Home Buying in San Antonio>Question Details

Vincent H, Home Buyer in San Antonio, TX

Good Morning Trulia community. My wife and I have looked at what seems like a million homes in the past couple of months (on line of course), and

Asked by Vincent H, San Antonio, TX Sat Jun 5, 2010

we've noticed that a large percentage of them looks as if a rainbow threw up inside! Is it an abnormal request to ask that all walls be painted a neutral color before moving in? Thanks.

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Most sellers take great pride in their home and love their choices from paint color to light fixtures. It's also usually an emotional time for sellers. To ask the seller to paint the wall before you move in may not sit well with them. They have enough to do already packing up for the move. Plus, it's been my experience that sellers are a little put off when buyers start asking for or doing things before they close on the house. In the sellers mind, it's still their home until they get to the closing.

Paint is cosmetic. It can easily be changed. If you want to change the paint color after you move in, no problem. It will actually be easier to do it when the house is empty anyway. Asking the seller to do it for you may make waves and cause tention. You are buying the structure not the decorating. Part of the fun of buying a new home is making it your own. Get the painting done yourself and enjoy your new home.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jun 5, 2010
Have you considered negotiating the contract to have the walls repainted in a home that is otherwise suitable? You should also consider finding a good buyer's agent to find a home for you. The agent can vet homes that are otherwise suitable to exclude those with "designer" (or just plain garish) paint, saving you hours. There are a lot of other good reasons to find a buyer's agent.

When you find a suitable home, would you want the agent who shows you the home to represent you--or the seller? The seller's agent can help you only with the mechanics of buying, and can give no advice, nor suggest negotiating strategies, price opinions or provide other insights that may compromise the seller's interest.

A few years ago, the National Association of REALTORS conducted a survey that found that 51% of home buyers found the home they bought online. While cruising the information superhighway will better inform a buyer than the drive-by shopper who calls about every "for sale" sign they see, you would be surprised by how much of the information on most real estate Web sites is out of date. When I deal with buyers who think I need their help finding homes (they keep searching online), the properties they find are usually included in the search I ran. Those that are not were either excluded because they did not meet some criteria the buyer stated, or did not come up because the property was no longer available--at least 20% of the properties were canceled listings , under contract or sold.

Yeah, the Internet is a vast pool of information, but it's not always good information. Your best alternative is to find a good buyer's agent. It will cost you nothing, save you countless hours, and likely save you thousands of dollars at closing.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jun 11, 2010
Hi, again, Vincent,

It's all about the money. The Buyer may not have enough money to have the house painted after closing, and the Seller may not be able to afford to do it, unless it is built into the price. Ask your lender if they can escrow the cost of repainting and have the home repainted in the colors of your choice immediately after closing the deal. Paint and carpet choices are highly individual. It does not have to cost a fortune to redecorate the home to suit your own preferences, and it can usually be built into the deal.

Doc

Doc
Web Reference: http://Tellellen.com
2 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jun 6, 2010
It is a significant burden to place on a home seller to change paint and carpet when they are trying to prepare for a closing and a move. That being said, it is something that is done much easier before a buyer moves in. Buyers may also be tight on extra cash after a closing. It is typically possible as part of the negotiation to include an allowance for paint and carpet that can be escrowed at closing, performed immediately after the closing (within days), and funded in the transaction. The attorney / closing agent disburses the funds at the instruction of the buyer when the work is complete. These funds are disbursed directly to the contractor for services, not to the buyer. This allows you (the buyer) to have fresh paint and carpet that happens after the seller moves, and is funded and properly disclosed (on the HUD-1 and in the contract) in the transaction.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jun 5, 2010
You have to think like a home owner to get this. I bought the house. Once I bought it I had to make some repairs. I found some carpet I thought looked alright on sale. I bought it because it was reasonably priced and would work for me.

I painted the walls what I wanted them to be. I may not have been completely satisfied with the color once the paint dried but I could not afford to buy more paint. Taxes (heat, insurance, you name it) came up just after I painted the room. By the time I could afford to change it I was used to the color. Maybe my kid wanted that color. maybe in fact I hate those neutral colors (many do) so I painted over them as soon a I bought the house.

Being blunt, paint is the least objectionable objection (along with wall paper) that a house can have. It is very easy to cover up and you will always have a different color desire than the previous owner did. As far as carpets and other flooring goes, it wears out. If you do not like it change it later. Do not confuse style and personal tastes with quality or a good house. I would buy a house that had every single room in it painted hot (yuck) pink. It is so easy and cheap to take care of it does not really matter.

I want a solid house. Forget the staging. If all of the lovely furniture and stuff does not stay with the house it means nothing. Forget the hype, a house is just a house. Forget the color scheme and flooring choices. You can change them out if you wish fairly easily. It is style not substance.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Jun 7, 2010
Vincent,

I can understand your concern and empathize with you as we are currently looking at homes as well. We try to "look past" the paint colors and envision the property as we'd like occupy it. I've always been turned off by overuse of wallpaper and see that as a hurdle to remove, and like the textured wall surfaces I've seen. But that needs to be factored into your offering price. There are too many "personality colors" in many homes we've seen; it should make sense to tone them down, but the sellers don't realize it's no longer their home if they want to sell it. And selling/listing agents can only suggest changes - it's up to the sellers to make them and spend the cash. The suggestion to factor it into the closing seems reasonable also, if the sellers are willing.

I think the biggest hurdle for us is finding a home that seems to fit our style, location, and major needs (like a pool) already in existence. Painting and some updating seems to be the easiest part. Good luck in your search.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jun 20, 2010
The closer you get to their asking price, the more likely a seller will consider your request. If you lowball on them AND ask them to neutralize the house, then you have 'double-dipped', and are likely to turn that seller off completely.

Go in armed with information. Have a Realtor representing your interests, check out comparative home sales and the competition, and draft your offer with the request to neutralize. The worst they'll say is 'no'. If it's a deal-breaker, then go find another house. My bet is, they'll chase you down within 24-72 hours if all you are asking for is neutralization. People do tend to over-personalize a home in some cases. You probably aren't the first one to tell them the colors don't work for you. But, do it tactfully. Remember that the seller calls this 'home'. They are very likely to be proud of the work that was done to the home and they may be frazzled from hearing that others don't appreciate it as much as they do.

Have a blessed day!
Ronda
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jun 16, 2010
We all have so many different tastes in color and style. What one person loathes another person admires. Painting is one of the least expensive things one can do. If you really like a place and you can see yourself in that home. Go for it. Painting it the colors that you love will make it personal. To have a seller make changes before someone closes is asking too much. This can be worked out in other ways, a credit if it is allowed, reduction in price, gift card.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jun 16, 2010
Vincent, as a seller, I'm not going to paint my home to suit your taste before you close. I will,however, give you a credit at closing for re-decorating and then you can paint your new place whatever you want to.

My advice is to look past easy stuff like paint and pay attention to the more expensive stuff like cabinets and tile floors.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jun 16, 2010
This is fairly common. My position on this is that you can ask for whatever you want, however, if it is going to be a deal breaker on a home that you like is it really worth it? I think a lot of people can't see past the colors or even furnishings in a home. Look beyond that and if worse comes to worse, you can't paint it yourself.
Web Reference: http://www.calsucasa.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jun 12, 2010
Your question is, "Is it an abnormal request to ask that all walls be painted a neutral color before moving in?" and the answer is no, It is not "abnormal" for a buyer to ask the seller to paint. I have had the request several times (once I had the seller and another time I had the buyer), and in those cases it was done.

* Important, please factor in the offer you are making, the value of the property and repairs. Remember paint is aesthetics and something you can do yourself. There may be other important or serious repairs needed and I would have those done before asking for paint. Then see if it is reasonable to ask for paint. If it is, go for it. In RE one never knows what the outcome will be. It will depend on the needs & flexibility of the seller.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jun 8, 2010
Vincent,

The simple answer to both questions is yes. Each deal is different. Why?

Because each deal is with a different owner with different situations and ability to make changes.

Find the home you REALLY like and then begin the negotiations.

Let me know if I can provide you with any assistnace.

Dominick Dina
Christian Realty San Antonio
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jun 7, 2010
Thank you for your prompt response. Does the same rule generally apply for carpeting? We've also run into homes where the different rooms look like a patchwork quilt.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jun 5, 2010
All is based on buyer specifications and customize a home AFTER you move in. Have an entire home painted no, however in some instances have A WALL painted neutral might not be out of the norm.

We instruct our buyers find the home , floor plan you like then customize to your taste. Find the perfect home with everything you want lighting, fixtures, wall color and etc. is rare

Paint a room is inexpensive I do much of my own contracting HOWEVER if it comes down to repairs of home I would pick repairs over the paint.

Lynn911 Dallas Realtor & Consultant, Loan Officer, Credit Repair Advisor
The Michael Group - Dallas Business Journal Top Ranked Realtors
972-699-9111
http://www.lynn911.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jun 5, 2010
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