How to Tell If You Should Repaint Your House Before Selling It

Marice Phelipe

How to Tell If You Should Repaint Your House Before Selling It

Repainting your home is one of those projects that can create some hemming and hawing: on one hand, the new paint would make the exterior or interior of your home pop and might boost the selling price. On the other hand, because it is a comparatively small project and the prospective buyers might have their own plans for wall colors, it can feel like a waste of time or money.

So what should tip the scales in your particular case? Here are some ways to consider your circumstances and decide whether repainting is worthwhile, driven by the insights of real estate agents around the country.

Consider Local Housing Stock

A big way to make your decision is whether your home is competing against homes with nicer, newer paint than yours or if most of the other homes for sale also have a similar level of wear on the paint. If a buyer is looking at three or four comparable properties in similar price ranges but only one of them (yours) hasn’t had a new coat of paint, you may really lose out. However, if your paint still looks pretty good, and looks better than all the other homes available nearby, adding new paint to an already-nicer-than-average wall may not get you much of a boost when you go to sell.

Consider Your Options and Costs 

ROI on a new coat of paint is often quite good, but it isn’t 100% because paying someone to paint can end up costing quite a bit, especially for a whole-house job. If you have access to someone who will paint well for a good price, or if you have the skill and inclination to paint the house yourself, you have a better chance of seeing a high ROI than if you have to pay a professional the full market rate. 

Gather Data on Past Home Sales With and Without New Paint

Using real estate tools that your top real estate agent can help you navigate, take a look at some very recent sales in your area. Did these homes have fresh paint or paint that looks as good or better than yours? If you see a home that you’re surprised went for as much money as it did, check that home for new paint – maybe it was part of helped them get a higher offer. 

The Bigger the Difference In Looks, The Bigger the Value

A key feature of your painting choice is how bad the paint looks now. There are many times when older paint hasn’t really chipped and doesn’t look bad at all, making the difference between old and new quite small. However, if your exterior paint, for example, has experienced a lot of damage from dirt, moss, or weather and is very clearly in need of a paint job, the boost from new paint will be a lot more. Obviously, there’s a continuum of wear-and-tear, but assume that the worse damage you have on your home’s paint, the more likely you’ll see positive value growth from repainting.

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