Best Colors for Resale

Stick with neutrals and a surprising splash of color.

Posted by Steve Graham | Sep 15, 2009
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Repainting before selling your home is an easy decision. Choosing the right colors is trickier. But that doesn't mean it can't be fun. The rules are changing to allow a little more variety.

A coat of paint is one of the cheapest and easiest ways to spruce up a home. It covers picture holes, cracks and scuffs, and makes the home look newer and cleaner.

Christina Kittelstad, a Denver color consultant and home staging expert, said new paint is likely to shorten a home's sale time between 10 and 40 percent. It can also boost resale value. If a home staging expert is in your budget, a quick meeting could yield valuable specific colors for your situation. Here is some general information:

Mix Up Your Colors Inside

Neutral is the classic bottom line for painting before a home sale -- maybe a tan or creamy beige with yellow or pink tints. Some even suggest painting the entire house's interior off-white. It's still solid and safe advice, but the rules are becoming less rigid. A bright but tasteful mix of colors can set your house apart and attract buyers. Selling a potential starter home is particularly an opportunity to be a little bold, as younger families are likely to look at the house.

Christina Kittelstad said calming blues and light sage greens are attractive options for bedrooms and bathrooms, making them more like a "spa retreat" than an empty white space. On the other hand, keep the trim white. Anything else might be a little too bold and off-putting.

Fit in with the Neighbors Outside

For the outside, studies say blue houses do not sell for some reason. Instead, choose a bright color that matches the rest of the neighborhood, and express your creativity with accents on shutters and doors. Look for an eye-catching hue on another neighborhood house, and ask the owner or homeowners' association for the exact color. You will know the color suits the neighborhood, and you have previewed the tint in full sunlight.

Think About Online Pictures

Most home buyers take virtual home tours before taking personal home tours. Internet pictures are another reason to carefully choose colors. A blank white wall could just look like an image that never loaded. On the other hand, dark paint can camouflage every item in the room, and an odd color can make a buyer skip to the next house.

If you don't have the time or budget to paint the whole interior, start with the kitchen and master bedroom or any unique areas that would be featured in the online gallery. Use paint selection software to preview the color on your walls. Our favorite is CBN Selector, which lets you upload digital pictures and "paint" the walls in one of thousands of colors. You can see exactly what buyers will see before you commit to a color.

Repainting for resale is a no-brainer, but choosing colors can be taxing. You'll be safe sticking with neutral colors and a few brighter rooms or accents.

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