Unless you’ve been living on a desert island, you know how tough it is to sell a home these days. In some neighborhoods, “For Sale” signs are as common as mailboxes. And the challenge is the same whether you live in a small row house or a McMansion.
Still, there are ways to get a competitive edge: Realtors know that well-maintained homes tend to sell faster, sometimes for a much higher price. . . and there are some inexpensive ways to spiff up a house.
“One of the best ways to get your home to stand out from the crowd is to apply a fresh coat of paint in psychologically important areas,” says Debbie Zimmer, paint and color expert for the Paint Quality Institute. “At the top of the list are the front door and key parts of the home interior.”
You’ve no doubt heard the phrase “falling in love with a home.” That feeling starts at the entranceway, so your front door should create a favorable first impression. Fresh-looking paint on your front door tells potential buyers that you care about your home, giving them a comfort level even before entering.
"Next, take a hard look at the space just inside the door," says Zimmer. Is it warm and welcoming? Is it well maintained? If you can’t honestly answer “yes” to both questions, it’s important to do something about it. Zimmer advises home sellers to repair any imperfections in the walls and paint the space in a “quiet” color, such as white or off-white. “Studies show that these colors appeal to most people, and they’ll enable potential buyers to more easily picture their own furnishings in your home,” she says.
As for the rest of your interior, Zimmer advises repainting any room with loud or overly bright walls in a neutral paint color. You should also critically evaluate the condition of rooms where your children or pets spend time — as adorable as they may be, they can take a toll on your home interior. Fresh paint can quickly and easily restore these areas.
Should you find it necessary to take on several of these painting projects, don’t be put off. You can probably handle most of the work yourself; and even if you need to hire a professional painter, the jobs shouldn’t be too costly.
Things get more complicated when it comes to the exterior. As with the front door, the overall condition of your outside walls and trim are part of a home’s curb appeal or lack thereof. Touch-ups can be helpful here. However, if your entire exterior is in need of a new paint job, you’ll have to decide how much you’re willing to invest to improve its appearance prior to sale.
If you’re the handy type and your home isn’t too large, doing your own exterior painting can be relatively economical, potentially returning much more than the cost involved. But the calculus of hiring a professional painter is different, so weigh your options carefully. In doing so, you may want to consult with a knowledgeable realtor who can offer valuable advice on the wisdom of painting the exterior.
Whether you do your own exterior painting or hire a contractor, it’s best to complete the work before putting your house on the market. Then, when you do, be sure to promote your brand new paint job. Not needing to paint for a while will be a big plus in the eyes of prospective buyers and could help you seal the deal!