go a long way in enhancing buyers’ initial view.”

Also, your home’s exterior condition can impact your buyer’s ability to qualify for a Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loan. Riley reports that the FHA has minimum property standards to ensure every buyer’s physical and financial safety. “While cosmetic deficiencies are not listed in these standards, deficient paint and damaged plaster and sheetrock in houses built post-1978 are. If you miss the mark on these standards, you might miss out on some eligible buyers.”

Our blog post – “How to Improve the Curb Appeal of Your Home” – includes many more helpful tips on making potential buyers fall in love with your house at first sight!

Should You Paint Your Home’s Exterior, Interior or Both?

If your home’s exterior is due for a paint job, chances are that the walls of your interior rooms need freshening-up, as well. The good news is that if your budget is a concern (as it probably is), you may not need to paint every room. Ottawa-based Marilyn Brophy of Heart and Home Staging is a Certified Colour Consultant™ as well as a Certified Staging Professional®. In her article – “Why Paint Before Selling Your House” – Brophy recommends focusing on the foyer, as it presents the first impression that buyers will get of what it would be like to live there. Other important rooms she identifies are the kitchen and bathrooms.

“The buyer does not want to update fixtures, paint walls and replace cabinets and counter tops. If your budget is limited, concentrate on these three areas. These are the highest traffic areas of a house and will likely have the most wear and tear, marks on the walls and baseboards, holes from hanging pictures etc. Clean it up and paint with neutral colours to show off the features of each room and show the areas are well maintained and clean.”

Which Exterior and Interior Colors are Best for Selling Your House?

Choosing the right paint color is essential to appealing to the widest range of buyers. If your interior rooms reflect your love of bold, bright colors, start the psychological process of detaching yourself. After all, it will soon be someone else’s home. And that will happen even faster if the wall colors are neutral, allowing potential buyers to visualize themselves in the house. Also, don’t make the mistake of using personality-plus colors when preparing to sell in the belief that others share your taste and will consider your choice hip and trendy – or tell yourself the new owners can always repaint if they don’t like the color.

“Bright, vibrant colors are usually avoided when painting a home for sale,” writes Travis Nolan for Old Crow Painting. “These colors are a distraction at best, and could make someone absolutely hate your house at worst. Potential buyers that dislike the color would want to repaint after purchase, but more often, they’ll pick a different home.”

For this reason, such neutral shades as whites, beiges, taupes, light grays, etc., may seem boring, but can help you earn more “green” when you sell – which is the color you really want to see!

HGTV’s Maria Conti and home remodeling guide Fixr provide the following breakdown of exterior and interior colors that help sell houses:


“First impressions are everything and Fixr’s design pros agree that fresh white or gray exteriors will win the hearts of homebuyers this year,” Conti writes. “Not sure if gray or white is the best fit for your home’s façade? Choose a neutral paint color (think: greige, beige or taupe) that complements surrounding homes in your neighborhood and is in keeping with the architectural style of your home.”


Fixr reports that warm gray or classic white tones are best for the kitchen, while you can’t go wrong with white for the living room.

“When in doubt, white it out,” Conti writes. “Fixr’s surveyed pros believe white paint will sell your home because not only does it provide future buyers with a blank slate, but it gives living rooms a fresh, well-kept appearance that appeals to the masses.”

We do caution that there are actually many shades of white, ranging from undertones of red/pink, blue, yellow and green/gray – so be sure to choose the one that best complements the room, as well as adjacent areas.

The report reveals that design pros agree that airy white or soft taupe paint is a winning option for a best-selling bedroom. As for the bathroom, pale blue is the best hue!

Hire a Pro for the Best Results

If you’re a regular reader of our blog, you may have noticed that we’re forgoing our usual pros-and-cons of doing it yourself or hiring a professional painter. When you’re preparing your house to sell, you probably don’t have the time for a DIY project of this scope – nor the expertise to achieve the same high-quality results as a pro who has the right degree of experience and skill, as well as the proper supplies and equipment. People will be examining your house very closely for any flaws. You don’t want an amateur-level paint job to be among them!

Our team at The Paint Manager has been proudly serving Central Florida homeowners for 20 years with experienced, dedicated and professional services that include exterior and interior house painting, roof repair and cleaning, drywall repair, popcorn ceiling texture removal, cabinet refinishing and so much more!

Plus, become a member of The Paint Manager to receive a 15% year-‘round member’s discount. Contact us to learn more about our services and membership discount offer. We look forward to meeting you!

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