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Should I Paint Before I Sell?

Recently, I received a call from a client's daughter to come out and look at her father's home. Her father had died, and she was going to sell the Mission Hills Crafstman home. This was a home that my grandfather, Milton Chism, had painted probably during the 1960's. The paint job still looked good, but it was an old home in need of some basic repairs and color changes. She asked my opinion about painting, and I suggested that she leave the home as it was. While it would have been a large project for us, I had several reasons why I thought she should hold off.The cost for doing a thorough paint job on an old Craftsman-style home, just to sell it, would be steep. The home has not changed much over the years, so I suggested that the buyer would either like the home the way it is or would make drastic changes to the home. My second reason was that a buyer may see and smell fresh paint and wonder what the seller is hiding or ask the question, "Why did the seller paint?" A seller will not necessarily get a better price for an older home unless he or she performs a complete restoration. Another question that has come up from time to time if a seller decides to paint is, "Should I paint my home a standard off-white color or have multiple colors?" My suggestion would be to leave the home the color that it is. Unless, of course, you have bright and bold colors that would detract from the beauty of the home, I would leave the paint colors alone. There are other exceptions, but this has been my experience. It does not seem that putting a lot of color on the walls or changing to neutral colors will change the pricing of a house or disuade people from buying it. However, many realtors seem to recommend painting or just touch-up. If you do decide to paint before selling or do a quick "touch-up" around the home, make sure the painting is done very well. This is crucial. I can't tell you how many times I have seen homes that were just sold and the buyer is complaining about the horrible paint job. Do not hire a contractor who specializes in quick touch-ups. Some realtors want to do a quick sale (typically with good intentions) and suggest cheap painting companies who can do the work quickly and cheap. When we are hired for doing touch-ups for a seller, we highly recommend using the proper preparation and painting the area completely whether it is a bedroom, baseboard, door, mantel, etc. It shows the buyer that you care about your property and did not cut corners just to sell your home. If you do decide to paint your home before you sell or need a few good touch-ups, consider our Painter For a Day program. One final tip if you do paint to sell: plan ahead! Good paint companies may not always be available last minute to schedule your project.
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