Painting the Interior of Your House Before Selling

paint the interior of your houseI was so broke when I painted the interior of my first house that I used printer’s ink instead of paint. I had access to three containers of printer’s ink in red, blue and yellow, so I did what any normal kid in 1967 would do. I painted the ceiling blue and mixed the yellow and red to do the walls. The problem with that was I did not mix enough orange so after I finished 3 walls, I ran out of “paint.” I also did not mix the colors proportionately so I could not duplicate the color. Not to mention, I did not own the home, which meant my landlord forced me to repaint prior to vacating. Have you ever tried to cover up deep blue printer’s ink?

There are consequences if you mess up painting the interior of your house. Especially if you ever want to sell that home. While it is true that you should paint your home the colors you love, if you’re gonna go all hog wild, then you’ll have to repaint before you sell or you’ll pay for it in the sales price the buyer will offer.

It’s not cheap to hire painters. A professional painter will charge you $300 to $500 or more per room. This means many people decide to paint their home as a do-it-yourself project. They think: how hard can it be to hold a paint brush? First, it’s hard to paint a straight line and tape will rip the paint off your walls. Second, you can streak the walls, end up with bubbles, dirt in the paint, raise the hair of the surface you are painting and / or splash paint everywhere, not to mention you can step in it or, worse, your cats can step in it and track painted pawprints on your furniture.

The only thing worse than that is to paint the interior of your house the wrong color. Today, white is out. Neutral colors are in. It’s what we call “coffee and cream.” Builder neutral eggshell is not very pretty but it sure beats bright purple.

Not every wall has a straight corner these days, either. You look at homes in Natomas or Elk Grove subdivisions, and all of the corners are rounded. If you want to transition colors between rooms, you need to figure out how to draw a straight line at the corner. Let’s just say very few people can do it. In fact, I haven’t seen one, and I’ve sold a lot of homes in Natomas and Elk Grove.

When I was growing up in the 1950s, all of our neighbors painted the interiors of their homes the same colors. Green was the color of choice for the living room. It was calming and peaceful. Plus, when my brother’s chameleon escaped from his cage, you couldn’t find the critter because that slimy amphibian would blend right into the walls. Our one bathroom was pink. Pink towels, pink toilet cover, pink rugs and pink four-inch tile matched the pink walls. The kitchen was a cheery yellow to compliment our yellow formica-and-chrome kitchen table. My brother’s bedroom was boringly blue, my parent’s bedroom was earthy and brown, and the girls’ bedroom was lavender. Every room was a different color.

Those colors are disastrous today. Before you put your home on the market, ask your Sacramento real estate agent if you should repaint. Ask me, I’ll give it to you straight and tell you whether that bright red wall in the dining room needs to be a different color.

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