Experts' CornerPaint

Paint Colors Lift Home Values

Zillow report analyzes how colors affect selling prices

One of the easiest and least expensive ways to transform the look and feel of a home is to add a fresh coat of paint. And, when you’re in the paint business, the more paint you sell, the better. It doesn’t matter if the customer requests eggplant purple or turkey feather brown, if it’s on the color chart, your job is to mix it and make them happy. But, according to real estate website Zillow, there’s a lot more to selecting paint colors than meets the eye–especially if your customer is in the market to sell their home at the best possible price.

Zillow’s Paint Color Analysis reviewed 135,000 photos from 50,000 homes sales across the country to determine how room colors affected the selling price of homes. It found that some colors can boost the selling price by at least $5,000, while others can drag the price down in the opposite direction. “For sale listings with cool, neutral wall colors generate more money. Buyers find homes painted in cool neutrals appealing because they feel the home is well cared for and may have other features, they will find attractive. Whereas homes with white, yellow or red walls can sell for less than expected.”

Colors Translate into Dollars
Homes with bathrooms in shades of powder blue of periwinkle fetched premium prices, selling at $5,400 more than expected. Pale gray and oatmeal colored walls performed well. The colors of a home’s exterior also impact the prices buyers are willing to pay. Zillow found homes painted in “greige” (a mix of gray and beige) sold for almost $3,500 more than similar styles painted in medium brown or covered in tan stucco. When it comes to front doors, buyers like bursts of colors ranging from dark navies to slate grays.

Surprisingly, the lack of color had the biggest negative impact on sales. Homes with white bathrooms sold at prices $4,000 below homes in similar categories. “Color can be a powerful tool for attracting buyers to a home, especially in listing photos and videos,” says Svenja Gudell, Zillow chief economist. “Painting walls in fresh, natural-looking colors, particularly in shades of blue and pale gray not only make a home feel larger, but are also neutral enough to help future buyers envision themselves living in the space. Incorporating light blue in kitchens and bathrooms may pay off especially well as the color complements white countertops and cabinets, a growing trend in both rooms.”

The Bottom Line

Armed with this information, sellers might want to invest more time in selecting colors before putting a house on sale. “If a seller decides to repaint before listing, she should consider shades that may be more likely to boost the closing price,” says Kerrie Kelly, home design expert with Zillow Digs, the home improvement business owned by Zillow.

What does all of this mean to you? Paint sales are big business in many home improvement operations. Understanding how colors influence specific aspects of our lives and being aware of color trends will help your staff make the consumer shopping experience more productive and meaningful.

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