Monday, December 13, 2010

Painting for Staging? Here's Touch-up Tips

What do Tom Cruise and Renee Zellweger have to do with selling your home? Remember the scene -- video clip below -- where Tom comes back to his wife and declares his love for her? The way Renee responds is the way you want house hunters to respond to your house.

I did some interior painting this week for a woman who wants her house on the market as quickly as possible. She wanted to spend her money and time where they would do the most good.

I think my client's situation is a common one, and I think the approach she and I decided on is a good one. I'm calling it the "You Had Me At Hello" approach. That's what Renee told Tom.

The idea is to make the first few rooms the prospective buyer sees so enticing that he falls head over heels. For my client, I worked on making the living room, dining room and kitchen --  the rooms that a realtor would naturally be showing first --  as attractive and fresh-looking as possible.

I painted the walls in these three rooms. The rest of the house was clean, decluttered and attractively staged.  The budget and time for painting bedrooms, bathrooms, and halls just wasn't there. The realtor agreed that the decision made sense.

The bathroom walls in this house, as in most houses, had been painted semi gloss, so they were easily washable. Hallway walls cleaned up with a Magic Eraser.

Why didn't I just touch up walls that had smudges? Well, we tried that, and the paint Ms. Homeowner had stored didn't work for touch ups. I tested it in an out-of-the-way corner (behind a door that opens in), and I could tell when it dried that touch ups would give walls a case of the measles. The paint was left over from a three-year old total repaint, but wall paint color can change even over that short a time.

So what if the walls in the kids bedrooms have some smudges and pencil marks, and the master bedroom walls have a few nail holes? Big deal.

By the time the realtor winds the tour through the bedrooms, house hunters will have already decided if this is their true love, based on the space, floor plan and other features.

My eBook, DIY Home Staging Tips to Sell Your Home Fast and for Top Dollar, gives other ways to stretch your painting budget. 

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