Getting ready to sell – #1 Painting your house exterior.

One of the key objectives when selling is to have enough street appeal to move people to want to come inside.

Irrespective of whether you are happy to tolerate the way things look on the outside there will always be the assumption made that an untidy, unkempt, in need of repair exterior reflects what is in the inside too.

It may be the difference between then choosing the house down the road rather than yours!

Let’s assume you have already done any external repairs needed (or had someone do them for you) and the front garden etc has had the tidy up required already and you are now moving onto the painting.

The extent to which you get busy with the paintbrush will depend on the exterior of the house, i.e. whether it is brick, rendered or weatherboard (the latter two potentially requiring some attention) and of course all of the other external fixtures.

Decision to paint made let’s go through the steps…

  1. Decide on paint colour scheme for your exterior. This should include ALL of the exterior not just the walls. Considering complementary colours for all doors, window frames fascias, eaves and gutters is vital if your exterior is to look appealing. Don’t be afraid to ask for , even paid help, the small investment in someone who has the right eye for these things may be a worthy investment. Remember it is not about you. A luminescent purple may be your favourite colour but your aim is to appeal to the market.
  2. Once you have chosen colours then choose the paint. As well as the area you need to paint, the spreading rate is important information your need to calculate how much paint you will need. Use a paint calculator (there are many on-line) to determine how much you are likely to need to buy.
  3. Temporarily remove any portable items in close proximity to the exterior surfaces to be painted e,g. pot plants, garden hoses etc, Anything that is not portable Ensure plants and the ground near the walls are covered with drop cloths (which are secured), so as to not cause damage or create unsightly splatters of paint adorning the pathway or interestingly spotted flowers.
  1. Prepare exterior walls for painting:
    • Wash walls with using a sponge and a small amount of detergent in a bucket of water to get rid of any dirt or grime. Hose down afterwards to remove any residual detergent,
    • If there is mould on any surfaces this may be treated with bleach solution. Apply with a sponge and leave to soak for 15 minutes before hosing off. In areas which are more significantly affected you may need to repeat.
    • Inspect the walls for any peeling or flaking areas. Get busy with a scraper to remove the loose paint then sand the surface down.
    • Fill any dents or nail holes in the walls with a pre-mixed exterior grade filler. Sand the areas once the filler has dried.
    • Check around any doors and windows (or any other moving parts) for cracks or gaps. Fill these with a paintable acrylic sealant. Again sand down these areas once dried to create a smooth finish.
    • Once the fillers and sealers have set, sand down these areas. While you’re there, sand down any rough or shiny spots to improve adhesion and finish.
    • Spot prime the filled and sealed areas with sealer primer undercoat.


  1. Apply painter’s masking tape to fittings which can’t be removed and around edges which may be fiddly and difficult to paint around, such as trims, windows and gutters.
  2. If a ladder is required, make sure it is in good order, on level ground and has someone at the bottom to steady it.
  3. Start painting from the top down, beginning with the gutters, then the fascia and eaves (brushes are often advised).
  4. Then you can move onto the walls. Do these in distinct sections. There are two reasons for this. Firstly, this is not an easy task and to be able to tick areas off gives you the feel good factor to keep moving. Secondly, should this be a project over a number of days clearly defined start and end points are always good to have.
  5. Walls completed and we are on the home straight….time to paint the trims and windows. Always a good idea to keep these open while painting so you don’t get sticking after painting.
  6. Clean up time..remove the covers, stand back and admire your external house facelift!