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Paint advice for home sales: moonstone is outdated

Brush up: Karolina DeCosta

Dear Heather,

I am putting my house on the market but I can only afford to paint it. Can you give suggestions on what to paint and how?


Dear Seller,

There are three very important things to do before you put your house on the market and these are to be sure that your property is clean, tidy and painted.

To find out more about the painted part, I met with Karolina DeCosta, part-owner of Rowe Spurling Paint Company.

Karolina, together with her husband, Justin, took over the company 11 years ago.

She recommends picking a rich neutral colour for the inside.

All, or at the very least most, of the rooms should be a nice, natural shade that is not too dark.

Contemporary shades have a timeless warmth, those that have a hint of grey are popular. (No moonstone please!)

Because most walls in Bermuda are imperfect, Karolina suggests flat or matt paints as they are more forgiving than shiny ones. Also, with paint technology improving all the time, they are just as washable and very durable.

Ceilings should ideally be painted a crisp flat white. Be sure to clean off any mould or mildew as it will come through if left alone. She does not recommend bleach, as it is not only unhealthy but it provides a food source for mould growth when it breaks down. There is a product called Concrobian which is much more effective; it has no smell and kills mould spores.

You never get a second chance to make a first impression, as the saying goes, so the exterior is important too.

Make sure loose paint is scraped off, and use a primer. It provides a strong foundation and helps the paint adhere better to the wall. There are many different primers — waterproof for example, or adhesive if paint is peeling. A high-build primer is necessary if you are making a strong colour change, from blue to yellow for example.

Exterior paint basically comes in three qualities: good, better and best. So while it may be practical to choose within your budget, the better the paint, the better the coverage; it will be more durable. The caveat, of course, is that the less expensive paint will cost more in the long term. If however, you are just freshening up to sell and the new buyer might change the colour anyway, this might be the way to go.

Painting kitchen cabinets and bathroom cabinets can make a huge difference if they are in good condition but in a dated colour.

Rowe Spurling has recently brought in a variety of small home accents and accessories such as vases, plant pots, chalkboards, storage jars and door knobs. Sometimes just upgrading hardware on cabinetry can give it a real facelift. You should go along and check them out.

There are many different paint stores on the island. Talk with someone knowledgeable at your preferred one to make sure that you are getting the right product for your project. Remember, cheaper doesn’t always means it costs less at the end of the day.

Heather Chilvers is among Coldwell Banker Bermuda Realty’s leading sales representatives. She has been working in real estate for nearly 30 years. Contact her at hchilvers@brcl.bm or 332-1793. All questions will be treated in confidence. Follow Heather Realtor Bermuda on Facebook and @heatherrealtorbermuda on Instagram