Should You Paint Your House Before Selling It?

Selling your home is one of the most stressful endeavors you can undertake in your life. In a 2016 survey that asked about people’s perceptions of real estate, selling a home ranked more stressful than other major life events like planning a wedding or having a baby. And it makes sense, when you consider that your home is likely the biggest investment you’ve made. A lot of money is on the line, and you know it’s possible your home may sit on the market for a while — or it may not sell for as much as it should.

Nothing stresses us out more than time ticking away while dollars are disappearing.

While it’s important to price your property competitively and choose the right time to sell, you also need to turn your attention to your home itself. These factors are controlled by you, giving you the power to possibly improve the price of your home and the speed at which it sells:

  • Making upgrades
  • Depersonalizing your home
  • Improving your curb appeal
  • Hiring a professional photographer

But with so many ways to improve your home, where do you start? Which improvements will give you a return, and which are a waste of time and money? Is painting your home worth the effort and expense? Keep reading for answers to this important questions from experienced realtors.

Claire LeBlanc

Claire LeBlanc realtor in Greater BostonClaire LeBlanc is a REALTOR®, ABR-Accredited Buyer Representative, Certified Interior Designer, and Home Staging Specialist who has been helping buyers and sellers in the Greater Boston area for 19 years.

Claire, does painting the interior/exterior help a home sell faster?

Painting your home before selling can be very beneficial to the seller! The entrance of your home creates the first impression to buyers. Buyers make up their mind about a house in the first few minutes they see it! The exterior should be clean and neat, and a fresh coat of paint goes a long way. Remember, you don’t get a second chance at a first impression. A nicely colored doorway draws your eye right to the door, leading people into the house. If a house shows well, you most likely will get a higher offer. Homes that are looking freshly painted with a beautiful front door and exterior adds curb appeal and the buyer is happy to see a well-maintained home right from the start!

What advice do you have on paint colors homeowners should use if they are selling their home?

Neutral colors work best when selling a home: beige, gray, greige, sand, and off white are all in right now, and they appeal to a wider range of potential buyers. You want to market the home to the most amount of buyers possible, and neutral colors do that. They also are a good background for some interior decorating. If needed, you can always add some pops of color in furniture, art, pillows, and decor to bring a room stylishly together.

In your experience, is it recommended to work with a professional painting contractor as opposed to DIY?

Painting is relatively inexpensive and the sale of the home will go faster if it’s freshly painted. Always hire a professional, experienced painter. If a house shows well, you most likely will get a higher offer! In my experience, homes that are looking worn and tattered tend to stay on the market longer.

Contact Claire

Claire LeBlanc
Phone: 781-424-5443
Email: cleblancrealestate@gmail.com
Website: claireleblanc.com

Mike DelRose

Mike DelRose has been a full-time real estate broker since 1978 and established his team in 1992. He is recognized as one of the top agents with RE/MAX of New England and has been awarded to the RE/MAX Hall of Fame and earned the Lifetime Achievement Award. Based in Watertown, MA the Mike DelRose Team serves all of Greater Boston and often beyond, including the communities of Belmont, Newton, Waltham, and Watertown.

Mike, does painting the interior/exterior help a home sell faster?

A fresh coat of paint on both the exterior and interior of a home absolutely can help a listing sell faster. It’s actually more important now than ever because your average first-time home buyer is likely going to have a lot of competition for their purchase. So much so that they often have to stretch themselves thin by putting more money down and increasing their offer price. Having projects like painting done prior to listing goes a long way. Buyers will pay a premium for finished projects because it’s cheaper to finance it than spending out of pocket.

What advice do you have on paint colors homeowners should use if they are selling their home?

Whites are in, or should I say, they have always been in. Shades of white are timeless, unlike the houses we view that haven’t been painted in decades. Some homes we view are like time capsules, and your average buyer today wants to be able to picture themselves living in their new home. Sometimes it’s hard to get past a seller’s personal taste.

Will painting the interior/exterior provide the homeowner with an ROI?

There are certain projects we will recommend or not recommend depending on the circumstances. In addition to average repair work, painting is always a task sellers should consider when looking for a return prior to putting their home on the market.

In your experience, is it recommended to work with a professional painting contractor as opposed to DIY?

When I walk through a home for the first time, I can always see the quality of recent projects –and so can our buyers. When there is the perception that home renovations were completed on a budget or by someone who appears inexperienced, I immediately expect that other corners have been cut. Always consult with a professional to ensure the quality of work is adequate not just for you, but for your next home buyer.

Contact Mike

Mike DelRose
Phone: 617-923-8355
Email: MikeJr@MikeDelRose.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MikeDelRoseTeam/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/mikedelroseteam
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/MikeDelRoseRE
Website: http://www.mikedelrose.com/

Dan Bernal

Dan Bernal - Eastern MassachusettsDan Bernal is a top producing agent providing concierge-level service to buyers, sellers and investors throughout Eastern MA since 2006. Dan has received numerous sales awards and is a repeat featured agent on HGTV’s House Hunters.

Dan, does painting the interior/exterior help a home sell faster?

I spend about half my time working with buyers, and I’ve found that interior painting has a huge effect on buyer perception and the subsequent speed of sale. Buyers’ attention is drawn toward “issues,” so any cosmetic improvements that remove the impression of an “issue” allow buyers to more fully pay attention to and see the property itself. Interior paint is without a doubt the lowest-cost, highest-return investment in pre-listing home improvement.

What advice do you have on paint colors homeowners should use if they are selling their home?

My advice is to stay neutral on paint colors if you intend to sell a property, and whenever possible, rely on painting professionals for color suggestions. They do it every day, but you do it once every (?) years.

Will painting the interior/exterior provide the homeowner with an ROI?

I would say painting the interior of a home will 100% provide a solid ROI every time. Painting the exterior is a larger, more expensive project and warrants individual evaluation from property to property as to whether addressing it will effectively pay for itself as compared to selling as-is. Sometimes totally worth it. Sometimes not.

In your experience, is it recommended to work with a professional painting contractor as opposed to DIY?

I have some true horror stories from past DIY paint jobs my selling clients did to “save money.” They did not save money; they lost potential buyers. I not only recommend sellers use painting professionals when preparing to sell a home, but I essentially insist on it.

Other considerations or points related to the topic?

Buyers, particularly first time buyers or younger buyers, are drawn toward anything that looks problematic and they universally assign a much greater value to it than actual cost. A loose gutter might cost you a couple hundred bucks to repair but after a home inspection, a buyer might request a $3000 credit to address it. Water staining from a roof leak that was resolved 60 years ago in an old New England home might cost you a $5000 credit request after a home inspection, but cost you a few hundred bucks to repair, paint, make perfect and do everything properly in advance. An ounce of prevention goes a long way in preparing to sell a home. Spend the time and money up front. It’s smarter, cheaper and often more ethical than what some predatory contractor might pull on your buyer.

Contact Dan

Dan Bernal
Phone: 617-275-3291
Email: Dan@danbernal.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DanBernalRealEstate/
Zillow: https://www.zillow.com/profile/Dan-Bernal/#reviews
Website: www.danbernal.com

Erin Barry

Erin Barry Realtor A REALTOR® for over 14 years, Erin made a strong impression from the start and was voted “Rookie of the Year” by her peers. At Coldwell Banker, she was named one of the Top Buyers’ Agents, with her partner, Sergio Macias. Now with Keller Williams, Erin is consistently named one of the Top Producers of the office. She has been a Director for the California Association of REALTORS® since 2015, and this year received a 3-year appointment to a presidential advisory committee. Erin is also a member of the GREEN REsource Council.

Erin, does painting the interior/exterior help a home sell faster?

Yes! This helps present the home in the very best light. It also gives the impression that the house has been well-maintained, and that the beauty seen is more than “skin” deep. Think of it as putting on make-up!

What advice do you have on paint colors homeowners should use if they are selling their home?

This really depends on the architecture and style of home. Homeowners should look around their neighborhood and at other houses similar in style to their home to get ideas. Another good source for paint color ideas is Pinterest, but make sure you are looking at homes that resemble yours.

Will painting the interior/exterior provide the homeowner with an ROI?

Definitely. In the scheme of things, paint is an inexpensive improvement that offers a good return. But if a house has fading, peeling paint, it can cost the seller a lot more in lost revenue.

In your experience, is it recommended to work with a professional painting contractor as opposed to DIY?

While popular thought is often that DIY will save money, this isn’t always true when you factor in the time a do-it-yourselfer will have to take off work to get the job done. A professional crew can often have the exterior of a home scraped, patched, primed and painted in less than a week. I have seen people take months to do it themselves. My advice is to ask around for names of good painting contractors, and then get at least three estimates. And remember — cheapest isn’t always the best. A bad paint job doesn’t help anyone.

Other considerations or points related to the topic?

Obviously, if you’re going to the effort to make a house look as nice as possible, don’t stop at the paint. The home should be clean and de-cluttered, inside and out. Staging is a very important part of marketing as it inspires a buyer to imagine themselves living in that house. And once this is all done, you don’t want to hire an agent who walks in, takes a few photos with their phone and posts them online. Hire an experienced REALTOR® who will use a professional photographer and create a marketing campaign showcasing the best features of the house –so you can get the best price.

Contact Erin

Erin Barry
Phone: 562-233-0971
Email: erin@erinbarry.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/erinbarryrealtor
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/erinbarry/
Website: http://www.erinbarry.com/

Dave Lenhardt

Dave was a real estate investor for six years before becoming a full-time Realtor, and has a unique perspective as a landlord and condo association trustee. Dave and team serve Winchester, Woburn, and Burlington, MA and hold numerous free workshops throughout the year to provide tips and tricks to buyers and sellers in order to help them achieve their real estate goals.

Dave, does painting the interior/exterior help a home sell faster?

Assuming the paint colors follow the current trends and the job is done well, painting a house will definitely help a home sell faster. Today’s buyers are looking for homes online, and very often won’t even check out a home in person if it looks outdated in the pictures they see.

What advice do you have on paint colors homeowners should use if they are selling their home?

First of all, decide whether you will be changing any light fixtures as well. Different types of bulbs (LEDs in particular) have various tints to them, and you want to paint a room with colors that look good in the light you’ll have in the home when it’s sold. Painting a test section with a small amount of paint is a good idea before paying to have the whole job done. I’ll never forget one example of this in particular. I painted some walls with a color that looked purely gray under the LED lights we had in an interior section of one property, and that same gray looked shockingly brown when painted in a sunroom that was lit up by natural light.

Will painting the interior/exterior provide the homeowner with an ROI?

Assuming the paint colors follow the current trends and the job is done well, a new paint job can often provide a homeowner with a return on investment if the old colors were dark or outdated, or if the homeowner does the work themselves. I always recommend that a homeowner consult with a full-time REALTOR® when evaluating paint colors, or deciding whether to hire a painter or do some of the work themselves.

In your experience, is it recommended to work with a professional painting contractor as opposed to DIY?

This varies in every situation. If a homeowner has the time AND is good with a brush (many are not), it can be worth it to do it themselves. If not, it’s best to hire a professional.

Other considerations or points related to the topic?

I suggest using a low-VOC paint if you can afford it, because a home painted in standard-grade paint will take weeks to rid itself of that headache-causing smell while a low-VOC paint will emit little to no odor once it’s dry.

Contact Dave

Dave Lenhardt
Phone: 781-557-8673
Email: dave@kadilakrealtygroup.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Lenhardthomes
Website: https://kadilakrealtygroup.com

Rachel Hillman Foy

Rachel Hilman - Massachusetts area realtorRachel Hillman became a full-time Massachusetts area REALTOR® in 2002. With over 15 years of experience, her business is over 90% referrals. Rachel and her team at Hillman Homes have a passion for real estate and taking care of their clients.

Rachel, does painting the interior/exterior help a home sell faster?

Yes, many buyers want “move-in” ready, and homes with clean paint inside and out make a better impression and sell quicker than those with outdated/peeling paint.

What advice do you have on paint colors homeowners should use if they are selling their home?

For the interior, keep colors light and neutral. Something like off-white or light gray works best to help the white trim pop and help the rooms feel bigger/brighter.

Will painting the interior/exterior provide the homeowner with an ROI?

Yes, painting will give the buyer one less thing to worry about when making an offer. It also helps to show the buyers that the property has been maintained well over time.

In your experience, is it recommended to work with a professional painting contractor as opposed to DIY?

Generally, yes — professionally painted walls are done right (no accidentally hitting the ceiling or floor with paint, drips, etc.).

Other considerations or points related to the topic?

After many years, the walls can get dirty from paintings, fingerprints, etc. When de-cluttering/staging for a home sale, painting is one more stop to make sure the property shows in the best possible light.

Contact Rachel

Rachel Hillman Foy
Phone: 617-930-5665
Email: rachel@hillmanfoy.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Lenhardthomes
Website: http://www.hillmanfoy.com

Janis Lippman

Janis Lippman Boston Massachusetts RealtorJanis is a REALTOR®, ABR-Accredited Buyer Representative, is on the board of the National Association of Gay & Lesbian Real Estate Professionals and is a former board member of both The Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition and Mass Equality. She spearheads all operations for the Ellen, Janis & Josh Real Estate Team.

Janis, does painting the interior/exterior help a home sell faster?

Yes, no doubt.

What advice do you have on paint colors homeowners should use if they are selling their home?

When selling your home, it is best to stay with neutral colors. We suggest Benjamin Moore Wind’s Breath with white trim.

Will painting the interior/exterior provide the homeowner with an ROI?

A fresh coat of paint can improve curb appeal and enhance the value of your home. It may even sell faster.

In your experience, is it recommended to work with a professional painting contractor as opposed to DIY?

We always recommend working with a seasoned professional. The painting prep work is critical. Few people have the experience and time that a professional quality painting job requires.

Contact Janis

Janis Lippman
Phone: 617-869-0496
Email: janis@EJJrealestate.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/EJJrealestate
Yelp: http://www.yelp.com/biz/ellen-janis-and-josh-real-estate-re-max-destiny-jamaica-plain-2
Website: http://www.ejjrealestate.com

Wrapping It Up

Paint is transformative, and a good paint job lets potential home buyers picture themselves living in your home. Since updating your home with paint before you put it on the market may help you sell your home quicker and for a better price, it makes sense to take the time and energy to get the job done — and to get it done right. Hire a professional painting company to transform your home into one that potential homebuyers will be willing to pay for.

Are you a REALTOR®, real estate agent, or homeowner who would like to join the conversation? If so, please leave your thoughts in the comments below. We look forward to hearing from you!

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