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Using color psychology to sell your house

When painting your home for resale, choosing the right colors can make a big difference to your paycheck at closing. For example, did you know that the exterior color of the fastest selling homes is a certain shade of yellow, but choosing the wrong shade of yellow can ruin a sale?

You’ll find many brochures at paint stores listing various exterior paint color combinations. But most people don’t realize that most of those combinations actually include three colors, not just two. Limiting your exterior paint scheme to just two colors also limits your earning potential.

For a quick sale, think about fun colors and opt for a third or even fourth exterior color. Think “Disneyland Main Street” where each store is painted in glorious multi-colored colors. Adding more colors will also add definition to the various architectural details in your home. Use gloss or semi-gloss paint on wood trim.

The psychology of exterior colors

When choosing exterior colors, consider the sale price of your home. Certain colors, especially muted and complex tones, appeal to wealthy or highly educated buyers, while lower-income or less educated buyers generally prefer simpler colors. A complex color contains shades of gray or brown and usually requires more than one word to describe it, such as “sage green” rather than “green.”

On the other hand, simple colors are simple and pure. Homes in the lower price range typically sell faster and for higher prices when painted in simple colors like yellow or tan, accented with white, blue, or green trim.

The psychology of interior colors

Using colored, rather than bland, white walls will increase your earning potential. Lynette Jennings tested the perception of room size and color and found that a room painted white seemed larger to a few people compared to an identical room painted color, and the perceived difference was only six inches! Most people also look their best when surrounded by color and feel happiest, and since buyers choose homes that make them feel happy, that knowledge can put dollars in your pocket at closing!

The entries should bring the exterior colors into the house. Repeating the exterior tones throughout your house will make the whole house appear to be in harmony. Living rooms and family rooms painted in a slightly lighter shade of the exterior color will ensure that you’ve chosen a color your buyers like, because if they didn’t like your exterior colors, they wouldn’t have bothered looking inside. If they loved the exterior colors, they’ll love the interior too.

When choosing interior colors, consider the use of each room. For example, kitchen and dining areas that are painted “food colors” such as brown, celery greens, and scrambled egg yellows feel natural.

Since deeper color tones imply intimacy and serenity, I like to paint master bedrooms a mid-tone of green or blue for warmer sales seasons, and reddish-red for cooler weather. Other bedrooms can be painted in creamy shades of green, blue, or pale pink. (See the chapter on the psychology of color in my book “The Joy of Home: Secrets of Interior Design Psychology” for more information.)

sale season

Always keep the listing season (the time of year you’ll be marketing your home) and the weather in mind when choosing colors. Estimate the amount of time it will take to prepare your home for sale, then add extra days for unexpected delays. Use cool colors, such as blues, greens, and grays, when selling during the spring and summer, and warm colors, such as yellows, reds, and maroons, when selling in the fall and winter.

color intensity

My husband and I generally use lighter colors when painting the exteriors of our investment dollhouses, because it makes them appear larger. On the other hand, our cabin in the woods looks richer when painted a darker color. When we decided to paint it, I considered the usual cabin colors of dark brown and barn red, but fell in love with Olympic’s beautiful “Gooseberry” plum.

When you get ready to paint your house, look at the colors of neighboring houses and choose colors that blend in, but stand out from the crowd. Colors that clash badly with other homes will detract from the neighborhood as a whole.

At the beginning of the article, I told you that houses with yellow exteriors sell faster. But what shade of yellow sells the best? First, the yellows to avoid: yellows with green undertones look sickly to most shoppers, and yellows with orange undertones give shoppers a low-cost impression.

The best-selling yellow exterior color is actually a pale, sunny yellow, especially when complemented by one or more carefully chosen accent colors. For example, a semi-gloss white trim will give your home a clean, fresh look, and adding a third color, like green, can make your home even more attractive to prospective buyers.

Colors affect humans in many ways, and by using the principles of color psychology, you can make your home stand out from the competition, sell faster, and sell for a higher price.

(c) Copyright 2014, Jeanette J. Fisher. All rights reserved.

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