Painting Your Home to Sell it in the Toronto Resale Market

It must drive some Real Estate agents crazy. They have the buyers, and they have to show them the home of their dreams. They take their clients to home after home, hoping to find the right one. The problem is, some of these homes are not very tastefully decorated, the paint on the walls looks dirty, paint is flaking, there are cracks everywhere and that high gloss avocado green in the kitchen looks a bit dated. The term used to describe it would be: “It doesn’t show well.”

Paint – List – Sell!

Painting a home before selling should be a no brainer. First impressions are everything, especially in Real Estate. While it is important to have a home in good structural repair, located within a good community and priced right, it is also critical for a home buyer to like the look and feel of the home. Being a realtor is a demanding job, running from pillar to post to get that listing up. If that’s not enough, trying to get a buyer to choose the house of their dreams is another process. One that does ultimately result in something worthwhile. In a seller’s market you are struggling to get listings. In a buyer’s market, curb appeal and decor is essential to make the home stand out from the competition.

Imagine showing house after house, with peeling paint, dull ceilings, cracks everywhere and interiors that look dated. Now, how are you going to sell a home like that? The industry term for this scenario is: “It doesn’t show well.”

It is likely that a buyer will ask questions about maintenance, the appliances, how old the property is, about the neighbourhood and so on. But all these factors are not more important than the first impression or feeling that a buyer has about a home. If a home needs to be sold promptly and with minimum hassle, it is necessary to pay attention to its upkeep. And one of the most cost effective ways to do that is through a good quality painting job.

This is probably one of the main reasons why realtors and sellers alike are choosing to paint their homes and spend on staging costs. Why? Because a small investment like that can pay off huge returns. In fact, real estate studies indicate that buyers arrive at a decision about a house within seconds of pullinfg up to the curb. Therefore, a good interior and exterior paint job will have a huge role to play in boosting your home’s value.

The Best R.O.I. when Renovating

Renovations and painting before listing

With house prices in the Greater Toronto Area rising, it is now even more important to enhance the curb appeal. From Forest Hill, Rosedale and North York, to million dollar condos on the Harbourfront, homes are getting decorated to prepare for the sale.

According to the Canadian Housing and Mortgage Corporation (CMHC), the following are the home renovations with the greatest payback potential:

  • Bathroom renovation (75 – 100%)
  • Kitchen renovation (75 – 100%)
  • Painting home interior (50 – 100%)

Painting does remain to be one of the most cost-friendly ways to make your home more show well. A fresh coat of paint is the makeup an older home needs to look appealing to potential buyers and present a clean/well-maintained look.

Sellers have begun to invest in painting and staging costs to speed up sales. So, it is important that you pick the right paint and colour to make your house stand out. Choosing colour can be pain point for many. A wrong shade or two can completely turn off buyers. You don’t want a plain ‘Builder’s Beige’ to get in the way of a sale. So, what do you do? Painting professionals and realtors often recommend the use of warm neutral colours. These appeal to a large number of people and suit most buyers’ colour preferences. Ultimately, they are looking for a home that is as ‘move-in ready’ for them as it is ‘sale ready’ for you.

In the off chance that you as a seller are still occupying the house you plan to sell, don’t be afraid. By neutral colours, we are not suggesting the dull beige for your interiors. The term ‘neutral’ doesn’t restrict you to varying shades of boring beige. In fact, with a little pre-planning, you can use beautiful pastels, light greens and other cooler tones to highlight your home’s uniqueness.

Exterior curb appeal improved

While we talk about interior painting, a number of sellers make another common mistake. They either pay too much attention to the interiors and too little to the exteriors or vice versa. It is crucial to pay proper attention to the exteriors as well. The outside of your house will be noticed first. If a buyer decides to drive past your home, they should be impressed. Once again, be careful with the colours. No blinding bold colours on the exterior to anger the neighbours and drive everyone away. According to Zillow,  home exteriors in gray/brown were able to sell for $1,526 more on average. Whereas, those in stucco, taupe or brown went for $1,970 less.

As a professional painting contractor in the GTA and our accumulated experience, we are able able to provide colour consultations if you’re planning to sell your house. This service is offered to realtors and homeowners alike.

How much Painting is required?

First of all, take a close look around your house. Do your halls, nooks, stairways etc. look intact? Is the surface flawless or are there any signs of cracks, water damage or holes? Look for any exterior imperfections that need to be addressed. Do you have any aged wallpaper that needs removal?

A professional can easily fix the cracks and water damage provided they know their job. Some sellers look for the cheapest painter around or try taking on the task themselves. Is that what you really want to do? A badly done paint/repair job is only going to increase your work, and definitely not add any value.

The potential buyer of today is a very well-informed consumer. Even those who have no idea about the painting business, are able to tell the difference between a quick ‘whitewash’ and a professional painting job. Instead of helping you sell a home, a shoddy paint job will actually cause hindrances. What’s the worst that can happen? Paint splashes on wood floors/carpets, drips on walls, uneven cutting lines and much more. All these mistakes and imperfections can add up and make a home look cheap.

A good painting contractor knows that the most important part of painting is the prep work. Surfaces need to cleaned, patched and sanded so that they can be painted. Absence of prep work will look bad and give the impression that one is trying to hide something under the guise of paint. If the weather allows, consider painting the exterior, especially the front door and the garage doors.

What Paint Colours Help you Sell?

As per the recommendations above, keeping the colours neutral will help buyers feel more comfortable about the sale. Most buyers are not really looking to repaint a home they’ve just bought unless it’s done before they move in. They want a place they can move in easily and one that works well with their furniture.

Everything doesn’t have to be white or a builder’s beige, but sellers shouldn’t be making statements with colour or going too trendy. In an old home with traditional architectural aspects, modern colours will take away the old world charm. If you are painting a modern loft or a trendy downtown condo, using modern, cooler colours will help your realtor sell it.

Colour Suggestions for Resale

As per a study carried out by Zillow, paint colour is one of those changes in your home that you should certainly consider. The organization analyzed thousands of listings of home that have been sold to come up with a list of colours that did best. For example, ‘greige’ (a shade between beige and light gray) was very popular and homes painted in this colour sold better than those in tan or brown.

According to Svenja Gudell, Chief Economist at Zillow, “Painting walls in fresh, natural-looking colors, particularly in shades of blue and pale gray, not only make a home feel larger, but also are neutral enough to help future buyers envision themselves living in the space. Incorporating light blue in kitchens and bathrooms may pay off especially well as the color complements white countertops and cabinets, a growing trend in both rooms.”

Here are Zillow’s findings on Colours that help with a Resale:

Living room and open space main areas:  One of the most important areas, it is the place where you go to relax. The wrong colour can make it look less inviting – even if you think it is very comfortable. To make it appear warm and cozy, a light brown will work well. You can also use other colours in the family such as a light beige, pale taupe, or even oatmeal. Homes in these colours sold for more than $1,800 on an average as per the study.

Kitchens and Dining Rooms: Another important space, you want to make a solid impression with the colour.  Cheerful or neutral colours are suitable since that’s where you’ll spend quite a bit of time cooking and socializing. Dark and somber paint colours aren’t recommended for this area. Homes with light blue or soft gray-blue had a selling price of $1,809 more on average and those with yellow kitchens sold for $820 less.

Dining spaces in reds (copper red, terracotta) etc were not preferred by buyers. Once again, homes with dining rooms in slate and navy blues saw a close to $2,000 increase in the resale value.

Bedrooms: Milder tones are suitable for bedrooms especially when the room is small. Pay particular attention to master bedrooms as they will be noticed by couples. The Zillow study found that homes with light pink and rose paint colours (usually used in kids bedrooms) weren’t very popular but light cerulean bedrooms helped in increasing the sale price by $1,856.

Bathrooms: Surprisingly, bathrooms can be a deal breaker for some buyers. Make sure your spruce it up before a sale. Master bedroom ensuites too should be clean and painted well before your home goes on the market. Lighter, neutral colours will make bathrooms look larger but be careful about the choice of paint, you don’t want them to look too dull.  Think periwinkle to powder blue – these can increase the resale value by approx. $5,440 more. Not surprisingly, beige or off whites do not impress prospective buyers.

You can find the results of the Zillow colour analysis here.

Selling a home can be a stressful process – fortunately, realtors are present to help ease the process. Consider their home repair suggestions, they know their craft! You can never go wrong with full staging but most agents will tell you that a nice paint job will do the trick. Take their suggestions and leave the worrying to the professionals!

In the last two plus decades, Ecopainting has been a proud partner to a number of established realtors in the GTA. Realtors prefer us when they want to help clients sell their home faster and for a better price. Call us at 416 733-7767 and ask about our Paint To Sell program.

Note: If you just bought your home, let’s discuss the New Homeowner Colour Package.

2 thoughts on “Painting For Resale”

  1. Painting your home before you put it up for sale is important because it will look like a new home. People are more likely to purchase homes that look new rather than homes that look old.


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