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Should You Paint a House Before Selling It?

Updated Jan 23, 2023

Updated Jan 23, 2023

Home > Maintenance & Renovation > Should You Paint a House Before Selling It?

Should homeowners paint their houses before selling them? In almost any case, the answer is a resounding yes.

Painting your home typically has a strong return on investment. However, you’ll want to consider the state of your home, current color schemes, if you need an exterior paint job, and much more. Keep reading to assess what parts of your home you should paint and why it’s almost always worth the cost of painting to increase the value of your home.

couple preparing for house painting
Image Source: Canva

When Should I Paint My House Before Selling It?

There are several situations where you should always paint your home before selling it: 

  • Does your home have distinct wall colors? We always recommend consulting with your real estate agent on this topic, but as a general rule, if your home has distinct paint colors like purple, red, green, or yellow, you’ll want to repaint these walls to improve your home’s first impression. Opt for neutral colors like earthy tones, white, gray, or beige.
  • Are your interior walls dark? Dark paint colors make a room look smaller. Repainting these rooms with lighter colors can make your home look bigger, increasing its value to possible buyers. If you have several rooms painted in the same color, this can make your home look more cohesive and bigger as well. 
  • Does your home’s exterior look faded? A fresh coat of paint can deliver a massive return on investment. A HomeGain study showed that repainting your home’s exterior will, on average, yield a 51% to 55% return on your investment
  • Do you have fading, chipping, peeling, flaking, or wood rot on your home’s exterior? If yes, these areas absolutely should be painted over, even if they’re minor. After all, even a bit of visible fading or wood rot can signal potential buyers that the home wasn’t well-maintained. 
  • Do you have wallpaper? Unfortunately, wallpaper needs to go in most cases. Unless you have a very distinct style and niche home, most real estate agents will advise you to remove the wallpaper and add fresh paint. Most buyers are looking for homes ready to move into with minimal repairs and changes needed. You can add value to the buyer by fixing anything broken in the house, repainting your home, and more, allowing you to increase the sale price. 

Why Should You Paint Your Home Before Selling It?

For starters, most real estate experts say that a good exterior paint job is the single most significant, cost-effective improvement a homeowner can make before listing their home on the real estate market. It’s also recommended that your exterior paint job makes your home look different from the neighbors but not too different. After all, you don’t want to make your home stick out like a sore thumb. A Zillow analysis of home sales demonstrated that the color “greige,” a shade between light beige and gray, sold the best, and you should save statement colors for detailing. 

Many surveys have studied the effect of painting the outside of your home and how it affects the value of your home. One study found that exterior paint jobs increase your home’s value by 2% to 5%. While this may not sound incredible, this translates to $15,000 if you receive a 3% return on a home worth half a million dollars. 

In addition to painting the outside of your home, painting your home’s interior can result in being able to raise your home’s sale price by one to three percent. Some of the top areas to paint include cabinets, behind the toilet, trim, kitchen walls, and the living room. Don’t neglect to paint any rooms with unique, bold, or trendy colors either. 

Unless the paint color trend is current, you won’t want your home to be sporting these trendy colors as they will look more outdated and old. While you may love that lime green trim, it’s unlikely that many others will. Remember, you want to make your home viewing a blank slate so the potential buyer can easily project their ideal home decor, furniture, and setup onto your home. 

Lastly, consider painting your home to improve how it looks in photos. Homes with fresh paint show better in pictures, which is crucial when most shoppers look at homes online before they even consider touring them. A bright, clean home gives buyers a good feeling about the property, appears bigger in photos, and doesn’t distract from their own individual tastes. 

Top Tips for Painting Your Home To Increase Its Value

man painting house his house walls white
Image Source: Canva

Avoid these mistakes when painting your home to increase its value: 

  • Don’t stick to spot touch-ups. Instead, repaint the entire wall or room. Touch-ups are hard to match to the wall, and it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to blend the new paint in with the old color perfectly. Even if you purchase the exact same paint, there will likely be differences between the batches, and the original coat of paint may have faded some. Take the extra hour and repaint the entire wall instead to prevent this problem. 
  • Hire a professional painter, especially for the exterior of your home. Painting a home’s exterior is a significant undertaking, and it can be risky when dealing with multiple levels, tricky angles, high ceilings, or the roof. It’s almost guaranteed that you’ll make money back and then some when you sell your home. 
  • Choose neutral tones for your paint jobs. While these neutral paint colors may be “boring,” they allow potential buyers to imagine their furniture, decorations, and family in the house without the distraction of a bright baby-blue nursery or pink bedroom. 

Final Thoughts

A DIY painting project or hiring a local painting company to fix peeling paint and scuffs and give your home a fresh look can help you sell your home for more money. This simple upgrade may also help your home sell faster. Remember that the cost of paint per square foot is typically only a couple of dollars, so painting your home is almost always a fantastic investment. 

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