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One of the first things people think about before putting their home on the market is painting and making rooms seem fresh and new. This might simply be touch ups or complete color changes—especially if you don’t have neutral colors.

And though painting the interior of a house is typical, it’s less common for people to paint the exterior of a home.

Naturally, that’s more challenging and you’ll probably need to hire painters to do so, making it more expensive. However, by refreshing the outside of your home with a new paint job, you can make a dramatic difference that house hunters will remember.

Whether you go with an experienced company or decide to take on the job yourself, before any painting begins, it’s a good idea to power wash the exterior and remove any debris or dirt that has added up over the years. Employ a chlorine bleach solution to kill any mildew and scrub any dirt that is visible. You should also sand up any holes and make repairs to the siding, gutters or other areas of the exterior so that it’s in tip-top shape for the paint job.

If you are taking on the job yourself (or with friends), be sure you have enough paint and all the equipment you will need, including a sturdy ladder, plenty of paint brushes and enough paint to get the job done. Also, wear protective eye gear and clothing (including a hat!) that you don’t mind getting dirty and possibly ruined.

Always start by priming the first coat to hide any imperfections on the house, such as discoloration from weathering. Next, test the color in a small spot to ensure the color looks good in the daylight. You don’t want to paint the whole house and not like it.

Apply paint using long, smooth strokes with your paintbrush and aim for a well-spread, even coat. This is done by brushing oil-based house paint back and forth several times. On clapboard surfaces, if paint gathers along the horizontal edge, it has been applied too heavily or not brushed out enough.

Remember, less is more when it comes to applying top coats of paint and more layers can result in paint flaking off through the years.

The trim should be the last area you paint. Begin by coating your window sash and door paneling first, and then paint the window frames, sills, and door trim.

With so many house hunters getting a first impression simply from the pictures they see on the internet, think of how great your house will look with a fresh coat of paint.

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