FAQ: Is It Worth Painting a House Before Selling?

The decision to sell your house may have been a tough one to make, especially if it’s where you raised your children, entertained family and friends, celebrated birthdays and anniversaries, and helped loved ones overcome loss. Leaving a home—your home—that you’ve lived in and loved for years can be painful.  

Of course, moving on can be a joyful experience, too. You may be ready to make a change, get married, retire, or downsize.

Unfortunately, your mixed emotions don’t stop there. The place you’ve called home for two years or twenty probably needs some work. Most homes do. And, you may wonder if you made just a few minor repairs—like painting the exterior or interior—if you might get a better price. You may be asking yourself questions like: Is it worth painting a house before selling? What are the hidden costs involved? And, can a simple change help to sell my house faster and for more money? That’s what we’ll explore.

Is It Worth Painting a House Before Selling?

Even when a home needs several repairs, changing a few details—like interior or exterior color schemes—may go a long way towards attracting buyers, encouraging offers, and selling the house at a decent price. 

And, if a new paint job is all that’s needed, buyers may feel they’ve hit the jackpot when they see bright, clean walls free of scuff marks, discoloration caused by the sun or smoke, and water spots. 

But, before you get too excited, keep in mind that there are many hidden costs to painting a home that many sellers often discover they’re not prepared for until after they’ve already started painting. So, before you open a paint can of worms, consider the following:

Hidden Costs to Painting a Home

Prepping your house takes serious time and money. The to-do list is long and the costs can run deep when it comes to prepping a home for a paint job. And, that applies to both exterior and interior walls. At the bare minimum, you’ll need to accomplish, or arrange for, the completion of the tasks below. 

  • Trimming and clearing tree branches, bushes, and flowers away from your home is necessary for prepping, painting, and removing interferences. 
  • Covering or moving interior furniture, taping off trim, and removing wall decorations keeps these items from getting stained or ruined.
  • Cleaning the exterior and/or interior wall space from top to bottom wherever you intend to paint is a must or the paint may not adhere. 
  • Scraping away old paint and caulking any cracks or holes after you clean is critical as well to ensure level paint adhesion and a smooth surface afterward. 
  • Smoothing out rough sections with a sander—and, possibly, sanding some spots by hand—will be important for maintaining evenly painted walls, too.
  • Adding primer to seal off surfaces and prevent paint bleed-through is crucial. 
  • Hiring a professional to clean, prepare, and paint your home—unless you’re already equipped with the tools, supplies, and skill set to tackle these labor-intensive chores yourself—will certainly be costly.

COSTS: Hiring a pro will cost you an average of $50/hourranging from a few to several thousand dollars per project and can take a week or more to accomplish. 

  • Finding another place to stay while your home is being prepped and painted, and the fumes are subsiding, is an inconvenience, but staying is not good for your health.

COSTS: A typical double occupancy room in California costs $186/night

More serious, time-consuming, and expensive issues are often uncovered that may have to be dealt with before selling. Common problems include:

  • Mold. The discovery of mold (and the leak that caused it) can lead to health issues, so remediation is critical and can last from one day to many weeks. 

COSTS: Upwards of $5,000, which doesn’t include leak or plumbing repair.

  • Rotting wood. A sign of lingering moisture, and sometimes a fungal infection, rotting wood needs to be repaired or replaced before painting. 

COSTS: A few thousand dollars depending on the damage. 

  • Termites. Since a termite infestation not only harms the wood used in your house but can lead to costly and dangerous structural damage, once termites are found—your home should be treated.

COSTS: $200 to $2,500 to rid your home of termites. 

  • Foundation damage. Cracks in the wall often indicate foundation damage and warrant further investigation when you find them. If foundation damage is found, you can expect repairs to take anywhere from two days to several weeks. 

COSTS: Between $4,000-$10,000 on the low end to up to $100,000 for major work. 

Retails Costs and Time

Costs for repairs uncovered in painting your home can range well into many thousands of dollars. Of course, you can choose not to perform repairs if and when any of these issues are found. But, that can cost you as well. Traditional buyers may expect a huge discount when they have to correct big problems themselves—if they make an offer at all. 

Even if you accomplish the bare minimum of painting your home, there’s still the time that is involved.

Most can be done in a day; but, collectively, these items can take up to a week or months to finish.

So, Can You Gain More By Not Painting?

As an alternative to painting your house—or performing any repairs for that matter—you could, instead, sell your home as-is. In this case, many traditional homebuyers won’t want the expense of buying a fixer-upper. Even for those who do, their lender may not loan on a house that needs extensive work.

But, cash buyers are a different story—especially one who makes fair, fast, direct offers to their clients without charging fees or requiring inspections. More often than not, these buyers have both the knowledge and the experience to take on homes that need a little work—or a lot. And, they want to because it’s their business to. 

Plus, once you tally up the time and money you’ll have to spend not only painting your home, but on cleaning, staging, and marketing—not to mention the cost of real estate commission, escrow, and title fees—a cash buyer may actually be able to put more net cash in your pocket. At the very least, it could be worth your time to contact a local buyer to find out for sure

It Is Worth Your Time to Get an As-Is Cash Offer

If you’re still on the fence about what you should do, we get it. Here at Sell Your House Direct, we’ve been working with sellers struggling with tough decisions for almost two decades. And, believe it or not, trying to determine if it’s worth painting a house before selling it is a problem. When you start to consider all that goes into painting—including repair work that isn’t obvious from the outset as well as the amount of time you’ll likely have to spend—the right choice isn’t necessarily evident, either. 

To help tackle this problem, we provide a net sheet that accounts for all of your potential costs. Then, we contrast your actual returns from selling, after all is said and done, with the highest as-is cash offer you can expect to receive. The result may surprise you. What may surprise you more is that, sometimes, we’re not your best option. But, because we strive first and foremost to be your trusted real estate advisor—we’ll find you the right solution, and if that’s us, you’ll have fast cash and the problem of your house off your hands.

To get an offer today on your unpainted house, fill out our contact form or call us at 760-566-7716. We’ll work to make it worth your time because we value your time.