Sunday, February 18, 2018

Does Wall Color Really Matter When Selling Your Home? (Spoiler: Yes.)

We all want to believe that we make decisions only after we've logically examined the facts. But are we really objective about how we decide things?

We buy cars that eat too much fuel but look luxurious, and shoes that feel uncomfortable but make us look sexy.

Emotions refuse to take a minor role when it comes to buying a house, too.

Home buyers are influenced by intangibles like aromas, sounds, memories, textures, and colors. Even buyers who collect all the pertinent data about things like price per square foot, neighborhood comparables, and average utility bills respond to a property on an emotional level as well.

As a home seller, your task is to make buyers fall in love with your home on all levels. Data matters to buyers, but so do the intangibles. Color is one of those intangibles.

Of all the surfaces in your home, walls are the largest. People touring your home will be surrounded by walls. That means wall color has a big impact on emotions. So it's  important to know what colors make buyers feel good.

Surveys Show

In 2016, approximately 560,000 new houses sold nationwide. Even though it's starting to look more like a seller's market in some areas of the country doesn't mean it's easy to convince a buyer to make that offer. Buyers expect homes to be well-maintained and look pleasing. Paint satisfies in both those departments. It protects and beautfies.

Certain colors are almost expected in certain rooms.
Bathrooms are a natural for pale blues, greens and teals.
Photo: M .House Montgomery 
The best part about painting is its cost-effectiveness. Whether you do it yourself, or hire others to do it, painting gives you one of the best returns on your staging budget. The right color can actually have a better ROI than a big-ticket renovation, according to real estate agents and home staging professionals I've talked with.

An interior design trends survey from 2017 found that more than one-third of respondents would choose a neutral color palette if they were redecorating their home. It's no surprise, then, that "greige" -- pale gray with a beige undertone -- and off-whites are still very popular choices when choosing a new hue for home staging.

Three Boxes to Check Off

We've all heard the advice that neutral wall colors will deliver the clean, non-polarizing canvas that allows buyers to picture themselves in your home.

The interior design industry generates around $10 billion in revenue every year. This figure tells me the average homeowner values her home's interior decor. She wants the latest looks. She wants comfort. And when looking to buy, she wants a turnkey property. Paint can go a long way towards creating all three of those ideals.

ONE: Today's Style 

Paint colors go in and out of style. Grey is still riding high and whites are always stylish. When you paint with a grey or white that plays well with the fixed features of your home, you've checked off the box for colors that are on-trend.

TWO: Comfort  

The colors that telegraph the comfort buyers are looking for are the colors that are not dark, unusual,  highly saturated, or otherwise alarming.

These wall colors -- turquoise and chartreuse -- are the kinds of colors that a new homeowner might find difficult to decorate around. Deep colors like these have too much personality. 
Also, it will probably take two coats of paint to change the color to something more buyer-friendly.. 

Bathrooms feel right when they are painted with cool colors, perhaps due to the association with water and cleanliness. Kitchens, bedrooms and living rooms can go either warm or cool, depending on the other features, like cabinets, countertops, and floors. Select comfy colors and you can check off box number two.

THREE: Move-in ready

Many buyers need to move out of their old homes and into new ones on the same day. Most people do not enjoy painting interior walls, especially if they are already living there. For these reasons, when you make your property turnkey, it's more appealing.

Choose interior colors anyone could love and you've removed the hurdle of a looming DIY project. Check off box number three.


With walls this color, the new owner can easily visualize her existing
furnishings in the space. Photo: Alyssa Rosenheck.
After you've finished rolling neutral paint on, you may need to really take stock of your furnishings and weed out the "color clutter," according to You might love that colorful duvet cover or crazy abstract painting you have, but if it doesn't go with the palette you've chosen, you might need to rethink. Aim for a soothing palette.

If your rooms begin to look boring, it's time to add color where it isn't a permanent part of your house. Here is where accessories like pillows, rugs,
books, and other props come in handy.

Choose these props with an eye to a color scheme based on three colors, all of the same intensity. It's a foolproof formula for a seamless look stagers prefer.

When your home on the market feels as special as those luxury cars and sexy shoes, buyers are attracted to it on a visceral level. Result: Up go your chances of a good purchase offer.

If you are selling any kind of home, you can get more tips on staging it in my $4.99 eBooks. Download and start staging your own home today so you'll attract a serious buyer.

Top photo: Phoebe Howard

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