Solved! Should I Paint My House Before Selling It?

Are you wondering, “Should I paint my house before selling?” The answer depends on the shape that your interior and exterior walls are in. Consider these tips to determine what to do before selling your house.

By Melissa Graham | Published Jun 16, 2022 11:48 AM

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should i paint my house before selling


Q: I’m about to put my house on the market and wondering what updates are worth doing before listing a home for sale. Particularly, should I paint my house before selling? Is the renovation going to be worth it?

A: Even if your house is relatively new or has been painted in the last 5 years, it can definitely benefit from a fresh coat of paint. Paint trends can change quickly, and if you’ve got a few bold bedrooms or a funky exterior color, it will be worth updating before you put your home on the market. This is especially true if your paint is flaking, peeling, scuffed, or showing similar signs of wear and tear.

Several factors can determine how much your home is worth, from the updates you’ve made over time to the land’s value. But nothing can transform your space as quickly or cost-effectively as a fresh coat of paint. Whether you’re putting a neutral shade on your home’s exterior or painting over a hot-pink bathroom, the answer to “Should I paint my house before selling?” is almost always yes.

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Painting a home’s interior could raise the sale price by 1 to 3 percent. 

On the list of things to do before selling your house, painting the interior is a guaranteed way to freshen up the inside without taking on significant renovations or extra costs. Important areas to paint include trim, kitchen walls, cabinets, behind the toilet, and your main living space. Because painting is a reasonably budget-friendly change, it provides a high return on investment—sometimes as high as 107 percent—so this is a task to consider if you’re pondering what to do before listing your house. For example, if your home is valued at $400,000, a fresh coat of paint on the inside of your home could raise its value by about $20,000. That’s a fairly significant increase for a task you can likely complete in a weekend or two.

should i paint my house before selling


Those who have homes with distinct wall colors can consider repainting the walls in neutral tones. 

A baby-blue nursery or a lime-green bedroom may hold sentimental value, but those colors may turn off potential buyers. If you’re listing a house for sale, it’s wise to consider repainting certain walls in more neutral tones. Neutral paint color throughout a space can make it look larger and more cohesive. Earth tones and shades of white, gray, and beige can be especially inviting. And since the cost to paint a room is generally around $2 to $6 a square foot, this task is a fairly budget-friendly one to take on yourself or hire a pro to do for you.

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Areas with scuffed, flaking, or peeling paint could benefit from being repainted before the house goes on the market.

Chances are if you notice significant scuffing, flaking, or peeling on your walls, potential buyers will, too. You’ll want to consider repainting the area or hiring a professional painter in this instance. If you’re concerned about how much work to do before selling your house, this task can be tackled in as little as a weekend—sometimes even less.

You may also be asking, “Should I replace carpet before selling the house?” That project is much more expensive and time-consuming than buying a few buckets of paint, brushes, and rollers (or even hiring someone else to do the task for you).

should i paint my house before selling


Repainting a home’s exterior could deliver a return on investment of over 150 percent. 

Whether you decide to grab a roller and paint the house yourself or hire the job out, exterior painting is worth considering to add to the list of things to do before listing your home. First impressions and curb appeal can make a big impact on potential home buyers, so repainting the outside of your house can deliver a return on investment of up to 150 percent. Although you will pay more up front for professional painters to do the job, it could put an extra $7,500 in your pocket in added value. If you have the time and experience, exterior painting is a project you can probably take on yourself. However, if your home is multiple stories or has damage that needs to be repaired, you’re better off hiring an expert.

Fading, wood rot, and peeling are signs that you should repaint a home’s exterior. 

Even if your home’s exterior has only minor fading, wood rot, or peeling, those signs can indicate that your house isn’t well maintained, which can scare away potential buyers. The good news is that these issues can be resolved fairly quickly and without too much investment, depending on the extent of the wear and tear and how big your home is.

Before listing your home for sale, it helps to look at the state of your exterior and decide how much updating it needs. If you see fading, peeling, or wood rot in multiple places, it may be time to call an expert painter. The cost of painting your home can average between $1,747 and $4,168.

should i paint my house before selling


Consider painting the home’s exterior in clean, neutral tones that match other homes in the neighborhood. 

In some neighborhoods, you can get away with painting your house a pastel green or a deep shade of burgundy. But if the vibe of your community veers more neutral, it’s best to match the surrounding houses and paint the exterior in a similar shade. The average home buyer may not want to live in a house that sticks out like a sore thumb, so changing the outside color to a more toned-down color can increase curb appeal.

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Avoid spot touch-ups—opt to repaint entire walls or rooms. 

There can be dozens of things to do before you sell your house, which is why small touch-ups can become time-consuming and more tedious than they’re worth. If you really want to get the most bang for your buck, you’re better off repainting entire walls or rooms. Touch-ups can be hard to match or get exactly right if you don’t know the exact shade or sheen of paint used on the wall. And even if you buy the same color from the same brand in the same finish as you initially did, slight variations between batches can mean that your touch-up job may not blend perfectly with the wall around it.

Hiring a pro can save time, and you’ll likely make back your investment. 

Depending on what shape your home is in, there can be a long list of things to do before putting your house on the market. Although painting may seem like a simple task, it can become complicated or hard to complete if you’ve got high ceilings or walls with tricky angles. Furthermore, painting is tiring work that always seems easier than it really is. If you hire a professional painter, you can check other items off your to-do list while they put a few new coats on your interior or exterior. Plus, your home will be more appealing to potential buyers, and you’ll likely make back the money you spend once the house sells.

Sources: Homelight

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