Unfortunately, most people live in their houses for many years and never think about painting, until it comes time to sell. For most people, it just seems like an unnecessary expense, and for those who love to decorate, you might have every room a different color. In either case, you are probably going to need to paint your house before you put it on the market.

After working in Real Estate and being a contractor for many years, I am here to give you some tips to simplify the “painting before selling” process.


These are the most important rules to remember when painting your house before selling


Do it yourself or not?


Over the years, I have heard many, many people say painting is easy, and they can do it themselves and save a bundle. Unfortunately, that is not always the truth. Sometimes choosing to take on a task of this size can prove to be more trouble than it is worth. Especially if you do not do this for a living. The truth is everyone can put paint on a wall. But most people do not have professional painting skills, which may leave you with an unsightly mess. The costs associated with fixing these unsightly messes, is generally more than what you would have paid a professional to paint it in the first place. Unless you are very confident in yourself, and committed to a doing perfect job, I would leave the painting to the professionals. I don’t mean the handyman that fixed your neighbors sink, I mean a reputable paint contractor that is insured, licensed, and comes along with great references.


Choose neutral colors


Remember that you are painting this house to make it appealing to other people. So find neutral colors that compliment each other. If you are painting the interior, I recommend going with an updated color selection like; white ceilings and trim, and tan or beige walls. Sticking with neutral colors will make your home appeal to a broader selection of people, which will help your house sell faster.


The same rule applies to painting the exterior of the house. Stay away from bright colors, and stick with softer, more neutral colors. Before you pick out or purchase anything, make sure that consult your HOA for your community’s color policies. If you don’t have the HOA to worry about, and don’t know where to start, I recommend visiting your local paint store and asking them for an exterior color guide. They generally have these great booklets around the color card displays, and they are full of great color ideas that are specifically chosen for the exterior of a home.


Buy Samples first


If you are going with a neutral interior color scheme, you can generally skip this step. But if you are uncertain about the colors you have chosen for your exterior, buy a smaller amount first. Most stores will offer a ‘sample’ size, if they don’t, you can buy a quart. I recommend painting your sample colors in a few different areas of your house. Sometimes the colors will appear differently in different areas, depending on how the light is shining or reflecting on them.


If you choose to paint the house yourself, here are a few more tips to help you out.


Be sure to buy enough paint


This is a very important step and no, it is not as simple as going to the store to buy another gallon. You will want to buy plenty of each color of paint, and mix the respective colors together before, applying it. If you skip this step, you will find that the color of each container of paint may be slightly off. This will leave you with a disaster if you run out before you are finished, or when you try to touch up the paint later. I have seen this happen to people, time and time again. Then they go to the paint store and blame the paint store for making the color wrong.


The truth is people, it is not their fault. And they will not reimburse you for your paint or your troubles. If you read the directions on any reputable paint brand, it will tell you to do this. The reason, is that the color pigment that is put into the paint is measured fairly accurately, but it is not a perfect system. Even a tiny bit too much or too little, can change the color of the entire container. If you need help figuring out how much paint to buy, consult your paint store or click here to use the paint calculator. You will need dimensions of the rooms or square footage’s, number of doors and windows, etc.


Prepping your house for paint


Another step people like to skip is the preparation process. When painting the interior of the house, you will first want to remove grease and grime from doors and walls, dust from baseboards and tops of door casings, fill nail holes, caulk corners that have cracked out, cover any areas you don’t want paint on, etc. I recommend starting in one small room first, then you can get an idea of what to expect when doing larger rooms. If you start having doubts about completing this grueling task, call the pro’s.


As far as prepping the exterior of the house, you will want to scrape any loose or peeling paint, replace any rotten trim or siding, and then power wash the exterior surfaces, the day or two before you are ready to paint. Be sure to use a good primer on any new materials or any other areas in need before applying paint. You will also want to fill holes and cracks, and cover any areas that you don’t want to get paint on.


If it has been too many years since your last paint job, you may need to apply primer to everything. If this is the case, again, please call a professional and save yourself the headache. They can spray the outside of your house faster than you can get your ladder and your paint bucket set up.


A lot of people are probably thinking, ” I could save so much money doing it myself. ” The truth is, unless you have done this before, it is going to be a heck of a lot harder than you are probably imagining. And you are probably not going to save as much as you think you are.


And you may be thinking why do I care about prepping, and priming, and all of the extra steps, I am selling the house. The reason is, that if you have a fresh, professional looking paint job, not only will you house look better and maybe sell faster, but buyers will be more confident that you took care of this house.


Buying a house is a big choice and a big expense. Being able to tell people that they house has been freshly painted inside and out, is a huge plus. This could make your house sell faster, and increase the value significantly, both of which are very important to you. And if your house is on the market longer than you hoped for, which seems to be a trend right now, at least you know that your paint job will hold up until the house is sold.


As with any household construction project, painting may be a hassle but it could really pay off in the long run.