Home Fashion 101: Make it Or Break It, Spring Colors

by Dorothy Driver

Spring weather is here and homeowners in South Seattle and beyond are inspired to get some seasonal cleaning and sprucing up done. I recently have been helping clients who are getting their homes ready for sale and feel an uncontrollable urge to shout:  PAINT COLOR IS IMPORTANT!!!

Paint condition and color have a significant impact on a home’s value.  In general, peeling, chipped, faded or tired paint is never the best face on a home. Given you are ready, willing and able to complete a new paint job inside or out, the colors you select will influence the appeal of your property to the buying public when you get ready to sell it, and therefore the ultimate price paid.

It’s okay to let yourself go wild-set your imagination free. Just remember that when the time comes to sell, you may be repainting all those personal statements before going on the market – even if the paint is in good condition.

The Ever-Sacred Curb Appeal: Homes have “personas.”  You have about two minutes while a prospective buyer is walking from the curb to the house to create a first impression that will set the tone for how they will approach their buying decision once they are through that front door. Using bright or unusual exterior colors may make you feel like you are special or “heard,” but often prospective buyers just can’t get past it. Why? It’s just paint, right? Colors create strong emotional responses.  If the color doesn’t resonate with a buyer, or if the more extreme is true, it “screams” at a buyer, they will be uncomfortable enough to not want to venture further.

Does your house look Sophisticated? Edgy? Trendy? Out of Date? Frumpy?  What kind of expectation does the exterior create? Will people think they will find a tasteful living environment or a circus inside? Will you be taken seriously, or like a carnival ride? It is not rocket science to say that neutral colors have the broadest appeal to the buying public. Choose a paint and trim combination that goes with the era, design, or architectural style of the home, and use the front door to splash on your personal flair if you are feeling stifled. If you have a home that was remodeled over different time periods with a variety of siding materials, choosing something from a darker/dense color palette will help to blend the variations and create a more consistent appearance (darker browns, taupes, blues, grays).

Color is okay, accent walls are okay. But too many different colors can make a home feel choppy, confusing or chaotic. That doesn’t mean institutional white is the right solution.  Homes that perform the best are those that can sell a “lifestyle,” not just bedrooms and baths. There are many neutral tones in a color palette that can help create that “lifestyle.” Here are some  descriptive phrases to keep in mind when you are looking at colors:  Soft, warm, elegant, inviting, rich.  If the home is less traditional: Edgy, fun, modern, chic.  With any architectural style, it is always acceptable and safe to stay neutral and use art and furnishings to spice things up.

The point is this: There is a not-so-fine line between colorful and fractured. For ideas, look at home decorating magazines. Look at paint brochures that group paint colors by house styles – traditional, heritage, modern, etc.  Drive out to the burbs and see how new construction models are decorated-those builders pay good money for interior designers.  When in doubt, hiring an interior designer for the time it takes to have them help you make color selections is always a good investment.  Or give your savvy real estate agent a call. We are always happy to help clients make decisions that will allow them to put their best foot forward when it comes time to sell.

Remember, if “it’s just paint!” for the buyer, then “it’s just paint” for you as the seller, too.  If a buyer sees an improvement they will need to make to a property as soon as they move in, they will always discount their offer price more than the cost of making the improvement to compensate themselves for the inconvenience. Painting is one of the least expensive investments you can make to increase the value of your home and enhance your own personal enjoyment of its spaces.

Featured Image: CC Licensed image courtesy of Sarah Plynch/Flickr