Color Sells Real Estate!

SAY “Yes” to Color!

There was an article in Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate about Color Theory and how to use it to decorate your home. This article was promoted as: “Can the right colors sell a home? Yes they can! How to use the psychology of color to choose the right ones when preparing a home for sale:”

My only challenge is that the article didn’t address the statement in the Facebook promotion. It didn’t explain how color helps sell a home, merely how to use color to decorate.

What exactly is Color Psychology?

From one of our most valued colleagues, Angela Wright, and one of the best sources for understanding Color Psychology, here is a quote from Colour Affects defining the concept of Color Psychology: (Note, the word color is spelled colour in some countries, thus, below you may find the spellings change depending on the author.

“It is the effects of the electro-magnetic radiation of light on human mood and behaviour — a universal, psychophysical reaction, which is not as heavily influenced by culture, age and gender as is generally thought.”

Psychological Properties Of Colours

“There are four psychological primary colours — red, blue, yellow and green. They relate respectively to the body, the mind, the emotions and the essential balance between these three.”

The Psychology of Color has long been used in the Advertising business, as every graphic designer is trained to know the affects of a color, a font, and the combinations of these things. Lately, even though I’ve been using the Psychology of Color for the last 14 years in my Market-Ready Home Consults, the concept of color to sell a home has been seen in more and more news articles. Perhaps it is true that the pioneers lead the way and others will follow. Allow me to share a story that conveys the use of color and the bad affects of some unknowledgeable real estate agents and home stagers have had upon home sellers, and not only them, but upon the home buyer and ultimately the negative affect such bad decisions can have upon their real estate career.

“I really think this room should be a dark purple, it wants to be that color.” I commented to a homeowner once while walking through the Dining room. The response almost brought tears to the lady’s eyes as she stated,“Are you serious? Did you talk to someone about how this room used to look?

I reply, “No, it’s just that the energy of this room is about that color. Why?”
The lady slowly discloses, “It used to be beautiful, my dining room, it was a deep purple with a gold wash. That is until our Realtor told us it was too bold and we had to paint it a neutral color.”

Stand back for a moment as this is one of my ‘soap box’ issues, and I eagerly commented, “What!? You mean it was that color and someone told you to paint it? And, you agreed to spend money and paint it beige after spending money to have a professional faux finish? I cannot believe that the old school still tells everyone to ‘paint it all neutral.”

Color Sells! It is what gives life to the house.

Buyers usually form some sort of emotional attachment to a particular house; and color, when used correctly, can create a strong and positive emotional experience for a buyer which generally translates into them presenting an offer. When you’re out looking at houses, which ones do you remember? Do you notice the all beige houses, or do you remember that house with the striking deep red Dining Room, comforting gray Living Room, and that soft green Bedroom?

“I hate it when I hear stories like yours,” I continued, “about a Realtor or some other Staging or Design ‘specialist’ telling you to paint it all back to a neutral beige color. I hate beige, well, unless it’s a color that really works with the house. We all need color, even when selling a house. However, there are times when we do have to tone it down a bit. If the color feels right, looks good, and works with the house then leave it and never allow anyone to talk you into changing it to a neutral color, not even me.”

Good-Bye and Hello to Success!

The Realtor that originally told this particular home seller to paint everything neutral was fired, the home was repainted, a new Realtor was hired and the home sold within 10 days close to asking price.

If the house needs painting because you have repaired some damaged drywall or because the paint is worn, old, and just does not look good; then stop for a moment and ask yourself what should the new color be? Too much color can cause a buyer to be over whelmed, but colors that blend and work with the home’s architecture can create a powerful experience for the buyer, an experience they will remember while searching for their new home.

Here are some basic guides for color in a home while it is on the market. I realize that selecting colors for a house can be challenging, so if you’re unsure about the use of color in selling a home, it is always a good choice to hire a color professional, so feel free to Get In Touch with me, as I know I can help you.

Front Door

If the front door is set back from the front of the home, in the shadows and recesses, then it is a good idea to paint the door a very light color, a color that will work with the other colors of the home, but also a color that will create attention on the front door. By creating attention for the front door, this allows energy to flow into the home, and also directs a buyer into the home.

Exterior Colors

The exterior colors of the home should work with any brick or stone on the exterior. A general rule is to always utilize an odd number of colors for the exterior, 3 colors (some Victorian style homes may require up to 7 colors or more) are good. The use of the colors is to create depth, contrast and interest for the home. There will be a color for the siding, a color for the trim, and a color for the windows and doors (the door may be a totally different color, so it’s OK to have it as the forth color).

Look at the house for a moment, what colors are in the brick and stone if the house has them? Look around your neighborhood, how is color used in the other homes? Do you live in a neighborhood with a Home Owner’s Association (HOA)? If so, then you’ll want to check your Contracts, Covenants, and Restrictions (CC&R) to see what colors are already approved or what the process might be to get your colors approved. Please do not use strong colors for your exterior (except for front doors and small accents), as you don’t want the house to stand out too much, well, unless you live in South or East Austin where boldly painted homes are the norm.

Interior Colors

The interior of the home should create an experience; the colors used as a back drop that sets the stage for the experience of each room. The colors should flow from one room or space to the next. Flooring and trim are usually the same color or material as they are the one item that will flow, or lead, from one space into the next. Colors used in the interior should work with each other and work with the architectural elements of the home. Not every room or space needs to be painted a color, some areas can be neutral.

Think about the house and ask what areas do you want to draw attention to? Is there a fireplace, are there a set of windows that have incredible views, or is there a space that just seems dark or lifeless?

A Note from Sebastian — Set the Stage!

To set the stage for a buyer you’ll want to use color to lead the buyer from one room to the next and pull their attention to special areas of the home. Colors should never be a sudden experience. The colors used in one room should be introduced in the previous room through the colors of accessories, furniture, or other things in the room. Think about the flow of the colors; that is, when you see a color in one room, is it connected to another room? The walls that are painted a special color, do they create a positive experience for the buyer or do they distract the buyer from seeing the features of the home? If in doubt about what colors to use, then always go back to the neutral colors, but also trust your intuition and instincts about a color. If you feel that a certain color should be in a room, then use that color, not because it is a color you like, but because it is a color that works for the house.

Please don’t select colors because you personally like them. There have been many times while working with clients that the colors selected have been colors we disliked, but those colors worked for the house and created a positive experience and looked really good in that house.

Not every color will work for every home, colors, like people, have a place where they are appreciated, valued, and can inspire. So choose your home’s colors wisely, not only for yourself, but for the home.

“Dark grey walls, a midnight blue ceiling, and white trim described the Master Bedroom; deep Eggplant purple was the guest bathroom; vibrant yellow highlighted the Kitchen and Dining Room; a single royal blue wall against the stone fireplace in the Living Room; and a deep red, with a slight pink hue about it, finished off the color spectrum of the old Leander, Texas, ranch house. Even though many people said it was too much color, I kept it that way, mainly because it worked and looked awesome. The couple that bought the house bought it because they loved the colors. So you see; color can make a huge difference in how a buyer feels about a home.” commented Sebastian.

Buyers remember homes with great color over all of the other ones they visited with neutral paint everywhere. What experiences have you had with color and Real Estate home sales?

Written by Sebastian Barrett St.Troy of Doors & Gables, Austin, TX, USA

If you need assistance in preparing a home for sale, selecting the right colors for your home, or any design help, please Get In Touch with me.

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