When people sell their homes, they want to get the best price possible. Maintaining the property is an excellent way to do this. But, home repairs can be expensive, and investing in a property can be risky. Painting is a perfect way to spruce up your house and give it a more modern feel, but should you paint your home before selling?

Painting both the interior and exterior of your home is a good idea if the cost outweighs the risk. Painting can increase the value of your home by adding curb appeal, brightening up dark rooms, and giving your home a clean, modern feel.

Pro: Painting Is a Relatively Inexpensive Upgrade

When it comes to home repairs, painting is one of the least expensive options. If you have an older house, painting can be a way to make the house appear more modern without having to spend a small fortune replacing fixtures, replacing kitchen cabinets, remodeling bathrooms, replacing flooring etc.

For example, replacing kitchen cabinets could cost anywhere from $100 to $1,200 a linear foot. Alternatively, painting the same cabinets might cost you $30 to $60 a linear foot or $75 to $150 per cupboard. The room gets the face-lift it needs, and you save a hefty sum of money.

You can use paint to liven up any room in the house, not just the kitchen, by painting things such as:

  • Shelving units
  • Radiators
  • Corner cabinets
  • Bookcases
  • Shelves in pantries and closets
  • Old fireplace surrounds
  • Mantles
  • Vanity cabinets

Con: People Might Not like Overly Customized Spaces

While painting can be a great way to give your home a more modern feel, be careful not to over-customize the space. Everyone has their likes and dislikes, and what looks nice to you might be a point of contention for a potential buyer.

Avoid bright or bold colors, especially ones not often seen in a room, such as bright pink, orange, green, purple, or red. Instead, stick with neutral colors like white, beige, cream, or gray. If the interior design begs for color, use light shades that are easy to cover in the future should a new owner want to.

Pro: Painting Gives Buyers a Blank Canvas

As mentioned, overly customized rooms can sometimes make or break a sale. When potential buyers walk into a house, they want to see themselves living in that space. If that space has bright pink walls, and they don’t care for pink, it will be difficult for the buyer to see themselves living in that room.

By painting the walls a neutral color, you give potential buyers a blank canvas. It will be much easier for them to imagine themselves cooking in the kitchen or snuggling up with their significant other in the living room. Plus, neutral colors can often brighten up a room, making it look larger and compensating for the lack of natural sunlight.

Your choice of color will depend on your home and the surrounding environment. Residential painting companies can offer ideas for each room based on the room’s characteristics. Additionally, you can ask your real estate agent which colors tend to sell best in your area.

Pro: Painting Can Increase Your Homes Curb Appeal

Curb appeal might not seem like a big deal, but it’s vital when trying to sell a house. Your home’s exterior sets the tone for the rest of the place, and buyers often make judgments about a house before ever having stepped inside.

In addition to attracting interested buyers, curb appeal can increase the value of your property. In fact, according to a study by Michigan State University, putting significant effort into the exterior condition of your home and lawn can increase the value of your house by up to 5-11%.

Chipped, cracked, or peeling paint and areas where the wood has begun to rot might signal a lack of maintenance to buyers. These signs of neglect might cause them to wonder if other things will also need work.

Luckily, depending on the size of your home, you can increase the curb appeal of your property in a week or less. Additionally, many professional residential painters can replace areas where wood rot has occurred. It will cost a bit more but can prevent severe structural damage in the future.

If you don’t have the money to invest in re-painting your entire home, there are still some inexpensive ways to increase your home’s value with exterior paint. You can spruce up the exterior of your home by painting:

  • Exterior doors
  • Fences
  • Stairs and porches
  • Shutters or window boxes
  • Exterior trim
  • Mailbox posts
  • Light fixtures
  • Garage doors

Pro: Painting Gives Homes a New, Clean Feeling

Whether shopping for furniture, a car, or a new home, people tend to favor things that look new and clean. Painting is a cost-effective way to give your home that “like-new” vibe.

Even clean homes accumulate dirt and grime, which becomes more apparent when the house is empty. There may be outlines left behind where pictures once hung or scuff marks where furniture rubbed. High-traffic areas become more noticeable when a home is vacant as well.

Interior paint can cover these marks and give a blotchy wall a more uniform look—giving the room a fresh, clean feeling.

In addition to giving your home an overall clean feeling, painting can help mask unpleasant smells. Since buyers may be sensitive to the smell of pets or smoke, pet owners and smokers should consider painting the interior of their homes to help mask any residual or lingering odors.

Con: Painting Cannot Fix Other Property Downfalls

Although painting is a great way to increase the value of your home without spending a ton of money, it might not offset other significant problems with the property.

When significant problems exist (such as a property located in a bad neighborhood or sandwiched between two busy highways), investing money becomes risky because you may not get it back. If you believe your property might be challenging to sell, speak with your real estate agent before investing in home repairs.

Should I Paint My Home Before Selling?

There are many fantastic reasons to consider painting your home’s interior and exterior before listing it on the market. Painting can increase the curb appeal of your property, brighten up dingy or dark rooms, modernize outdated design trends, and give your home a cleaner feel.

However, there may be times when investing money into a property isn’t a good idea. Before infusing cash into your home, speak with your real estate agent. They can assist you in determining if you will get a return on your investment or if repairs will help increase the value of your home.


Behe, B., Hardy, J., Barton, S., Brooker, J., Fernandez, T., Hall, C., … & Schutzki, R. (2005). Landscape plant material, size, and design sophistication increase perceived home value. Journal of Environmental Horticulture, 23(3), 127-133.