People have absolutely no imagination.
Not you, of course! But let me tell you a true story.
A friend of mine and his wife were in the market to buy a home. They fell in love with a particular neighborhood that had four models of houses. After looking at several, they narrowed it down to just two choices.
One house was a lot nicer, though similar in size. But it was also $50,000 more expensive.
They were faced with a rather tough choice.
But then they realized something strange. These two houses were exactly the same! The same layout. The same rooms, bathrooms, kitchen, family room…
So why did they seem to look so different? There were a few nice touches in the “nicer” house, like crown moulding and newer appliances. But that’s not worth an extra $50,000.
My friends bought the less expensive home. The other home did end up selling for about $50,000 more.
Want to know the single biggest reason? The color of the paint on the walls. The cheaper house was freshly painted, but with a pink “fleshy” color. The more expensive house was painted to feel elegant and upscale.
“But Eileen,” you say, “that’s not worth $50,000 either. Not even close!”
Well, you’re right. But that’s how big an impact paint can have. It can completely transform the feeling somebody gets when they walk into a house.
Why does it have such a big impact?
And do you need to paint every room? No! Keep reading for a checklist of which rooms are essential to paint and which are not.
WON’T THE NEW OWNERS JUST RE-PAINT ANYWAY?
Do you seriously need to re-paint your walls when you sell your home? I’m sure you’re thinking “Can’t these buyers figure this out themselves? I’m sure the new owners will definitely want to pick their own colors, so why bother?”
WRONG. It is my sad experience that most buyers can’t see it unless it’s right in front of them. That’s why staging has become so important. It’s not just furniture; you need to set the stage with the right wall color as well.
OK, I’LL RE-PAINT. DO I NEED TO PAINT EVERY ROOM?
No! It is absolutely not necessary to re-paint every single room. Here’s where I recommend you paint.
- Any surface with wallpaper. I’ve seen perfectly good millennial buyers quake at the thought of pulling the stuff down. It’s actually made them walk away from a house! Really. Just like every other way we’ve all dealt with this generation, you have to do it all for them. I’m not kidding. You might be able to paint right over the wallpaper. That’s what I did when I sold my home and no one was the wiser.
- The Master Bedroom and Master Bath. Play to their egos and show them how much of a sanctuary the rooms can be. These are buyers who are stressed out and want to meditate regularly, but they’re always too busy. So paint the scene for them. Especially if the room is on the small side. And throw in scads of pillows.
- The Living Room and Den. This is the center of the house, where they’ll spend the most time. Help them imagine being in that space.
- The Entryway and Hallways. First impressions matter. Create cohesion by painting these public areas. Easy to execute.
- The Kitchen. If your kitchen is outdated, paint the walls, paint the cabinets and add new door handles and pulls. If the kitchen is fairly up-to-date there’s no need.
For some strange reason, these buyers don’t care so much about the kids’ rooms. They’re small spaces and the kids will want to pick out their own colors anyway. And bathrooms seem easy to paint (remember my rule about wallpaper applies here as well).
YOU’RE BREAKING MY HEART AND MY PIGGYBANK!
Don’t hate me. It’s not that expensive.
I assure you that your home will sell for more money if you help buyers believe they don’t need to do much work after they move in. Your increased return will well exceed your investment.
I have seen homes sit sit sit when the owners insisted on keeping their favorite shade of raspberry. Don’t let this happen to you.
So — what will it cost you? It depends on the condition of your walls and how much patching needs to be done. And also depending on where you live. I’m in the Northeast, so these are my approximate numbers:
- $300 for Small Rooms
- $500 for Large Rooms
You can take it from there. The work doesn’t have to be perfection; it just can’t look messy. So hire your painter with that in mind. You might be able to save money by not using the Michaelangelo of painters.
I know this seems like much too much trouble, but you probably want to sell your home quickly and get on with it. Re-painting parts of your home is the most important thing to do.
I’M SOLD. WHAT COLORS SHOULD I USE? AVOID?
That will be the topic of my next post.