Should You Paint before You Sell Your Home?

Mar 4, 2020

So you want to sell your house! Should you paint before you list? You need to take a good honest walk through your home and pretend you have your favourite HGTV personality looking over your shoulder. Seriously! I know it sounds silly, but we get blind to the things we see everyday. I can’t tell you how often people notice things they hadn’t noticed before when doing a walk-through with me as a painting consultant – just because they are looking at it through my eyes instead of the usual auto pilot.

Pretend you’re giving a tour – what do you highlight, what do you apologize for. Pay attention, take notes. Or better yet, dictate your ‘tour’ into the voice recorder on your phone. You will naturally gush about the things you love and apologize for those maintenance items left unfinished or the project you knew would be amazing but never started. You will see your home through new eyes. And the answer to the question ‘Should I paint?’ will be more obvious.

Here are some things you should pay special attention to as it will very likely be picked up by any house buyer in the Calgary market.  You want your home to stand out in the realtor listings Painting your walls and maybe even your cabinets, can be an important part of that.

Previous damage

Did your tub overflow last year leaving an ugly stain on the living room ceiling? Did the door knob go through the drywall? Are there scrapes on the wall from where your teenager moved to the basement?

We get used to these things and they become visual background noise till we just don’t see them anymore.

Trust me when I say, your buyer will see them – all of them. It will create an ever growing list of ‘things I have to do if I buy this house’. This isn’t a good thing – it doesn’t take long in a competitive market before the list causes the buyer to put your house in the ‘too much work’ column and move on.

There’s also the issue of raising flags that shouldn’t really be there. Sure, you know that the living room stain on the ceiling was from the tub, but how does your buyer know it isn’t a slow plumbing leak that hasn’t been rectified. Scars left over from previous repairs should be cleaned up completely. Painting can help with that 90% of the time.

Hide nasty odors

You know that friend that tells you when you still have the size sticker stuck to your jeans or that you need a breath mint? Invite them over, you need someone comfortable with uncomfortable honesty for this one.

Every home has its own scent. It might be residual cooking smells, pets, smoking, hockey bags, even too much incense or air fresheners. Over time we lose the ability to perceive how our home smells simply because we get used to it.

I once had an apartment which was lovely but filled with the scent of the previous tenants love of cooking curry and smoking pot. A well traveled hippy, the landlord said. I don’t know how I missed it when I viewed the place – perhaps the assault to my nose from the chemicals in the carpet cleaning, still damp during my viewing. But once I moved in, my place was a symphony of smells. Some pleasant, some not so much – but all together were nasty. So, what did I do? I bought air fresheners. To me, as I got used to the other smells, the place now smelled like lavender. But to my guests it smelled like lavender, pot and curry. It wasn’t until I painted the ceilings and walls that I was able to regain control of how my new abode smelled to my guests.

A buyer will want a fresh and clean but neutral smell. How many times have we heard a new car owner rave about the new car smell? Your buyer will love a new house smell just the same. And painting is the sure-fire way to get you there.

Make everything look clean and new

Even a dated 70’s home can be dramatically updated using only a fresh coat of paint. All the years of wear and tear will disappear from your walls and the 70’s colour choices will melt into a new modern vibe. Kitchen cabinets too can be updated with paint. (This definitely needs to be done professionally – but that’s another blog post!) Imagine the difference a potential buyer will not only see but feel when they enter your home with new modern colours plus having your walls and trim in like new condition. You will have removed the to do list from their minds, erased numerous objections and likely placed your home in their mind as a place they could see themselves living.

Paint is a magic eraser for smells and a whole lot of ugly and a magic wand for modernizing and updating your Calgary home. What else could you possible do for the resale value of your home that solves more problems while being incredibly cost effective? Painting is hands down the number one thing you can do for your home to increase value and secure a faster sale.

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