When preparing your house for sale, there are a lot of relatively inexpensive touches that can increase the value. But, dollar for dollar, nothing gives you more bang for your buck than paint. The results are immediate, giving the house a clean and finished appearance, and it’s an easy fix for dull tired surfaces. Buyers take notice of freshly painted walls. Although painting is not generally a difficult task, you would be surprised how many buyers prefer not to mess with it. Therefore, it’s a selling point if your house has been recently painted. There are several things to consider before starting your project: paint color and quality, whether to do it yourself or hire it done, and the overall effect you hope to achieve.
Painting a house to prepare it for sale is different from painting your house to live in. The colors you choose for your own use might not be the best colors to select if you are trying to sell the property. This doesn’t mean you have to stick to white or beige only, but it does mean using some restraint as you will want to choose colors that will have broad appeal and a palette that will go well with almost any furnishings. These factors are somewhat limiting.
If you have large rooms, they can handle darker colors. Small rooms can be painted dark as well, but it is true that a dark color will make a room look smaller. This is something to keep in mind as a feeling of spaciousness is an attractive feature. Paint treatments such as sponge or rag also tend to visually minimize a small room. Use them sparingly.
Beige is the new white, and there are many different wonderful shades to choose from, ranging from light ivory to rich tans. When preparing a previous house for sale, I chose a tan paint with a gold tone for my large front room. The adjoining dining room, I painted in the same color, only several shades lighter. This gave the space some variety without jarring the senses. The rooms still coordinated with each other. It is important to take into consideration when selecting colors for adjoining rooms that the buyer can see both rooms in one glance.
Another good choice of color that will take you out of the brown family, is sage. The correct shade can provide an almost neutral backdrop and tends to be soothing.
Strong colors do have their place. I tried a bold approach on one kitchen I painted because it was large enough to handle it. Using a picture from the internet for inspiration, I painted the walls a vivid green and then the woodwork and cabinets white to offset it. The result was crisp and fresh. While it worked for that particular project, it is not an approach I would recommend. If I were to do the project today, I would select a different color, such as a pumpkin, terra cotta, cappuccino or suede. Try to choose colors that will lend themselves well to almost any décor.
If you can’t resist the urge to pick a strong color, then by all means do so. But, perhaps you could use it only on one wall in the room as an accent, and then paint the other three walls a more neutral tone. That way you get the best of both styles without jeopardizing your home’s appeal. Remember, you are trying to appeal the largest number of potential buyers as possible.
Realtors often stress in their listings that a property is “light” or “airy”. This is a strong indication that these qualities are considered desirable. While my personal preference leans toward dark and cozy, I realize I must put my tastes aside when prepping a home for sale. If you plan to include window treatments with the property, my suggestion is that you select white or ivory curtains that will not block light and will go well with almost any wall color. White curtains tend toward an airy feel which can give even a smaller room the appearance of spaciousness and light.
Take special care to do a tidy job when painting. Keep paint in its place. A sloppy paint job will not enhance your property. If you are not a person who enjoys painting, consider hiring professionals to do the job. It will be well worth the money.
If you do the job yourself, don’t go cheap on paint. Buy high quality paint from Lowe’s, True Value, or Sherwin Williams. It’s worth the extra money. I learned this lesson the hard way when I purchased some paint at a discount store. Although I chose their high-end product, it still was substandard. It went on smooth enough and looked fine at first, but three days later it had bubbled in places. It also required three coats to cover, so I didn’t really save any money. The project had to be redone, so it wasted valuable time as well as money.
Use a good brush. This can’t be stressed enough. Fighting streaks and runs will turn your experience sour in a hurry. A poor quality brush will frustrate you and make the project much harder than it has to be. The same is not so true of roller covers. I have found that even the economical ones usually do a decent job.
A lot of painters use painting tape to achieve sharp even lines between two differing colors. For going around woodwork and ceilings, however, I prefer a brush and a steady hand. Again, this only works if you have a good brush. If you feel you cannot paint a straight line, using the painter’s tape is best way to go. Edgers are another option, but one I don’t recommend. I have never had good luck with edgers, but maybe that is just me.
Be sure the surfaces are clean before starting your painting project. If you are covering dark or extremely glossy paint, you should use a primer first or purchase paint that contains primer. It will help with coverage.
To summarize, remember to choose a color that will have mass appeal. Use only high-quality paint and tools. Hire it done if you do not feel you can do the job properly. And keep in mind the overall effect you are trying to achieve. You can increase the value of your home and enhance its charm if you spend the extra time and money to do the job right. Happy painting!