Paint your house. Almost every homeowner hears that piece of advice when they’re preparing to sell. After all, adding a fresh coat of paint is a fast — and inexpensive — way to spruce up a home for prospective buyers.
But before you buy gallons of paint at the hardware store, it’s important to choose your colors wisely. According to a Zillow study, certain colors can help you sell your home — and for a bigger price tag — while others could leave you seeing red.
How can painting help you sell your house?
When done effectively, a well-staged — and painted — home invites prospective buyers to imagine themselves living there. A fresh coat of paint covers the scrapes and marks that inevitably come from daily use, making a home appear fresh and new. Paint can also create a more open and inviting home. Using the same paint color in adjoining rooms gives the illusion of space. Likewise, darker colors can close off rooms, making them appear smaller.
Neutral colors offer buyers a blank canvas — a place where they can move in and make themselves at home with their own furniture and style. Neutral doesn’t necessarily mean white. It ranges in hue from light to medium and warm to cool tone. In Zillow’s analysis of more than 135,000 photos from residential listings sold between January 2010 and May 2018, they found specific colors associated with homes that sold for more or less than their Zestimate as compared to similar homes painted white.
Here’s a breakdown of what colors could put more money in your pocket when you list your home.
Paint Colors that Scientifically Sell for More
The color potential begins before a buyer ever steps inside a home. “Greige” exteriors — a mixture of gray and beige — sold for $1,526 more than homes painted white. At the same time, houses with a charcoal or black front door sold for $6,271 more.
While it may be tempting to bulk buy paint for your home’s interior, the Zillow study found that buyers may prefer variety from room to room.
While the on-trend kitchen wall color varies from year to year — with pale yellows selling best in 2017 and light blues in 2018 — one constant has been in cabinet colors. Tuxedo cabinets gave sellers the most bang for their buck. By pairing light upper cabinets with dark lower cabinets and kitchen islands, homeowners saw an average of $1,547 more in their home sale. Try painting the top tier of cabinets white with a dark navy or black paint below the counter. Put a light color on your wall for more contrast and to give your room a welcome pop of color.
Buyers are looking for a relaxing oasis in their bathrooms. On average, Zillow found that homes with a gray-blue tint, frequently called periwinkle blue, sold for an average of $2,786 more than a white bathroom. Think of an early morning ocean view at a luxurious day spa for your bathroom walls.
When it comes to setting a tone for bedrooms, prospective buyers are looking for peace and serenity. Blue is a calming color, and homes with blue-tinted bedrooms sold for $1,856 more on average. Look for a matte soft cerulean blue accented by white baseboards or light natural wood to create the ultimate Zen setting that will send the homeowners off to a restful dreamworld.
We aren’t done with blues just yet. Zillow’s study found that blue dining rooms earned an average of more than $1,926 during a sale. This time, go for a more gray- or slate-blue color to make a clean and formal room for hosting dinner parties. A word of caution. If a blue dining room isn’t your style, avoid substituting a color with brown in it. Dining rooms with brown tints sold for $1,684 less than white rooms.
Branch out in your living room with a light taupe color on your walls. Taupe living rooms netted an average of $2,793 more than white walls. Go for a warm tan with pink or peach undertones. If you want an accent, pick a darker, complementary shade.
How to Choose the Best Paint Colors for Your Home
Ultimately, when it comes to painting your home to sell, it’s best to leave personal preferences aside. While you may love your barn red kitchen, leaving it that color could cost you. Zillow found that red kitchens sold for $2,310 less than white kitchens on average. Likewise yellow exteriors went for $3,408 less.
You should also avoid picking colors because they are this year’s hottest tone. While avocado might have been the height of sophistication in the 1950s and 1960s, by the 1980s, everything was mauve and teal. Going with a more neutral color palette will speak to more buyers and give your home a timeless, classic appeal.
To choose the best neutral color to help your home sell, draw inspiration from your surroundings. If you live in the Southwest, sandy neutrals will pair well with your surroundings both on interior and exterior walls. You might also consider checking other listings in your area. If you see homes with certain wall colors selling faster than others, you’ll have a good idea. To save yourself the research, you can also seek out the advice of an experienced agent who will tell you more about expectations in your local market.
It’s also important to remember that some Homeowners Associations have strict rules about color, particularly with exteriors. In some cases, you could be fined for painting outside of their requirements, which will also affect the bottom line. If you belong to an HOA, find out if they have suggestions on paint color.
Whatever you decide for paint color, know it can pay to do your research before you invest the time and elbow grease into your home.