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Should I Paint Before I List My House For Sale?

One of the primary roles of a Realtor is to counsel on what work a seller should or should undertake before listing a house for sale. Like most things, it is often a matter of opinion or a “cost versus value” proposition. Each year the National Association of Realtors puts out an article discussing just that. When it comes to painting interiors, the answer is Realtor Beige. The further your are from a neutral, nonwhite color, the more likely we are going to recommend paint if there is any question of its condition (note that there is no beige in our house other than in the basement). Why? It’s non-confrontational. Some consider white too stark. Some like bright colors that others hate.

Harrison_plaid_wall

It’s probably fair to say that I came up with this post in order to find a use for this picture of the dining room in the house that we bought last year. Someone spent a lot of time doing a very good job of painting something that most of us might not find so appealing. For better or worse, it’s now Realtor Beige.

It was on the market from Sept. ’05 – Apr. ’06 in a hot neighborhood. Do you think the paint had anything to do with it?

One more important question: are you a good painter? I thought I was until I paid a professional. I know now that I am an acceptable painter and “showroom” quality is either beyond my skillset or paitence.

5 Comments on “Should I Paint Before I List My House For Sale?

  1. “It was on the market from Sept. ’05 – Apr. ’06 in a hot neighborhood. Do you think the paint had anything to do with it?”

    No, I think it was price.

  2. Oh, and one more comment realted to a past commenter:

    “One more important question: are you a good painter? I thought I was until I paid a professional. I know now that I am an acceptable painter and “showroom” quality is either beyond my skillset or paitence.”

    One of the past commenters suggested she had a “boyfriend” who could “pass government inspection.” We never heard why she believed her boyfriend could do the work better than a true professional. That being said, I think she was suggesting that she had a very good cost-benefit ratio. I am sure the boyfriend has the ‘necessary tools of the trade.’

    In any event, what do you think has a better cost-benefit ratio: hiring a professional or DIY. Of course I always consider the full economic cost.

  3. Yes, it is a cost/benefit analysis. If I can do 80% of the quality of work myself for 20% of the cost. This is especially true if my income is low. It is better to Do-It-Yourself (DIY).

    Fortunately for me, the boyfriend that was able to pass inspection does a great job – on his OWN house, mind you. Inspection meant permitting for electrical, plumbing, and HVAC. I estimate he did about $90,000 worth of work as I compare to neighbors who did an overall upgrade of the same amount. So if it takes, say, 6 months – full time – that is pretty good pay for something that cost about $15,000 total in materials. $75k for 6 months of work while only earning about 1/3 of that in a real job is what I call a good decision.

  4. Dickey47-

    It sounds like you have already decided that the repair work was “what you call a good decision.”

    Are you only seeking for confirmation?

    In any event, let’s just consider this claim:

    “If I can do 80% of the quality of work myself for 20% of the cost. This is especially true if my income is low.”

    If your income is ‘low,’ then I would suggest that there is a lot of risk here. Low income and quality construction generally are not associated with each other. Also, I don’t suggest that anyone who has ‘low income’ to even consider trying to fix and sell. In fact, I very much doubt that your $90,000 is accurate, but I could be wrong.

    One thing that is clear: You do not have much knowledge or experience in business. There is more than one way to get experience or education.

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