The ROI Of Painting Your Home – Before You Move


So you’ve decided to move. Great – it’s time to paint your house!

I know it seems counter-intuitive to start making improvements on a house you’re hoping to leave in the near future, but the truth is that a small investment in paint could deliver a great ROI when you sell – especially if you’re in a hot real estate market like Toronto, Etobicoke or the GTA. Real estate agents say a well-maintained home can easily command a 5-10% premium, especially when it looks like it’s in move-in condition.

Think beyond the walls

Painting over the scuffed hot-pink paint in what is soon to be your daughter’s  former bedroom is definitely a good idea, but there are lots of other, less obvious ways that paint can make a tired home look ‘designer’:


  • Paint or powerwash all exterior entries (including the back door and door from the garage into the house). These are the areas that deliver the first and last impression to potential buyers – and those impressions can make or break a deal
  • Paint the ceilings:  People always look at the ceilings for signs of leaks. Fresh paint will cover grease stains, ceiling cracks, and residues from smoking.
  • Paint outdated kitchen cabinets and make them a selling feature using neutral colours and new hardware.
  • Paint over loud or dated colours: That dark maroon family room you decorated in 1998 will show better if you paint it a modern shade of white.
  • Don’t forget all the little details: Chipped corners, peeling wallpaper edges, those paint droplets on the floor. Serious potential buyers pay attention to details – and so should you.
  • Repair and paint the baseboards – fixing dents and dings then painting the baseboards enhances the overall look of a room.

Consider hiring a professional

Yes, it will cost a little more than doing it yourself. But professionals will do it faster (which means you can start scheduling open houses sooner); they’ll fix the little things like picture holes or old leak stains on the ceiling; and you’ll end up with a more professional-looking result, which will help you get the maximum return on your investment.

What’s more, a professional paint job sends a message to potential buyers: “This home has been well maintained, inside and out. It’s not a risky purchase.”

Use the makeover as a selling feature

A home that has been ‘recently updated’ or ‘freshly redecorated’ is always more desirable – and it’s something that buyers look for, especially if they aren’t do-it-yourselfers and don’t want to be faced with a big redecorating project when they move in. And in today’s real estate market, where potential buyers often look at 25 or more photos of a house before they decide to see it in person, a freshly-painted home in neutral colours that looks well-maintained is going to attract more buyers, more quickly, than one where people have to use their imagination in order to see potential.

Remember: A 5-10% premium on a $500,000 home – which is pretty average for the GTA – means $25,000-$50,000 more when you sell. When you think about it, investing in professional painting is a great investment.