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Should A Home Be Painted Before Selling?

Dear Phyllis,
I have been a loyal reader of your “Dear Abby-like” advice for years. My father, who lived in Salem, Oregon, recently passed. My sister and I are co-trustees, but she will take the lead on the sale as she lives in Salem. I flew up to help her sort through everything, and she is working on finding a Realtor. The Realtor she interviewed suggested just getting the home cleaned and trimming some shrubs in the front. I think the house should at least be painted. Do you believe a home should always be freshly painted before selling?
Ann L.

Dear Ann,
Thank you for being a loyal reader! It was great that you could make the trip North to assist your sister in going through your father’s belongings. That’s a challenging task, and it is good that you did it together. I agree that, at minimum, a home should always be professionally cleaned. I think it’s essential that you can see the house when a professional photographer shoots the front photos. Trimming is often necessary as overgrown shrubs and trees can get in the way.
Not being privy to the condition of your father’s home, it’s difficult for me to assess whether it should be painted. Sometimes cosmetic changes such as a fresh coat of paint can make the home more attractive. In some instances, it can cause other defects to become more glaring. Let’s assume the house has outdated flooring; in this case, a fresh coat of paint will only make the flooring look even worse. It also depends on the age and condition of the mechanical systems. For example, suppose the heating, plumbing, and electrical are outdated. In that case, a fresh coat of paint gives a buyer unrealistic expectations, which can be a big issue when the buyer is doing inspections.
I suggest you have a Zoom meeting or conference call with your sister and the Realtor and ask why she doesn’t believe a fresh coat of paint is necessary. Then you and your sister can make the right decision.

Best of luck with your sale.