Painting Your Home to Prepare for Sale

Looking to sell your home? Or make the home you live in more cozy and inviting?

Here are some perfect tips for painting your home!

Painting a room or a whole house is not necessarily an easy task…but, it can add a LOT to any room, and is well worth the process. Personally, I have painted many different homes. My parents used to leave the house to run errands and they would come home with a painted living room! Many times, my dad had to touch up a few spots or clean a few carpet speckles…but, they still look back and laugh at it today. I have grown up painting my parents, and friends homes. I have also painted every home I have lived in. Whether it’s a large blank canvas, or cracked walls in my 1941 house, there are some simple things I have learned over the years.

The tips and tricks I provide may be a bit daunting, but don’t get overwhelmed. Painting a room is inexpensive, EASY, and a wonderful DIY project that anyone can tackle! And trust me, you’ll be glad you saved the money and accomplished something that makes your home look great.


  • Prep tools-bucket, rag, spackle, putty knife, sandpaper (fine grit)
  • Painting tools-paint, paint can opener (I use putty knife or straight edge tool), stir sticks (usually free at paint store), angled paint brushed, small bowl for work on a ladder, roll cover, roller tray, roller with extension pole for high areas, painters tape, drop cloth.


  • Don’t skimp on your paint. Try and buy middle to top-of-the line paint. With a cheaper paint, you will find that it is watered down, and you may need an extra coat. Thick paint goes on the wall easier. Pretty much any paint store can match a color swatch you find.
  • Finish is important. Semi-gloss is usually good for kitchens or bathrooms where you may need to wipe the walls. It also works well for trim. Flat is good in almost any other room. It doesn’t shine, and it hides any imperfection.
  • Low VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) paint is good if you are worried about fumes. A lot of people choose VOC paint when they are painting a nursery. Many different brands offer a low or no VOC option. Just ask!


  • If you are planning to sell your home, go for a neutral paint color. Try to paint all of your walls a similar color or shade. Neutral is best for all buyers, and the safest bet.
  • Paint seems to always show up a little darker on the wall. If you are worried about it being too dark, choose the lighter version on the paint swatch.
  • If your ceiling is flat, try painting it too! The ceiling does not need to be white. Pick a color that is bit toned down from the wall color to add some definition to a room. Or, if you are painting the wall colors light, pick a dark ceiling color.
  • Decorate your room. Then paint. It is much easier to paint a room to match your décor. It is more difficult to match your paint to the smaller decoration pieces.
  • Get small paint samples and test it on your wall. Look at it for a few days, and see if it grows on you, or if you hate it!


By far, my least favorite part. When you are sitting there with a can full of color ready to splash on the wall, the last thing I want to do is prep. However, this is also one of the most important parts.

  1. Use spackle to fill in any nail holes or imperfections. Wait for it to dry and then lightly sand the patches. I prefer the spackle that goes on pink and purple when wet, and dries white. That way, you can tell when you’re ready to sand. It dries pretty quick and makes the finished project look much better.
  2. Scrape away any peeling, ridges or cracked paint and sand down.
  3. Make sure you clean the walls prior to painting. 409 works great, if you add it to some hot water. It removes any greasy marks from the wall and creates a clean slate for painting. Best of all, it is not sticky and there is no leftover residue.
  4. Prime. Especially if you are painting over a dark color or tough stain.
  5. Stir away. Paint can settle and it needs to be fully mixed before you pour it to paint.
  6. Tape your woodwork. Baseboards, trim, crown molding, doorways, etc… Painter’s tape sticks well to woodwork and removes easily. It is usually pretty thick, and comes in blue or green. When applying to a long baseboard, you want to use short, overlapping strips. Make sure you press down firmly, or paint can seep down through the cracks.


  • Use an angle brush to paint along the trim, ceiling and doorways. They should be taped already. For the high up places, pour some paint into your small bowl. It is easier to hold and move around with. Painting straight from the paint can usually creates a mess.
  • Don’t dunk the entire paint brush into the can. Half-way is the MOST you should dunk your paint brush.
  •  Using a roller, use nice steady and even strokes. You don’t want too much paint on the roller, but you also don’t want too little. Some people try and spread out the paint by pressing harder on the roller. This will leave you with a patchy and blotchy paint job. And, you may end up with little paint speckles on your floor.
  • Long and continuous strokes are best.
  • Paint a second coat. If the paint is dark, you may need a third coat. It is worth the extra effort and time to do another coat. Waiting for the paint to fully dry in between coats is important.


  1. Brushes and roller can be kept wet between coats by wrapping in plastic wrap. The paint can need the lid to be put on tightly between coats.
  2. Use a fresh roller for each paint job. You can clean them, but I prefer a new roller. They are inexpensive and worth it.
  3. Remove painter’s tape after the paint is fully dry.

Good luck, and happy painting!

Sandy Erickson Real Estate Team of Keller Williams Integrity Realty


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