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Old 06-24-2009, 12:48 PM
10 posts, read 29,217 times
Reputation: 18


First, sorry for the long post! I built my house in 1986 in a residential neighborhood in Northern Virginia with houses now ranging from $700- $900K. It is a white Williamsburg Colonial with full front porch, brick red shutters and garage doors, side-load garage, cedar shake roof, hand-made brick walks and patio with over a hundred mature American and English boxwoods and surrounded by 100' shade trees. Inside I have 10'-18" hand-nailed antique white pine floors, cherry kitchen cupboards and, as appropriate to the room, either and /or medium brown stained beams, 5" crown molding, chair rail, 5" base, 6 over 8 windows, 3 solid pine 6 panel pocket doors and exterior doors, side-lights and surrounds.

One realtor with experience in the area advised us to paint over the stained woodwork, because potential 30-40 year old buyers generally like Pottery Barn decor, e.g. cottage, shabby chic off-whites. I and my wife are very reluctant to do so, because A. Anybody who would like the exterior would LOVE the interior, B. It's harder to remove paint than it is to paint, and C. the woodwork has more inherent value (we paid $20K for it). I KNOW that what we paid is irrelevant to it's actual value, and that tastes have changed and different strokes, etc. but I'd really appreciate a little community dialog, NOT on what is nicer - but "What will help the house sell" next March 2010? I've been told men like stain, women like paint, , but are we just better off going with the realtor's suggestion or should we try to market to those who love true colonial style? All carpets and wall colors are neutral. Thanks SO much in advance!!! John and Jane
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Old 06-24-2009, 01:02 PM
Location: Eastern Washington
12,733 posts, read 40,976,785 times
Reputation: 10327
I guess I am not a typical buyer at all, but paiting over stain and other "fix it up to sell it" things are a big turn-off to me. I could care less about interior colors, staging, and all that rot. I'm looking at location and a structurually sound house, stuff I can't change and/or it's expensive to fix.

How many 30-somethings have most of a mil to spend on a house anyway?

That said if your realtor does not know more about what will help sell a house in your market than I do, an engineer who is on the West Coast, they are worse than worthless..
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Old 06-24-2009, 01:05 PM
3,020 posts, read 22,598,773 times
Reputation: 2678
Default Ignore them.......It will destroy the house.

Standard rule of thumb. Paint looks its best the day after it was done. It DOES NOT improve with age. Natural finished wood ages extremely well, in most cases improving with age.

If your house has a character that requires natural finished wood, never paint it. Difficult to undo the decision. Nobody actually knows what makes a house sell, those crap agents pretend they do but it is more like a personal bias. All they care about is a pay check.

Plus you never can please a buyer all the time, maybe none of the buyers some of the time. If they do not like it, tough change it after you buy it. If they want it painted, let them paint it. And forever in the future, coat after coat until it finally looks like the crap it eventually will become.

The agent is doing you no favor. Has zero risk, you are the one who will wind up with the trendy trash that might be out of style next week. Natural finished wood is timeless, fits all eras if you wait long enough. You can't make a beautiful Unicorn into a pig by putting lipstick on it. Maybe that dude should learn what makes any house really valuable over its entire life. Character comes a bit at a time.

Fire the dude and get somebody who will sell what is there, being able to rave and explain to any buyer why it is the buy of the century as it sits.

Plus with bad luck they will make a mess and you give the potential buyers something to disagree on. Nobody like the same color. Everybody loves top grade wood in a natural state.
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Old 06-24-2009, 01:15 PM
Location: Bradenton, Florida
27,236 posts, read 39,269,625 times
Reputation: 10884
The plain and simple fact is that if the owner DOES want to make such changes, the ball's in THEIR court, not yours.
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Old 06-24-2009, 01:22 PM
Location: Philaburbia
30,325 posts, read 55,153,869 times
Reputation: 50582
Don't paint it!!! If the new owner wants to paint it, fine. But by painting the woodwork I'd guess you're turning off more buyers than you're turning off by leaving it alone.
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Old 06-24-2009, 01:22 PM
133 posts, read 451,613 times
Reputation: 95
NO ! Don't paint that wood !
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Old 06-24-2009, 01:28 PM
Location: U.S.
1,581 posts, read 4,661,813 times
Reputation: 1102
DO NOT!!! I would polish it up and make it glow, but don't paint it.
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Old 06-24-2009, 02:00 PM
Location: In the woods
3,314 posts, read 8,265,923 times
Reputation: 1496
I wouldn't paint the woodwork. Sounds like there is alot of custom work in your house and this adds to it. I just sold my house in VA and it was a fiasco (buyers got into a bidding war). Painted or non-painted surfaces will not make a difference; it's the big things like structure, roofing, etc.

The other thing is that house styles typically relate to the region they were built in. As such, most buyers in VA are looking for a traditional-style home. If your realtor really wants to help out, tell him/her to persuade the interested 30-somethings that their modern furnishings would fit nicely in such a home and that being unique is more imporant (and hip) than a cookie-cutter Pottery Barn look.
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Old 06-24-2009, 05:00 PM
Location: Grosse Ile Michigan
23,169 posts, read 56,890,940 times
Reputation: 23756
Having spent years stripping paint off woodwork, I would probably walk away from a house with painted woodwork. It is a tedious job. If I want it painted, I can paint it after buying the house. If I do not want it painted, once it is painted there is no easy way to turn back.

If you do let these brilliant Realtors talk you into painting it, coat it with shellac or use a shellac based primer first. Then it should be easier to remove. What you do not want to do is gt paint into the wood grain. If you do that, the woodwork is ruined and it will have to be replaced with salvaged materials. Unpainted 18" yellow pine baseboard molding was selling for $16 a foot not long ago. This is just salvaged condition. It still needs to be cleaned, nails removed, holes filled and then installed. Figure a 20x30 room would need around 80' of baseboard just to do one room, and you get some idea of what you can ruin by painting the woodwork. If you add door and window casings, you can double or triple that figure. That is for each room that you paint the woodwork. Do the whole house, and you are looking at very significant dollars.
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Old 06-24-2009, 05:09 PM
Location: southwestern PA
20,428 posts, read 34,055,545 times
Reputation: 38693
Another vote for NO PAINT!
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