Talking Real Estate

How Much Paint Should You Buy?

Conventional wisdom says that it takes approximately one gallon of paint to cover a room up to 400 square feet, but this is a single-coat estimate is for a small room like a bathroom, according to But other variables impact how much paint you should buy, such as the size and number of doors to the room, the height of the ceiling, the size and number of windows and whether you have crown molding, wainscotting and other decorative elements. 

Your favorite brand of paint most likely has a rough online calculation tool, such as, as well as a more detailed estimate. To make sure you have enough, round up to the nearest gallon. That way, you’ll have some leftover paint for touch-ups. If there’s any doubt, confirm the amount by taking your room measurements to your local paint dealer.

There are some circumstances where you’ll need more product. If you’re painting dark walls a lighter color or trying to cover stains or odors, you’ll want to cover the area with a primer before you begin painting. recommends that you use primer to cover everything from permanent marker, graffiti, grease and nicotine stains to stains from water damage, rust or ferrous (iron-based) stains. Severe stains such as those caused by fires, pets, smoke, floods or bodily fluids may require the help of professionals.

Be sure to keep notebook or online record of the color, brand and type of paint you choose.

Renting Out a Room in Your Home

We’re living in a sharing economy, says, so it should be no surprise that 69% of homeowners in a recent survey would rent out part of their home if it had a separate entrance, kitchen and bathroom and 32% have already rented out a room, space or outdoor feature on their property.

You can generate extra income by renting out a space in your home, but the price is a loss of privacy. You’ll be a landlord, so you’ll need to know about renting as a business, your community’s regulations and fair housing laws. recommends finding out about your homeowners’ association regulations, town zoning laws or ordinances, and fair housing laws. You may need a permit and may be required to provide a separate private entrance for the renter’s use, a private bathroom and a way for the tenant to lock up their belongings.

Renting to a roommate/housemate is a little different than typical federal fair housing laws allow. You can advertise for a male or female roommate, for example, if you’re sharing the house, but if you’re renting a separate space like a garage apartment, fair housing laws would apply.

Ask your homeowner insurance agent to see if you need extra or specific coverage. Keep careful records including utilities and maintenance costs to report the extra income correctly. Take photos of the space to show how it looks before a renter moves in.

To find renters, look for organizations such as college housing advocates,, and senior centers.

How to Negotiate with Difficult Sellers

Before you submit an offer to buy a home, you don’t know how the seller is going to respond. Some sellers are challenging – they don’t want complications or compromises. They can demand all-cash offers, no inspections and for you to pay over list price. The only thing you can do is make it hard for the seller to be difficult.

Ask your Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices network professional to contact the seller's agent to find out what the seller wants as far as terms, if they’re open to doing any repairs and if other offers are on the table. The seller will appreciate knowing you’re trying to craft a reasonable offer.

Consider the seller’s feelings and don’t be critical of their home. Keep your intentions to remodel or tear the house down quiet. Low-balling a seller will only make them angry, so make your offer fair.  Include a copy of your lender’s pre-approval letter, along with a cover letter summarizing your strengths as a buyer and why you love this home. You can also include a copy of the comparable market analysis you used to illustrate how you arrived at the offer price.  

If you ask the seller to extend the closing date or accommodate another contingency, be prepared to make a concession, such as a higher offer price or waiver on repairs. The more your offer matches up with the seller's needs in terms of price, move-out dates and closing, the more likely your offer will be graciously accepted.