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For Sale by Owner Articles • - How to Prepare a Home to Sell

Paint Like the Pros

By Courtney Ronan
Painting your home is a formidable task. It requires patience, attention to detail and the luxury of time. Most of us are lucky to have one of those elements, and the possession of all three might be an impossible dream. Hiring someone to do the job for you, of course, will save you time and possible frustration, but it can be an expensive proposition. If you're willing to give it a go yourself, you can, indeed, pull it off on your own, and by following a few simple guidelines, you'll be able to disguise the occasional lapse in artistry.
Get started buy purchasing a large bucket -- around 4 to 5 gallons -- as well as a paint screen. Buy a roller with an extension handle to save yourself the aggravation of performing a balancing act on a ladder (and possibly injuring yourself in the process). If you opt for a paint tray, be sure to place it inside a plastic trash bag before you pour your paint inside. This will save you the hassle of cleaning the tray later. Just toss the bag, and the tray requires no clean-up.
Pour in some of your paint, and place the screen inside the bucket. When you're ready to roll, dip your roller inside the paint -- but don't drown it. Then run your roller over the screen to remove excess paint. The painting process itself isn't particularly difficult if you're concentrating on walls that are free of door frames or windows. You may consider using a small brush as you approach those areas. Don't worry if your paint rolls over those surfaces. A little turpentine and a paper towel should do the job. You may also consider using a "sponge-paint" technique on your walls, which not only gives your walls a textured look; it also gives you considerably more leeway for imperfection.
As you paint, you're going to make a few mistakes. Nobody expects results that could rival Picasso. The good news is that it's not very difficult to touch up your little flaws. To save yourself unnecessary frustration, it's probably best to wait until the end of your job to do a "walk-through" and figure out which places need touch-ups. This is where that leftover paint will come in handy. Even if it's just a shallow puddle at the bottom of your bucket, don't toss it. Instead, grab a funnel, and run the extra paint through it into a plastic squeeze bottle (similar to those that hold mustard or ketchup). But don't squirt a blob onto your wall.
Instead, squeeze a small drop onto a paper towel or small paintbrush, and apply gently to your walls for a subtle touch-up. If you still have more paint in the squeeze bottle when you're finished with your touch-up, place a label on the bottle that states which room in your home the paint is allocated for, and then store it for future jobs. You never know when you or a fellow family member will inadvertently cause a scuff mark that needs to be touched up, and if you don't save yourself a supply of that paint for corrections, you may experience difficulty trying to locate the same shade -- particularly if a long period of time has lapsed since you painted the room. After all, paint shades go in and out of style much like fashions.
As you continue painting, your roller may begin to "fuzz." The best way to deal with this dilemma is to wait until the roller dries, then run a wire or other coarse-material brush over the roller to remove excess fuzz and material picked up from your walls, and create a smoother surface that absorbs paint more readily.
When you're ready to quit at the end of the day, but you plan to resume your painting tomorrow, you'll need to store your roller properly. If you plan to continue using the same paint tomorrow, don't clean your roller. Instead, wrap it in alumninum foil, and place it in your freezer. A couple of hours before you resume your painting the next day, remove the roller from your freezer, and place it in the sun. When your roller has thawed, it's ready for use.
When you're finished painting -- or you're ready to change colors and need to clean your roller -- head outdoors and turn on your garden hose. The pressure of the water flow will clean your roller faster and more effectively than simply running it under the kitchen faucet. If you're completely finished painting, wrap your roller in plastic wrap, and store it in a paper bag. It will be as good as new the next time you feel inspired to paint. If you have enough paint left over to store, seal up the cans, and place them upside down. This will prevent the formation of a "skin" layer on the top. (Just be careful that you screw those lids on tightly.)
You don't have to be an artist to pull off the task of painting your home on your own. Take your time, and recruit a buddy or family member if you can. It brings a sense of fun to the job, and it's easier than you might think to recruit help; while most of us don't like to admit it, painting brings out the kid in all of us. Most important, you'll save money and experience the pride of having done the job on your own.

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