As a rule, potential homebuyers aren’t apt to be terribly bothered by cosmetic problems in your home. If it can be affordably fixed, it won’t prevent them from making an offer on the house.
But is that always the case? Are there any situations in which a fresh coat of paint could mean the difference between getting offers and sitting for months on the MLS?
The answer to this question is somewhat complex and involves a range of variables, including your target buyers, the location of your home, the current state of your painted surfaces, and your asking price.
In other words, sometimes it makes a difference if you paint and sometimes it doesn’t. Use this guide to help decide which may be necessary in the case of your home.
The Power of the First Impression
Don’t let anyone tell you that first impressions don’t matter. According to psychological studies, human beings put a lot of stock in them.
Most of us form an opinion about someone or something within the first 15 seconds of acquaintance, and this will hold true for your home. This first impression lasts; for better or worse, it takes a lot to convince people their initial impression was wrong.
When prospective buyers walk through your home, they’ll experience many first-time impressions. They start with the exterior of your home and go from one room to the next.
The paint condition can fix a person’s lasting impression of your home, so if it’s chipped, peeling, or otherwise damaged, it can leave a very bad taste. In addition, a poorly chosen color can rub people the wrong way.
So paint is critical. You want to give your home that “wow” factor, and if the paint suggests the premises are in disrepair, you should add a fresh coat before the place hits the market.
Adding Value with Paint
In some cases, a coat of paint will do nothing for the value of your home. In others, it can add 200 percent or more of the cost to your asking price.
The exterior is probably the most vital element in terms of paint colors. Homebuyers know that not everyone will see the inside of the home, but everyone will see the outside. An exterior with a quality coat of paint, in a color that blends with the neighborhood, will instantly add value to your home.
This might surprise you, but painting the front door also adds value. This is one of the least-expensive paint jobs you can do, but it can add hundreds, if not thousands of dollars to your asking price.
Another factor to consider is the value of a quick sale. Sometimes, buyers crave a “wow” factor to make them want to look through your home.
If you live in a buyer’s market, you need as much up-front power as you can muster. Getting your home in tip-top shape, including the paint colors, will move that process along.
When you consider painting an area of a home, always compare the added value with the actual cost of painting. According to Houselogic, a comprehensive paint job for the interior and/or exterior of your home will cost an average of $500 for materials, and around $2,000 for labor.
Fixing Damaged Paint
If the paint on the exterior or interior of your home is chipped, peeling, damaged, or otherwise negatively affected, you’ll definitely want to paint before putting your house on the market. When a home buyer sees damaged paint, he or she may instantly fear there’s something wrong with the drywall or siding of the home, even when that’s not the case.
You never want to create the impression that a residential structure will require a lot of work, but a poor paint job will do just that. For a few hundred dollars, you can prevent such negative thoughts from entering your buyers’ heads and increase the odds of a quick sale.
Choosing the Right Paint Colors
When you’re trying to make a good first impression with the paint job, choosing the right color(s) is crucial. Painting your house any color at all before selling will generally raise its value, but if you want to get the maximum earnings from an update, you’ll want to choose the right one.
Appropriate colors vary based on the functionality of the room. Dining rooms, bathrooms, and kitchens can handle bright accent colors paired with neutral colors.
Living spaces and bedrooms usually call for a soft, cozy, and neutral color. Gentle blues tend to do well in bedrooms, while shades of gray and tan perform best in living areas.
When you paint the exterior of your home, try to stick with colors found in nature. Blue, light green, tan, gray, and white are common, with shades of gray or beige rendering the best additional value.
Most important, you want your home color to match your neighborhood. Most homeowners don’t want to live in a house that sticks out like a sore thumb, so choose a color that works well with its surroundings.
When in doubt, choose neutral colors. White, tan, and gray in various shades can make a home look clean, open, and inviting, even if none of these colors are your favorite. But painting is usually simple and adds the most value.
Don’t Paint When …
There are reasons not to paint before selling your house, though. You’ll want to evaluate these on a case-by-case basis and use common sense, plus the advice of a good Realtor.
But generally, you don’t have to worry about painting in the following scenarios:
- You’ve painted within the last year (and the paint still looks great).
- The cost of painting the house — i.e., materials, labor, etc. — will outweigh the value added to your home.
- The siding needs replacement, and you know the homeowners are planning on doing that.
- The market is extremely hot, and houses are selling quickly; yours will probably get an offer without having to undergo updates.
- There’s a strong market in the area for fixer-uppers and rental properties — the buyers won’t likely care about paint if they’re going to update, or they don’t plan to live there.
Your Realtor will likely have good advice for you about whether to paint your house or not, based on current market demand. Listen to his or her counsel to help you get the most bang for your buck.
Contact Green Residential Today!
Do you want a Realtor who cares as much about getting the best value for your home as you do? Our experienced Realtors at Green Residential fill the bill.
We know the greater Houston area better than anyone, and we can help you get your house ready to sell quickly and for the best value. For more information about the services we provide, contact us today!