It can’t be overstated—when it comes to buying a house, the first impression is everything. If you’re selling or getting ready to sell in the coming months, one of the easiest and most dramatic ways to enhance that first impression is through paint.
Fresh paint makes your house look clean, bright, and inviting.
“Painting your house’s exterior before you put it on the market give the biggest bang for your fix-up buck—if you use colors that conform with your neighborhood’s decorating norm,” says Eric Tyson and Ray Brown in their book “House Selling for Dummies (Hungry Minds Inc., 1999).
Agents agree that sellers shouldn’t take curb appeal lightly, especially when so many buyers are doing their homework and looking at the exterior of houses before they even contact an agent.
“Curb appeal is crucial,” said Mary Sheridan, an agent in Silver Spring, Md. “Buyers get a lot of information from the web now and I find that often they have already driven around with a list of addresses and have decided which ones they want to see, giving curb appeal a lot of weight.”
The Rohm and Haas Paint Quality Institute, an educational resource for paint and paint-related coatings, offers the following tips for painting before selling:
- If nothing else, paint at least the door, door frame, and foyer or first room the would-be buyers will see.
- Use fresh, neutral colors. If you’re painting the exterior, make sure the color blends in with the neighborhood. Opt for whites, creams or neutrals. The PQI says these colors appeal to the greatest number of people.
- Whether you paint yourself or hire someone, make sure all the prep work is done—washing all dirt away, and patching and repairing any necessary areas on the surface before it is painted.
- Paint railings, window frames, trim, and other accents to freshen up the exterior.
- Promote any recent painting in your ads, flyers and online descriptions of your house. Homeowners and buyers place a high value on the painted appearance of a home. Include the date the paint job was completed and the quality of paint that was used.
If you’re thinking about going with a different color, the experts say you should consider the architecture of the home. You should also consider:
- What the house is made of. You can easily paint wood, brick, masonry, or aluminum siding. But if you have vinyl siding, it should only be painted the same color or a lighter color. Dark paint will absorb the heat and ultimately cause the vinyl to warp in the heat.
- The fixed colors—roof color, wood, masonry, and stone.
- The surroundings—houses and other buildings in the neighborhood.
And if you don’t to paint the whole house, consider an eye-popper like the front door.
“It is very important to have a home looking its best and that starts as soon as a buyer drives up to the home,” said Paul Thury, a Connecticut Realtor. “One important tip is to paint the front door if you cannot paint the whole house. This brings a good feeling as you enter the house.”
Another important tip is to get all your painting done before potential buyers view the house.
“It is important to have all the repairs and paint done before going on the market,” said Julie Nelson, a real estate consultant in Austin, Texas. “You need that bam experience on day one on the market. Anything less than bam and you’re just helping the other homes in the neighborhood sell first.”