When paint time arrives, did you know some homesellers risk leaving ‘money on the table’ later by not taking advantage of ‘market-friendly’ house paint colors, to more effectively attract homebuyers? What is it about house colors that can make a real difference to those buying a home? Is the adage true that paint properly applied can be worth as much as $1,000 a gallon? Are there some colors that are considered to be universally more favorable or unfavorable? And how can a homeseller know which one is best? For answers to these questions, find out more…in this edition of the Oregon Real Estate Podcast.
How Color Affects Us
The affect of color on human emotion is well known. It’s helpful to realize that buying a home can involve emotions, sometimes more than we might imagine. And because colors are all around us, sometimes we’re not even aware of the impact. Yet did you know that different colors can even influence the taste of food we eat? Compounding the effect of color on Oregonians is our often gloomy Northwest weather, as the impact of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is well documented, plus the effects of color and light are frequently inter-related. As a prospective home seller, it’s reasonable to expect certain colors to not only enhance your home’s appearance from the outside, but make it appear more livable on the inside, too.
Much of the ROI (return on investment) you receive from painting can depend on home size, price range and overall project cost. Another variable is if we’re talking painting your home’s exterior vs. the interior and the current condition of each. On a list of what can provide maximum homebuyer impact, fresh paint is one of the most significant ways to draw buyers in, then enhance value after they get inside. One survey found that painting a home’s interior results in a 107% return on investment (ROI), while painting the exterior leads to a 55% ROI.
And while an alternative approach is to offer a ‘paint credit’ to buyers, don’t expect everyone to go for such an offer, particularly buyers who have a difficult time envisioning the ‘before’ and ‘after’ effect.
More Than Money
Sometimes a higher price is just one aspect of fresh paint’s return on investment. That’s because additional ROI may instead come in the form of a faster sale. Few home improvements automatically ‘more than pay’ for themselves, but painting sometimes can. For professional suggestions on the return you can expect in your situation, consider speaking with an experienced Realtor.
You may not be considering the re-sale value of your house today. But before you schedule your home’s next paint job, there’s a good case to be made for sticking with colors that win buyers…or at the very least, not lose them. With that in mind, are there basic principles to consider for painting your house?
Some homeowners might assume all neutral exterior paint colors are appealing to potential buyers. However, that’s not always the case. Some surveys suggest if you paint your house medium brown, taupe, or stucco, you’re likely to sell for less.
However, many homebuyers like generally neutral exterior paint colors. One popular shade for homes is a mix of gray and beige, a little bit like the color of oatmeal. The benefit of using such a color is that it works in both cool and warm color schemes because it’s neutral.
Interior vs. Exterior
Painting your home’s interior can certainly increase value and help it to sell faster. But since Realtor studies consistently show that a sizable percentage of prospective homebuyers won’t even step inside if they don’t like what they see outside, let’s start with your home’s exterior.
Light, Bright & White
Many homeowners prefer white as the primary color of their home’s exterior (at least according to one survey conducted by Sears Weatherbeater Paints). White paint makes the outside of your home look more expansive, while bringing more light into a shady yard. By accentuating trim and other smaller architectural details on a lighter colored house using a different subtle, noticeable color on them, sellers can increase the resale price of their home and likely sell it faster.
Because exterior house color helps comprise a significant portion of your home’s ‘curb appeal,’ it makes sense to paint with a color with a consideration of what most people either like, or at a minimum, don’t find unattractive. What are the biggest homebuyer color turnoffs?
Avoid These Colors
As a general rule, it’s best to avoid extremes. That’s one reason why you don’t see more pink or purple homes. For interiors, one survey had 58% of respondents saying they’re least likely to decorate with orange, with some claiming it’s “way too loud.” Black and violet followed, ranking second and third on the list of colors homeowners dislike.
Consider HOA’s & CC&R’s
Depending on where you live, some neighborhoods have a homeowner’s association (HOA) and/or Codes, Covenants and Restrictions (CC&R’s) that forbid the use of certain exterior house colors, or even require the use of others. It’s not uncommon for homes within certain neighborhoods to require ‘earth tones’ or even prohibit garish colors. If you live in such a neighborhood, make sure any paint color you decide upon is approved before your project begins. To make this easier, some paint companies like Sherwin-Williams and Behr even have websites that allow homeowners to confirm what’s allowed for their particular HOA.
Your home’s front door is a focal point for your house and can directly affect the curb appeal of a property. According to one real estate study with a large sample size, homes with a blue or gray front door achieve a higher price on the market.
Consider Your Architecture
To maximize your home’s selling price, consider being less adventurous if you have a traditional style home, like a Cape Cod, Colonial or Greek Revival. That’s because those home styles are generally seen as classic architecture and many who most appreciate them are likely to desire a more traditional color. Also, brick homes frequently involve more of a focus on accent colors, with a greatly reduced volume of paint required.
The style of your home, whether Victorian, craftsman, Mediterranean or Mid-century suburban modern, can help direct your best color choices. Most style homes have ‘tried and true’ palettes that have proven themselves. Historically accurate colors enhance the architectural style of your home, but also enhance resale value. Historical societies can often help, as well as architectural and design firms. Paint company Sherwin-Williams even has a website that features historic exterior palettes.
One mistake homeowners make when choosing outdoor paint colors is not considering their home’s existing materials. The roof, brick and stone all have colors that should be part of the overall color scheme. Some brick or stone is peachy brown; others are bluish gray, and others are reddish rust. Coordinate paint so it has undertones of those materials. “If the bricks are cool, stay cool.”
Tie It Together With Trim & Accent
When you pick a house color, you should probably pick at least two, probably three and possibly four colors: These include the main field color, a trim color for windows and roof lines; an accent color for shutters, architectural accents and doors and some make the door a fourth color. One trick when selecting trim is to select your field color, then choose a hue on the same color strip that is two or three shades lighter, or even darker, than the field color. That way you know they work together. For accent colors, you can be more adventerous. Most paint companies offer exterior color schemes to help consumers put together attractive combinations.
Are You A Do-It-Yourselfer?
Painting your own home can be a big job. But if you’re a DIY, here’s a link to some helpful professional exterior painting hints to make the task easier.
On The Inside
Since Seasonal Affective Disorder is more prevalent in Oregon than southern climes, for rooms with minimal exposure to the sun, consider an extra light touch. A beneficial side affect is that lighter colors also tend to make rooms look larger. Light and bright walls are more reflective, making rooms seem more open, which leverages the effect of natural light. Alternatively, darker colors tend to absorb light and make a room look smaller.
For smaller homes and rooms, consider shades of off-white, blue, green or yellow and realize brighter rooms look bigger and more inviting. Try painting your wall trim and moldings in a lighter color than your walls. Walls will then appear farther away, making your house interior seem bigger.
Don’t Be A ‘Creeper’
Especially with interior paint work, understand that sometimes HIC (Home Improvement Creep) rears its ugly head. That’s because once you have your beautiful looking walls painted, you start to notice your carpet doesn’t look so good, or your cabinets seem ‘tired.’ You get the idea. So before breaking out the paint cans, consider what else you might be able to budget in order to get the most for your time and money.
Housepainting Tips to Maximize Return
Consider consulting a professional, such as a painter, paint company and/or an interior decorator.
Consider your neighborhood and how neighboring paint schemes may complement each other.
Consider your home’s environment.
Consider your home’s architecture. Blue or red may not work well with a traditional farmhouse.
Thinking About Selling Your Oregon Home?
For a free consultation about what your home could sell for in today’s market, use the form below to contact our Oregon Real Estate Podcast host, Realtor Roy Widing.