Every seller is looking for the perfect sale and every buyer is looking for the perfect opportunity to seize a new home or investment property. Getting your home ready to close the deal for the most money, starts with knowing where to begin and, often, that means, quite literally, you need to paint the perfect sale.

"Often times people are selling a home that they've lived in for 30 or 40 years and they're madly in love with the wallpaper but it is extremely dated," says John Peek, President and Owner of Peek Brothers Painting Contractors.

Things like wallpaper and color on the interior and exterior walls of your home can significantly influence buyers. So it is worth carefully looking over your home before you put it on the market to see what areas need touching up or an entire re-do. If you find the wallpaper has to go, then knowing how to make the change is equally important so that you don't end up with an even bigger mess.

"To strip wallpaper can be very time-consuming, expensive, and damaging to the underlying surface making it difficult to paint," says Peek. He adds, "You can paint over wallpaper if you prime it first with an oil-based primer such as Kilz. If you do that, it seals the surface well and then you can go over it with water-based paint. But if you go directly over wallpaper with water-based paint, without priming it with an oil-based undercoat, it will peel up at the edges. So the critical first step is to prime it with an oil-based undercoat," explains Peek.

To paint the perfect sale, Peek suggests carefully looking around your home for the holes that frequently don't get filled after you've taken down family photos and artwork. "I'll often times go into homes and homeowners have put spackle up and they've just smeared a big chunk on the wall and then let it dry," says Peek.

He offers this little trick to get a better outcome. "Take the spackle and put it in the hole and then take a wet sponge and lightly wipe the surface. It removes all excess spackle from around the hole and it just fills the hole itself. Often times you can get by without having to touch it up," says Peek.

Another area of concern is the door -- in particular, doors that belong to teenagers. Picture this. Your teenager has turned her door into a collage board of photos, memorabilia, stickers, award ribbons, cards -- you name it -- all are stuck on her door, permanently securing her identity to the home you're now trying to sell. Pulling off the memories before listing the home for sale is important, otherwise buyers get caught up in all of your personal stuff and then can't see the home as theirs. Buyers also don't want the headache of having to pull down and repaint the door. And chances are you don't want to have to do that either.

Here's what Peek says sellers with this issue can do. "There are products on the market that will help you to get all that sticky stuff off the door and it's worth a try. There's a product called Lift Off that you can get at the paint or hardware store; it works wonders," says Peek.

Many sellers wonder how to get rid of a stain in the ceiling. Peek says you don't always have to re-paint the entire ceiling. "Say you've had all the leaks fixed in the roof and you still have some stains, sometimes you can by without painting by putting half bleach and half water in a little squirt bottle and lightly spritzing the surface until it's wet," says Peek. He says that you can spray the mixture on the surface of an acoustic or painted drywall ceiling. A second spray of the area will often diminish or completely remove the stain and you might not even need to paint!

If you do need to paint the interior or exterior of your home, Mike Chism, President and Owner of Chism Brothers Painting, says you can avoid painting the whole house by touching up critical areas such as the front door, trim, and fascia board.

"With exterior painting, usually the house doesn't go bad all at once," says Chism. He adds, "Sometimes windowsills or thresholds can get a lot of sun and can be prepared and touched up extending the life of the entire paint job for several years."

Chism also recommends cleaning and pressure washing your home to give it a new and brighter look.

A little tender loving care for your home before you list it is a warm welcoming sign for potential buyers.


Written by Phoebe Chongchua