Today I’m writing the first of what I hope will be a regular feature at RealEstateTherapy.org (as well as here). Let’s call it What They Wish You Knew. “They” being various professionals associated with the business of real estate.
First up: What House Painters Wish You Knew.
Painting is one of the trinity of property improvements guaranteed to enhance value when selling. (The other two are floors and lighting.) Painting is about as close to magic as you can get, and if you want the spell done right, you hire a magician.
And that magician – your painter – would like you to know these things:
- Catalog your colors for when you move out or sell. It’ll save you money because the painter won’t have to charge you for the time it takes to match the color.
- Ideally, you’ll go one step further and save your paint. This also cuts costs because it makes touchups easier in the future. Even if you have the color formula, a new mix may not match an old mix. Results vary from store-to-store and over time. But the paint stored in a can will age along with what’s on the wall.
- If you’d rather not pay your magician to do detective work, don’t just point to a pile of old paint cans and say, “I’m pretty sure the paint you need is there.” Sort through yourself in advance.
- Painters aren’t movers, and it’s less costly to paint vacant rooms. So if you say you’ll empty a room’s contents prior to painting, then do it. If you agree to move everything into the center of the room, then do that. Otherwise, be ready for additional costs or delays.
- There’s no such thing as “just touching up.” Homeowners envision they’ll save money if the painter can simply dab a little paint here and there. But touch-ups only go so far, especially given the difficulty (and costs associated with) matching paint. It’s often easier to paint whole walls or rooms.
- If you’re not already committed to a particular paint color (and, therefore, brand) ask your painter if he/she has a preference about brand(s). Brand preference has to do not only with ease of application, but also with location of the paint store. If your San Francisco painter has to drive to Serramonte to procure paint from Home Depot, it’s going to cost you extra.
- Unless your painter is a professional colorist, don’t ask him or her to advise on paint colors and finishes. (One of the best painters I know is color blind!) Give him or her exact instructions about shade and sheen.
- Realize that the best painters may be ones who are so experienced and skilled that they get their work done speedily. In other words, more time doesn’t necessarily mean a better result. Look for painters with great references and ones who bid by the job, not by the hour.
- Prep time, plus procurement of and cost of materials add up quickly, so resist the temptation to look at a finished room and think or say, “What was so darn expensive about that? That was easy. I could have done it myself!”
The truth is that very few of us mortals are qualified to do painting all by ourselves. Better to go pro, then stand back and enjoy the results.
Cynthia Cummins is a Top Producer and Partner at McGuire. Check out her blog at RealEstateTherapy.org. For info on SF real estate visit http://CynthiaCummins.com.