Maggie Hernandez recalls a Realtor telling her sister-in-law that she had to get rid of many of her personal items in order to sell her home. But the realtor was even more adamant that the sister-in-law update the interior paint colors throughout her house. In fact 94 percent of all agents recommend a fresh coat of paint for their clients’ homes.
And why is painting your house in order to sell your home so important? How about a major return on investment! According to HomeGain’s Prepare to Sell 2009 national survey, the average price to paint interior walls is $500 to $750, but that increases a home price by an average of $1,500 to $2,000 — which can be a 250 percent return on investment.
The Basic Rule of Thumb
It’s necessary to remove all the personal touches you’ve made within your home in an effort to make the place as impersonal as possible when staging your home for sale. A neutral-colored palette, without all the clutter, helps potential buyers envision how their personal taste can be implemented into the house.
A bright red accent wall, or your teenager’s black-walled bedroom, needs to be painted over in order to sell. “Beiges, warm beiges and yellows are great choices for wall color and making a space look more impersonal,” says Maggie Hernandez, a seasoned home stager and realtor with RPI International, Inc. “Wallpaper is a deal-breaker, paint is your ally. Neutralize the color palette throughout the home and neutral doesn’t mean white.”
Karen Dembsky, president of Peachtree Home Staging LLC and Georgia’s Real Estate Staging Association, as well as a Pro Stager of the Year nominee, has the first and most important piece of advice before even tackling the issue of color.
“A seller should always make sure that their paint has a fresh appeal, no dings, no marks. If there are any, it should be repainted or touched up because it gives the feeling of a well-maintained home,” she said. “The color has to be livable and appealing, you want a color where the buyer will come in and say that it’s not their first choice but they can live with it.”
Repainting the Kitchen
Going room by room and making the correct decision on colors is vital and Dembsky gives her take on the best approach for each one. In the kitchen it’s good to stay in the orange, red and yellow families. These work well because they’re food related, but it’s important to still make them soft, appealing and neutral, and keep them in the suggested food group colors. “In the kitchen, these colors will fly but keep these tips in mind to make them work well,” she says.
Repainting the Bathroom
In the bathroom paint must be light, because the room tends to be smaller, and a darker color would just make it more so. One way to infuse color into the room is through accessories like soaps or towels. But for the walls, keep it in the light yellows or tans. Perhaps you can pick up colors from the tile floors, but if the floors are hardwood then it’s best to stick with neutral tones.
Repainting the Bedroom
In the bedroom it’s also especially important to stay away from bright colors, since this room is viewed as a sanctuary, so choose something very neutral that will work with the flooring and also flow into the master bathroom. Bed and bath colors do not have to be the same but definitely must flow.
Repainting the Home Office
The only spot where warmer, richer colors are welcomed is in the home office, where cinnamon, dark brown or even dark blue are welcome — these colors make the space an area in which to work and relax.
Repainting Other Areas of the Home
Other paint suggestions to help sell your home include salmon-hued paints – they make people’s skin color look good. A very pale beige with a blue tone is very tranquil while a beige tone with a green tint that gives off energy and both are good choices for the living room.
And don’t forget about the great outdoors and your garage. In the patio area it’s not necessary to paint but do ensure that the decks and patios are pressure washed and fresh looking. For your basement and garage paint is also important. Paint the concrete floor and warm up these otherwise cold spaces with a warm neutral color like gold.
The Color to Avoid
Surprisingly, white is the color to avoid. Both Hernandez and Dembsky agree: When painting to help sell your house, the color white is not your ally. “The biggest mistake people make is painting their house entirely white inside thinking it’s a neutral color. It’s not, it’s a bright color,” Dembsky explains.