Selling Your Home: What’s Inside Counts


Any good Realtor will tell you that move-in ready homes are worth their weight in gold. No buyer wants to purchase a house, only to have to make repairs, paint, and replace ugly cabinets.

Investing in these projects now will make your home more appealing to potential buyers and create more pleasant selling experience. And, as a bonus, these easy repairs may help you command a higher price, too!

Freshening up your interior is an inexpensive DIY project and can make a world of difference as you try to sell your house.

Basic Repairs

The logical place to start is with basic repairs. The interior of your house needs to continue or improve upon the initial impression of the buyer. Fortunately there is a lot of interior painting that can be done and most of it very inexpensive if you do it yourself.

Basic repairs are the most obvious areas to start. No paint job will look good if the wall or ceiling is visibly damaged. Drywall repairs are, for the most part, simple. Nail holes and small dings can be filled in with lightweight spackling paste. Use paintable caulking to repair cracked corners. Larger repairs will require more effort; read the how-to here.

Always remember to prime repaired areas before painting; drywall compound absorbs paint differently than drywall or a previously painted surface. Priming helps contribute to an invisible repair.

Appealing to the Masses

Most of the time, painting is a good way to express your personality. When the house is up for sale, though, it’s better to stick with neutrals that will go with most decorating schemes. You want your home to be as appealing as possible to as many buyers as possible. Even if a buyer decides to paint later, a move-in ready paint job will allow him to do it on his own schedule.


  • Use eye catching, unusual, or bright faux finishes.
  • Choose shocking colors for the doors or trim, no matter how much you like them.
  • Use glossy paint on the walls (it highlights imperfections).


  • Choose subtle colors like white, beige, tan, or soft gray.
  • Paint ceilings a lighter color than the walls. This creates the illusion of more height.
  • Choose a contrasting, but still neutral, color for the trim.
  • Use flat or satin paint in bedrooms and living rooms, and satin or semi-gloss finishes in kitchens, baths, and laundry areas.

Details, Details…

Windows, doors, and trim always take a beating; unless they were recently replaced, you’ll probably need to do some sanding, caulking, and refinishing. Stained wood can be brought back to life with a Danish oil finish; choose a color close to the original finish, but when in doubt, go slightly darker.

Mantles, built-ins, and other focal points should also be given some attention. Capitalize on dents and gouges to create a distressed finish. These textured surfaces are popular and, in a neutral color, will go well with almost any decorating style.

In the kitchen, give some serious thought to refinishing the cabinetry with some paint or fresh stain. An updated kitchen is high on most buyers’ lists, but a complete redo is expensive. New curtains, sparkling clean appliances, and new-looking cabinets are cheap ways to get the hub of the household looking it’s best.

There is more to interior home painting than the walls. As a FSBO seller you need to think about subtle changes that are inexpensive and will spark interest in your home. These ideas also apply to houses being sold through a real estate agent, not just the FSBO seller.

Choosing Interior Paint Colors

  • Neutral colors should be used. This includes off whites and tans.
  • No intense faux finishes. Keep everything subtle and simple.
  • Ceilings can be lighter than the walls. This will produce the illusion of taller walls.
  • Trim such as base, casing and doors can match the ceiling color or be lighter. These items need to contrast the walls.


Another consideration is the paint sheen used. In living areas, this includes bedrooms and the rec-room, the ceilings should be flat and walls either flat or satin. In wet rooms, bath or laundry rooms, use satin or semi-gloss sheen’s. Keep the sheen’s subdued. Lower sheen’s will hide imperfections.

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