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Paint Your House A Color No One Likes

by | Mar 1, 2023

I’m not suggesting you paint your house a bland color out of spite, but because I want you to sell your house for as much money as possible. If you have a strong emotional reaction to a color, positive or negative, then you probably should not put it on your house if you’re trying to sell it.

Generally, houses sell for more money when painted colors to which no one has strong emotional reactions. A recent Zillow study found that neutral colors boosted a home’s value by thousands of dollars. A USA Today article describes what we’ll call the “color journey” of Carole Goeas, whose agent recommended painting her condo a neutral “Burnished Clay” in order to sell it. Goeas said “I hated the name of the paint and would never have picked it.” However, her condo sold in ten days for $600,000, which was the price she wanted. According to her agent, the color made the condo look much larger.

Most people do not have strong emotional reactions to neutral colors; it’s rare to hear someone say their favorite color is light taupe. However, when painting a house on the inside or outside, it’s not about the color itself, but about how it makes the house feel. Generally, vibrant colors have a shrinking effect on a home. Intense colors are usually richer and darker, and since dark paint absorbs light, darker rooms appear smaller.

According to Zillow, colorful rooms were indeed better at capturing attention from buyers initially, but this did not predict how likely these buyers were to make an offer on those homes. Zillow’s senior behavioral scientist Kate Rogers says “Our study found homebuyers may be particularly sensitive to paint color… because they’re navigating a complex environment with a lot of uncertainty.”

Vibrant colors that are different or atypical may be fun, but they can also feel risky to buyers. Wearing an intense, vibrant color is often seen as daring, but being daring and wild while taking out a massive home loan doesn’t feel great. Your listing may get noticed if your home is an attention-getting color, but when it comes time to actually spend hundreds of thousands of dollars, buyers might stay away. The more safe and neutral your home feels, the better it feels as an investment.

Another factor to consider is that your home should feel like a canvas to a buyer; most buyers assume they are going to make at least a few changes to a home. A neutral canvas lets a buyer easily imagine what they’d like to do to the home, even if what they’d like to do is paint it an insane color. Let the buyer make the bold choice; don’t make it for them.





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