Should you paint before you sell?


Dear David,

Our youngest got married and moved back home so he and his wife can save for a condo. Space is tight, so we’re looking for a place with an in-law suite. We’re getting our current home ready to sell, and the bolder accent walls could use a coat of paint. My husband thinks we should leave it for the next owner to do, in case they don’t like our colours. –  BEYOND THE PALE

DEAR BEYOND – It’s increasingly common these days to have grown children move back home. Given your changing needs as a family, an important first step is to figure out where you’re going next. A house with separate living quarters may take a bit longer to find, but this feature has the potential to serve you well in the future. It can help your son save money now, and later supplement your retirement with a tenant who writes you a cheque each month

It sounds like you and your husband are having the age-old debate about whether to renovate before you sell. There are many schools of thought on this issue. Over the years, I’ve seen some people do top-to-bottom renovations and others do little more than wipe the counters. Painting tops the list in terms of ROI (Return on Investment), so I’m on your side about the importance of paint.

The bold accent walls you describe lead me to believe that you’ve enjoyed decorating your home to the fullest. That is wonderful, but when you’re selling, you need to appeal to the masses. If possible, I suggest painting your home top-to-bottom in a modern, neutral tone. Ask your Realtor or stager for suggestions. If you’re going to breathe new life into your house, it’s ideal to paint and touch up everything, including the trim and doors, exterior entry doors and door frames, windows (if necessary), and exterior trim. In a perfect world, your house would be vacant when the painters arrive, but that’s not likely to happen unless you purchase a new home in advance and fully move out of your current one. The next best thing would be to declutter before you paint, so there is less to work around when the painters get started. 

Believe it or not, chipped paint on the trim around the garage door is one of the first things buyers notice when they pull into the driveway. The first impression that leaves can affect the way they perceive the rest of the home. It’s possible to sell any home in any condition, but aside from cleaning, painting and landscaping top my list of updates that make the biggest difference. Your husband is right: you could leave painting for the next guy, but an investment of a few thousand dollars now could return ten times its value. 

PRO TIP: Even if you’ve taken care of fundamentals like the furnace and roof over the years, little details like chipped paint and dirty doorknobs can leave buyers with the impression that a home has not been maintained (and your selling price can suffer). A fresh coat of paint gives buyers the sense that your home has been well kept, and entices them to give it serious consideration. #Advice #AskDavid #TheNegotiator

David is a top-selling Broker in Kitchener-Waterloo Region. He works personally with you when selling or buying your home. Call or text today for your free home evaluation! 519-577-1212.