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Color Cues: How to Choose Colors That Sell a House

Are you selling your home?

Selling a house can be exciting as it can be stressful. And learning to look at your home objectively is easier said than done, but it can be extremely valuable to look at your home from a buyer’s perspective – yielding a faster sale and potentially a higher price. Who doesn’t want to get top asking price for their house? We all know to detail our cars before selling them, so why is it so hard to apply the same principle when we sell a house?

For starters, a home is very personalized. It’s also bigger and there’s a lot more surface area to “detail” both inside and out. To help you detail your house before you sell it, we’ll discuss tips for detailing the exterior of your home, more specifically, what colors to use.

Six ways color can help you sell a house.

1. Washing your house can give it a fresh look.

Step back and look at the exterior of your home. A quick pressure wash is a good place to start. Now that it’s clean, does it look fresh, warm and inviting? Or has it faded over time? Is it bland and/or the same color as the rest of the neighborhood? Buyers are going to be touring various homes, so you’ll want yours to make an impact.

2. Painting your home? Stick with classic colors.

Now, here’s where you need to proceed with caution – after all, painting your home “Barney” purple will leave quite an impression – of terror. I recommend sticking with classic colors. If all the homes in your neighborhood are beige, a variation of white can give your home a fresh look depending on the style. Or perhaps you may consider a soft yellow to bring some life to the exterior without going overboard.

Take a hard look at the aspects of your home you don’t intend to change. What color are the roof and the windows? Would a new color scheme still work with these?

3. Add a second body color for greater impact.

Of course, repainting your home could be an expensive undertaking. One recent trend in exteriors is to have a second body color. Applying this technique to an older home can have tremendous impact and cost less. I love the idea of adding a second paint tone to highlight the entrance of a home or a key architectural feature.

4. Freshen your trim color.

An even less expensive option would be to change the trim color around your doors and windows. If there isn’t enough contrast between the trim color and the main body color, this would be a great alternative to repainting the entire house. Pay attention to the color of your windows. If you have white or almond windows, you don’t want to trim them with a dark color.

5. Change up your shutter color.

Perhaps changing the accent color of your home would create enough impact. Better yet, you may decide to replace your shutters with new, maintenance-free, pre-colored shutters. Buying pre-colored shutters would help you stay in within a classic color family and they won’t fade or fall apart before you sell your home.

6. Add a fresh coat of paint to your front door.

If you do nothing else, at least consider painting your front door. This is the first thing home buyers will notice, and it is where you can get away with being a little more daring. Picture your buyers standing on the front porch of the house you’re selling, admiring the fresh new color, while their realtor fumbles with the lock box. What a great place to create a first impression!

Final thoughts on selling a home.

There are those that believe it is best to play it safe when it comes to color. While it is true that you don’t want to scare away buyers with a purple house, color can be a powerful tool for a seller and memorable aspect for home buyers!


Deryl Patterson

Author: Deryl Patterson

Deryl Patterson is an award-winning designer with more than 30 years of experience and the president and founder of Housing Design Matters, Inc., specializing in residential architecture. Deryl’s passion is creating better places for people to live and her goal is to constantly improve how people live in and use their homes. Prior to starting Housing Design Matters, she was a partner at BSB Design (Bloodgood Sharp Buster) for 15 years. Deryl is married with three grown children and applies her experience as a working mother to all of her home designs. She is a graduate of the University of Cincinnati with a Bachelor of Architecture and is a registered architect in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina. Deryl’s memberships include the American Institute of Architects, Urban Land Institute, National Association of Home Builders and serves as a board member with the North East Florida Builder Association. She is a frequent speaker at national and local conventions.

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