Should sellers paint their homes before putting them on the market? If you google that question the answer is a strong and resounding YES. I also would be the first to say that there’s no quicker way to ensure a higher return on investment than to paint a house before selling it. That said, as with so many things in the business of selling real estate in the Iowa City area, there are always exceptions to the rule.
Below is a list of some of the reasons I can think of to paint a house before selling it. There’s also a much shorter list on when it may not be totally necessary to paint before putting it on the market.
Reasons to Paint Before Selling a House
- First impressions matter and a fresh coat of paint on rooms that haven’t been painted in years give them a whole new look.
- Again. First impressions matter and wallpaper needs to go!
- Fresh paint will make for much nicer photos and since most buyers “shop” for houses online, this is definitely an important factor to consider.
- Yesterday I wrote an article about the importance of cleaning and decluttering. Painting will add a clean feeling to the house and usually make it brighter too. Clean and Bright. Those are two words that buyers use a lot when they’re in the business of choosing a home to buy!
- Clean and Bright is where it starts. Fresh paint also has a pleasant smell and conjures up a certain emotional reaction in buyers, just the same as the fresh carpet does. (The Jury’s out on how good these smells actually are for us, but the fact remains most of us know what it’s like to get an emotional reaction to smells. Just think of your favorite food and you’ll know what I mean).
- Still on the subject of buyers. As a rule of thumb, they don’t want to paint when they move in. Maybe that statement doesn’t apply to every buyer, but I’ve worked with a lot of buyers and it definitely applies to the majority. (Exceptions may be buyers looking for fixer uppers or investors).
When Sellers May Not Need to Paint Before Selling a House
- The biggest reason NOT to paint is if the cost outweighs the benefits. The ROI is typically high for painting, but not guaranteed. Painting can be a cheap fix if you do it yourself, but not necessarily if you have to hire it out.
- The Iowa City real estate market is very seasonal. In spring time homes in the lower price ranges are literally flying off the shelves. A clean, well maintained home that hasn’t been painted is likely to sell just as quickly as the freshly painted one. (I got multiple offers on a couple of houses last spring to back up this statement).
- Iowa City and the surrounding areas have a strong market for buyers looking for fixer uppers and rental properties. These are definitely your less picky buyers. Sometimes it will be worth going to the extra effort of painting the house, other times it won’t.
That about wraps up my thoughts on reasons to paint a house before selling it… or not. What I’ve noticed as I’ve been writing this, is that the safer route is to paint a house before selling it. Not painting is really only an option if sellers are confident the real estate market is strong enough to ensure a quick sale anyway. It will be hard for sellers to make that call themselves. This is the bit where I tell any sellers out there that you’re best bet is to talk to a professional. Someone who understands the Iowa City area real estate market and knows how things work.
Are you getting ready to sell your home the Iowa City area? In depth knowledge of the Iowa City area real estate market means sound advice and guidance are just a phone call away. Located in Coralville, the areas I know best are Iowa City, Coralville and North Liberty, (and just lately Tiffin). Give me a call at 319-400-0268 or drop me an email – I’m here to help!