To paint or not to paint? That's the question for many about-to-be vendors. The answer, like everything in real estate, comes in subtle shades of grey (cream, tea and hundreds of other shades of paint).

If your house is fully renovated, the paint needs to be perfect, says Barfoot & Thompson agent Ryan Harding. If it's a total do-up you're probably not going to add value by spending thousands on paint.

It's the in-between homes where some extra thought needs to go in, says Harding. Money spent on paint might make the photos look good, but the buyers won't be deceived when they arrive. "Ultimately the better the home in terms of its condition, the higher the standard of the paint needs to be," says Harding.

The old adage about first impressions really does count, says Karen Warman, marketing manager at Resene. "That doesn't mean you need a full exterior repaint," she says. "If your paint is in sound condition, a quick wash down with a detergent such as Resene Paint Prep and Housewash will help (give) your paintwork a fresher look."

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Sometimes it's worth ticking off the priority areas rather than trying to do a full repaint. Painting the front door and letterbox pays off, says Warman. "This can easily be done in an afternoon and can help your home appeal to potential buyers."

Most of the rest of your effort should be focused indoors, as this is where most buyers will spend their time considering your home, says Warman.

Often kitchens and bathrooms can benefit from a repaint. If you have an older kitchen or bathroom, start by repainting the cabinetry, tiles and laminates. While many buyers plan to replace these areas, they may need to live with them the way they are for some months, if not longer, says Warman.

When looking at walls don't be tempted to touch up small areas. It's usually easier to just repaint the wall than try and touch up spots in the middle of it. Inevitably the touch up area ends up very visible, says Warman.

If you have polarising wallpaper or loud paint colours that make rooms look smaller, you might want to consider painting over them or replacing it with something more neutral, says Warman.

Harding says out of date colours from earlier decades, or unusual colours, should be repainted in neutral.

That doesn't mean stark white, says Harding, unless the home is truly minimalist and designed for that colour. Shades such as Resene Black White are better, he says.

Invariably when Harding and his colleagues see paint jobs that really impress, the homeowner has paid for the services of a colour consultant.

If you have the time and the budget, fresh paintwork throughout can be very appealing for many buyers, says Warman.

"Often the trim and ceiling may be in good condition and all that is needed is a couple of coats of wall paint throughout your home to get your home looking like new."

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