Color sells! Help your customers pick the right color to sell their home

by Jim Williams

sw-imageJust when Genesis Macedo thinks he’s seen it all, someone surprises him. Macedo, owner of New York-based Genesis Pro Painting & Restoration, has had some interesting requests in the 16 years he’s been in the painting business, but some are more memorable than others.

“I think the wildest room we ever painted was high-gloss fire-truck red,” Macedo said. “The customer wanted ceilings, walls, windows and doors all in the same high-gloss red. Usually, when a request like that comes in, the customer has already made up their mind about it, and they always start by saying: ‘you’ll probably think I am crazy but …’.”

But does crazy sell?

Choosing paint colors is obviously a personal choice. However, when it comes to selling a home, it literally pays to listen to the experts.

“For many homeowners, the biggest driver in color trends is a quest for personalization, which is a significant area of opportunity for painters, builders and more,” said Sue Wadden, director of color marketing at Sherwin-Williams. “Color is a powerful tool that puts the buyer in the space, planning how they will live, and provides an emotional connection, a key to securing the asking price from a home—and then some.”

Wadden says contractors are trying to get ahead of the curve by adding to formerly limited color palettes and embracing neutrals and other hues, which is, “making the days of ‘builder beige’ a part of a bygone era,” she said.

Macedo agrees. He understands there’s a science behind choosing a paint color that will help sell a home. He feels good colors can enhance the resale value of a home; the wrong color can sink a potential sale. “Before listing it for sale, the safest place to be is with colors that give off a feeling of warmth, yet with neutrality,” Macedo added.

Even the very definition of neutral is changing, Wadden said. She says she’s seeing that earth and sky colors with deep, rich tones like putty, clay, shell, sun and water are popular.

“Bright golds are optimistic, yet the shift in beige moves away from warmer, yellow-based tones to brown-based grays,” Wadden explained. “These natural influences feel fresh and modern, while remaining neutral and functional throughout the seasons.”


It sure seems so, notes Wadden.

“Two trends impacting new residential building include the multi-generational household and the increase in the number of millennials purchasing new homes,” she added. “These drives are shaping everything from layouts and materials to color decisions, and are influencing market and design trends.”

Wadden said the growth of multi-generational households, referred as ‘sandwich’ households, is inspired by the aging population, millennials nesting longer, and demographic growth of ethnicities that have a greater preference for, and history of, cross-sections of parents, children, post-college adults and seniors.

“Using color is an excellent way to capture the imaginations of multi-generational and millennial homebuyers that leads to sales,” Wadden said. “Accent colors that are bold and clean, like black, white and silver, are reminiscent of the influence of technology, like cell phones and other electronics, when paired with splashes of vibrancy.”

And in a competitive housing market, perhaps some colors are best left on the fire engine.


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