The Value of Paint

By Paul Harrison, Sales Associate

If you are looking to sell your house, building a new house, or just want a change, paint can go a long way.  It will give you the biggest bang for your buck.  A DIYer can achieve a good result by following some simple rules.  These are the rules that every professional painter will follow.

You might think that buying the paint color is your first step.  That’s a rookie mistake, it’s not.  The first step is prep, prep, prep.  A great paint over walls or trim that hasn’t been prepared properly just won’t look good. 

If you’re building a new house, but doing the painting yourself, prepare the substrate, meaning the walls and trim.  Fill in nail holes with a high quality wood filler. Sand and tack rag the surface to remove all traces of dust.   Don’t use painter’s putty. Painter’s putty dries quickly, but doesn’t give you the same finish, and because it is oil based, most latex paints won’t dry properly over it. You will know you did it right if there’s no sign of nail holes on your trim once the paint dries.  

New walls should be lightly sanded, then vacuumed to remove all of the dust.  This is important, because dust on the walls can lead to paint failure.  Apply a good quality primer.  Once the primer dries, examine the surface carefully to identity any imperfections on the surface.  Apply joint compound to the imperfections, wait for it to dry, then sand, vacuum and prime that area again.  Similar process for drywall, but sanding should be done only on the compounded joints.  Two coats of good quality paint will get you to that high quality finish. 

For an existing home, follow the same rules on the trim. Fill those holes and fix any imperfections on wall surfaces. You won’t need to prime painted trim. But do prime walls if you are going from an existing dark color to a new light color. If you don’t, two coats of paint may not be enough.

If you want to take on an exterior paint project, power wash before doing anything else.  To protect your foundation plantings and flowers, make sure you spray them with water before you begin the power wash.  Mix beach or TSP, apply liberally, then power wash.  Give the surface time to fully dry, then scrape any loose paint from the body and trim with a carbide tip scraper.  Apply primer to all bare wood areas.  Once the prep is done, apply two coats of a good quality exterior paint.


Now for the color! 

Color choice is the biggest obstacle for most DIYers.  That color you picked out from the paint chip under the florescent lights in the big box store will look very different on the surface in your home.  Before choosing any color, you should pick out the colors of the things that will also be in the room.  That means flooring, furniture and even curtains.  Go to the paint store and pick up a “painter’s fan”.    That’s the color tool that all professional painters have in their toolbox. Take the painter’s fan home and chose the colors in the room you are painting.

Painter’s Fan

If you are painting the trim and go with white, understand that there are hundreds of shades of white. Same for the color you choose for the walls. A particular shade of blue, for example, can look very different on walls based upon the white you chose for the trim. In the images below, same blue, different white, different result.

Narrow it down by placing the sample colors in different areas of the room you are painting, placing the colors together near your flooring, furniture and accessories.  This will give you a good feel of how the colors will flow in the room.

If you don’t like what you see, pick out more samples and try it again.  When you “think” it is right, buy small samples of the trim and wall paint colors and apply it to an area.  Look at it during different times of the day. Once you “know” it is right, you are ready to buy that paint for your project. With the work involved, you don’t want to have to do it a second time. Get the color right the first time.

Use eggshell for the walls and semi-gloss for the trim, again applying two coats of quality paint.  A good paint job will last about five years. Final tip. Use a good quality paintbrush and roller appropriate for the paint you purchase.

By following these simple rules and taking your time, you will achieve a result you will enjoy for years to come.  

Consider This” is a series that provides tips to buyers and sellers of residential real estate.

Paul Harrison is a Sales Associate at Abbott Properties specializing on new construction and residential real estate developments. He has extensive experience in the construction industry. Paul also owns and operates Harrison Painting.

Declutter = Money

By Erin Sheridan, Sales Associate

Spring is here and the season to sell is upon us.  If you are prepared to dive in and sell your home, where do you start?  

First and foremost, declutter!  Why?  Because Space Sells!

Decluttering is an essential aspect of achieving the highest sale price for your home, period. Nothing gives you the greatest return on your investment than decluttering, period.   Decluttering before your first showing will result in thousands more in your pocket.  And it’s absolutely free. You just have to do it.

Remember, the biggest reason people give for moving is lack of space in their current home. Buyers are looking for a home that gives them the space they need now, plus more to grow into in the future. As the seller, you want to visually encourage the buyer to see the space in your house and imagine themselves happily living in it.

Here’s the psychology. Buyers get distracted by the stuff they see when they walk into a cluttered home and overlook what they should be looking at instead.   Things like the great light, the floor space, the spacious storage and the flow of the house.

Whether it’s done consciously or subconsciously, the Buyer is making a judgment comparing your life to the better life they aspire to in a new home. If they come into your home and conclude that you are running out of space because they see too much stuff, then they will conclude they will not have enough room for all of their stuff. It’s that simple. It’s the biggest turnoff you could give.

A buyer should be able to open cupboards and doors easily. There should be no obstacles to prevent them from walking within a room or from one room to the next. Closets, storage spaces and garages should be cleaned out and organized. You certainly don’t want a buyer to open a closet and have things that will fall on them or trip over the snow shovel as they walk from the kitchen into the garage!

To start to declutter, walk from room to room in your house and make a real objective judgment about what stays and what goes. If you don’t trust your judgment, ask a friend to look and don’t be sensitive about what you hear. Make a list. Then pull out the trash cans, rent a dumpster and grab a bunch of boxes or plastic bins.

Either pack or trash anything that you don’t need for your immediate day-to-day life starting from the day the house goes on the market. . Things like off season sports equipment, out of season clothes and that crock pot and bread maker you haven’t used for the last five years are all examples of items to pack or trash. You will probably find outdated food if you look in the back of the kitchen cabinets. And those pants you hoped would fit one day, probably won’t. While you are at it, pack those family photos, the awards from work and remove all the clutter from your counters and surface space. 

Say to yourself Space Sells as you go from room to room.

Once you think you are done, take a second look. Do more things need to go to achieve your Space Sells goal? If so, do it again. When you are satisfied that a Buyer will see all that space in your house and imagine themselves happily living in it, you are done. Your house is ready for showings, plus it will be easier to keep it ready for showings during the process.

The other added benefit of decluttering? Your packing and clean out is half finished.

And most importantly, the decluttering makes you emotionally moved out and ready when the house does sell.  As you start to see your house changing, it will become less your home and more like a place you are staying temporarily while getting ready for your next adventure.  That next adventure being your new home!

Consider This” is a series that provides tips to buyers and sellers of residential real estate.

Erin Sheridan is licensed in both Rhode Island and Connecticut. She is a sales associate and Team Leader of the Sheridan Group at Abbott Properties.