I was visiting some clients last week to advise them about readying their house to potentially sell. They wanted advice about any work I might recommend they do before listing it. The house is a well-kept single-floor home (ranch-style), with some very nice attributes: wider hallways (custom designed to accommodate a wheelchair) which creates a sense of spaciousness often missing from certain houses of that era; a master suite (uncommon in many ranch style homes), a large eat-in kitchen, a dining/living room, two wooden decks and a semi-finished basement. The house was built in the 60's - so some of the original wallpaper has not held up, stylistically-speaking. The bathrooms and kitchen are somewhat dated, but, overall the house is lovely, it has a sense of being well-built and spacious. The thing that struck me most, on this second visit to the house, was how refreshed the kitchen and baths looked from the first time I had visited. And to what could I attribute this fresh new look? A few coats of paint!
Even though as realtors we come across this all the time, I am still so amazed a what a huge difference a freshly painted room can make. A room with a dingy paint job, or with cracks in the paint, conveys a message akin to "this house requires a great deal of work to take care of, and the owners have been too overwhelmed to stay on top of it" (or some such notion). The truth is, we tend to become comfortable with our surroundings and don't always notice when a paint job has run it's course. By the same token, if you are preparing your house to put on the market, a complete renovation of a kitchen or bathroom won't necessarily equal the same increase in value or profit when you go to sell. Whereas, less expensive measures such as cleaning windows, decluttering and organizing, a very thorough overall house cleaning, a yard cleared of debris, and freshly painted walls (usually best in neutral colors vs. dark or bright colors) can go a long way towards conveying a message of "home sweet home" to prospective buyers.
So, look closely at your walls. Are there small handprints placed at kid-level throughout the house? Has the paint around your framed artwork and photos faded? Are there cracks in the paint? If so, it may be time to start thinking about repainting - one room at a time!