Don't Use a Paint Brush... when touching up paint

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Don't Use a Paint Brush... when touching up paint.

by Terri Woods 

I recently received a repair addendum from a prospective buyer of one of my luxury home listings in North Albany, OR.  The home is decorated as a beautiful luxury home would be expected, with large pictures and mirrors.  In the repair addendum, the buyer asked for the nail holes to be repaired by a professional painter.  And I fully understand why.

In my years as an agent, I have seen Nail Hole Repairs Gone Bad!  Normally, after the inspection has been fully negotiated, the well-meaning seller starts to pack, taking the pictures off the walls.  It is at that time that the seller notices some prominent nail holes in the wall.Terri Woods Nail Hole Patching Gone Bad

So, the seller goes about repairing the nail holes, taking some spackling, filling in the area, maybe sanding if necessary, and then gets the paint can from the garage, a paint brush, and paints over the nail hole AND the surrounding area.  

The problem is... the paint on the wall has faded and now, thus not the same color as the paint in the can.  The touch-up is very visible after drying.  What was a small nail hole has now become a 3 inch by 3 inch area.

I am sure you have seen these homes before.  And now, the buyer must either paint the entire room again, or hang something over that spot to cover up the Seller's good intention that went wrong!

SOLUTION:  So here is my tip of the day.  When you have a nail hole, get some spackling and fill the hole. Try to clean off any areas other than the nail hole with a damp paper towel.  Sometimes, the nail hole will blend in at that point and no further touch-up is necessary.

However, if touch-up is necessary, take a Q-tip and dab on the paint only on the nail hole after the spackling has dried.  99% of the time, the touch-up will blend in with the wall texture.  I promise, this works well.

I would rather have a seller leave a nail hole then attempt to fix it and leave splotches over the wall.

If you are considering buying or selling in Corvallis or North Albany, Oregon, I would love to be of service to you.  Contact me at

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Comments (3)

Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

Terri what a great post and fantastic advice to potential sellers! I hope they are listening to you, Endre

Jun 15, 2013 04:16 PM
Scott Gleason
RE/MAX Select - Westfield, NJ
Westfield NJ New Homes Specialist

This is what I love about AR--search almost any subject and find super advice or perspective.  thanks for this great article I am passing to my client.

Jul 15, 2014 06:55 AM
Suzanne Otto
Six Twenty Designs - Lansdale, PA
Your Montgomery County PA home stager

Good tip. I would have recommended the seller do a repaint anyway before putting the house on the market. This way there's no faded or discolored paint when you go to do touch-ups. 

Jul 15, 2014 11:34 PM