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Would You Pay $6,500 More For A House With A Charcoal Grey Kitchen?

Written by Posted On Tuesday, 05 July 2022 00:00

During the pandemic and up until February 2022, people who were selling their homes didn’t worry too much about fixing them up to impress would-be buyers. Property sales were so strong that in many cases, buyers bought houses “as is” and without a home inspection.

A survey of Royal LePage agents found that due to the sustained sellers’ market, people were less likely to consider renovating prior to listing their home for sale. Many sellers were choosing not to renovate because of recent increases in the cost of construction materials and labour. 

But now, with the market balancing out in most parts of Canada, sellers are once again thinking about how they can increase the value of their homes before putting a for sale sign on the lawn. A new survey from Zillow says one easy way to make more on a sale is by painting your kitchen charcoal grey.

“Moody dark grey is appealing to today’s home buyers because it feels contemporary and adds depth, drama and contrast to a space,” says Zillow’s Amanda Pendleton. “Painting is one of the easiest and most common projects homeowners can tackle before listing their home for sale. This research shows it pays to be strategic about the paint colours sellers select to attract more potential buyers and boost their bottom line.”

Zillow says homes with kitchens with dark grey walls “could sell for up to $6,491 more than expected, while trendy green kitchens could hurt a home’s sale price by more than $3,600.”

The company says its study of more than 3,000 prospective or recent Canadian home buyers found that when dark grey paint was used in the bedroom, buyers were willing to pay $5,074 more. In the bathroom it was $4,029 more and in the living room, $4,999 more.

The survey also showed some love for sky-blue kitchens (buyers would pay $2,612 more) and bedrooms ($1,865 more). 

But forest green bathrooms and kitchens did not impress buyers, who said they would pay, on average, $5,596 less for a home with a dark green bathroom and $3,656 less for a dark green kitchen.

“Our study found home buyers to be particularly sensitive to paint colour, despite paint being a relatively easy and inexpensive change, because they’re navigating a complex environment with a lot of uncertainty,” says Kate Rogers, a senior behavioural scientist at Zillow. “When study participants thought the homeowner had similar tastes to them, they perceived the home more positively and were also more likely to make an offer more than $2,000 higher. On the whole, recent and prospective Canadian buyers were more likely to feel similar to the homeowners when the rooms were painted a shade of grey, white or blue.”

Several paint companies announce new colour trends each year, including their own colour of the year.

For example, Benjamin Moore’s Colour of the Year 2022 is October Mist, which the company says is “a gently shaded sage that quietly anchors while encouraging creative expression through colour.”

The Dulux 2022 Colour of the Year is Olive Sprig, “a relaxed but enticing green that emulates the feeling of soothing aloe vera or a fragrant plant – brightening any space with organic liveliness,” the company says. “Olive Spring can help create a sanctuary in a bedroom, or pairs beautifully with brass accents and wood tones on an island or lower kitchen cabinets.”

Cool Current is the SICO 2022 Colour of the Year. “Both calming and alluring, this green represents a renewed world,” says SICO. “For kitchens, the colour green creates a pleasant and homey vibe and is present enough to even add a little zest to whatever dish you’re enjoying.”

Behr’s choice is also a shade of green. Breezeway is “a relaxed and uplifting sea glass green (that) brings a breath of fresh air to any space,” the company says.

The Color Guild, which is comprised of more than 60 paint manufacturers around the world, including Canada’s Cloverdale Paint, opted for a softly shaded lavender called Desireé.

BeautiTone, the in-house brand for Home Hardware, announced its first-ever Exterior Colour of the Year – Ebony. “Dark exterior colours are on-trend for 2022,” says Darryl Allen, creative manager at the brand. “No longer reserved for ultra-modern custom homes, black is showing up in the brick, trim and accents of newly constructed communities, inspired by Shou-sugi-ban, the 18th-century Japanese method of preserving wood with fire, and the Scandinavian technique of sealing wood with black pine tar.”

Zillow’s study found some regional differences. Toronto buyers were willing to pay $6,499 more for homes with a bright blue jay living room (perhaps inspired by the baseball club?). In Montreal, you may get more resale value if you paint the bathroom and living room burgundy. But Calgary buyers are on board with some of the colours of the year, saying they would pay more for mint green or sunshine yellow kitchens.

“Kitchen renovations typically yield the greatest return on investment, as this space is most frequently used, and is perceived as the gathering place and the heart of the home,” says Mike Heddle, broker and team leader at Royal LePage State Realty in Hamilton. “When a potential buyer views a home for the first time, the one thing that will stand out – for better or worse – is what the kitchen looked and felt like. They may not remember the size of the bedrooms or the colour of the walls, but they will remember the kitchen.” 

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Jim Adair

Jim Adair has been writing about Canadian real estate, home building and renovation issues for more than 40 years. He is the former editor of Canada’s leading trade magazine for real estate professionals, as well as several home building, décor and renovation titles. You can contact him at jimremonline@rogers.com

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