No matter how much you rearrange or decorate a room, nothing affects appearance like a fresh coat of paint. When you enter a house, your eye may be drawn to little decorative touches, but all the staging in the world will fall flat if your paint is drab, dirty, or goes against the potential buyer’s taste. Considering that a gallon of paint is only about $25, it’s also an inexpensive way to give your home a makeover.
Choosing Colors to Appeal to Homebuyers
Using colors that make the buyer feel “at home” will help you sell your home more quickly. You want them to look at each room and be able to literally see themselves and their belongings fitting inside your walls. Inspire a feeling of peace and relaxation, and part of the sale is already done!
Neutrals and soft colors create a soothing, calm atmosphere. Homebuyers can more easily visualize the paint colors they want when other colors aren’t bombarding them at every glance.
Avoid bold, vibrant or dark colors. Even pure white can prove overwhelming. Stay away from trendy colors no matter how good they look to you.
Keep in mind color psychology. Not only do certain colors calm you, but the shade can also affect the room itself. Light colors make a space appear larger. Dark colors, on the other hand, make the room feel smaller. Of course, sometimes a darker color is good if you want a certain effect. A cozy den with a darker color and a bright, cheery kitchen with a lighter color may work best to highlight each room’s appeal.
Even with neutrals, you still have a variety of colors to choose from. Off-white is a popular, all-purpose color, but it’s not the only one. Beige, tan, eggshell and ecru are other colors that work well with almost any style. But your choices range even further: pale shades of blue, green, yellow and gray, for instance, can blend with the house and complement the room. Aim for colors that don’t overpower the room or furnishings. Keep the color variations to a minimum to lend a sense of continuity to the house. If every room is a different color, it can prove overwhelming. It’s much better to pick two or three colors to use throughout the house.
Take the time to paint properly. Mask off areas that will be left unpainted. Throw down floor and furniture coverings to ensure you don’t create damage during the process. Most importantly, prep the wall properly.
You may wish to spread a primer first to block bold colors. If the walls don’t require color or stain blocking, sanding the walls slightly or washing with a solution of trisodium phosphate are other options. Both sanding and washing with TSP will remove dirt, oils and other contaminants that prevent the color from adhering well and looking good.
While you paint, take time and care to cut in the corners and avoid drips. Aim for the best paint job of your life – it will be worth it when the buyers sign on the dotted line!
If you can’t afford to repaint your entire house, concentrate on a few select areas. The first room the buyer enters is the place to start – remember, first impressions count! Consider painting cupboards, trim and doors along with key rooms. Let your instincts guide you. Look around at other homes for ideas. If your home has a “parade of homes” that local builders showcase, you can glean a lot of tips in a short amount of time.
With a minimum investment, a little time and elbow grease, it shouldn’t take long for you to have your home ready for its next owner.