Preparing Your House for Sale—to Paint or Not to Paint?

Putting your house on the market is a traumatic time. As well as the upheaval and cutting of sentimental ties, there is a lot of work to do to make your property look its best and achieve the highest possible sale price. One of the questions many people ask is "is it worth painting my house when selling?" Painting can be an expensive job, so you need to be sure it is an investment and will increase the value enough to recoup that outlay. Here are some points to consider when deciding.

How Shabby Is the Current Paint?

When you have been living somewhere for a while, it is hard to see it with fresh eyes. Washing down the walls outside and giving interior walls a good wipe will give you a better picture of their condition. Even if there is no obvious peeling, sunlight might have faded some areas and stains from cooking or smoking can be very difficult to remove. Unless you have painted within the last 2 years, a fresh coat is likely to make a dramatic difference.

Exterior, Interior or Both?

First impressions are important and the exterior of the house can sway a potential purchaser immediately. Even if the current paint is relatively recent, this is a good opportunity to update the look of the house with a contemporary colour scheme, or, if you have a traditional property, highlight any features with a tasteful two-tone effect. Equally, if the inside of the house is painted in dark colours, or in a way that strongly reflects your own taste, you might wish to consider repainting in pale neutral tones throughout. As well as making the house look lighter, it gives interested parties a chance to see the potential for their style ideas.

Painting the Whole House or Sections?

It will be cheaper if you can just paint certain sections of the house, so if whole rooms are looking respectable already, it should be fine to leave them as they are. Be wary, however, of painting just one wall in a room, or only some door frames and not others. The contrast between the old paint and the new can make the original look much worse than before. Partial areas of fresh paint also look suspicious to buyers, who are likely to ask themselves what you are hiding—is there perhaps mould or damp in those places?

Can I Find a Reliable Painter?

If you do decide to paint, you will need to find a painting company you can trust. Even if a friend or your estate agent can recommend one, be sure to ask for quotes from a couple more for comparison. Commercial painters (such as BlackSilver) will often do residential work too, so if you know a good one, don't be afraid to ask them if they would consider the job.

One last tip to remember—the painting will need to be completed not just for the open inspections, but for the brochure photos too, so allow plenty of time!