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Last updated: July 17, 2019 • Selling Your Home

Is the Exterior House Color Affecting the Sale of Your Home?

Our brain is very sensitive to the colors around us. A nice color has the power to convince us to buy something even if we don’t really need it. And a nice exterior house color can attract more buyers and sell for more than the listing price. Color psychology is a young science but it deserves more and more attention because of the huge impact it has on the economy. 

So, do colors matter in real estate, too? Can you really get more money for your house by simply painting your house a certain color? First-time home sellers may think that colors are not relevant, but real estate agents from all over the US have a hard time selling homes painted in less popular colors. Your house color (or even the house color of your neighbor’s home!) can affect your home selling price.

One of the main advantages of home-ownership is the freedom to play with colors as you please. While there isn’t an obvious limitation when it comes to the color schemes you can choose both indoors and outdoors, some cities have design guidelines that are supposed to create a homogeneous looking neighborhood, without striking contrasts that might lower the home prices in the area due to a chaotic, random look. We all love harmony, especially when it comes to architecture. If we were to take a tour around the world, we would definitely appreciate the fact that people who live in a certain geographic area build their houses in the same architectural style. 

Is your Home Color Important for an Appraisal?

house with a blue exterior painting

Your actual home’s worth isn’t likely to be impacted by a garish paint job, or the paint of the house next door. The appraisal process is looking at the home value based on its’ structural integrity and its square footage, among other aspects, and paint color really isn’t part of how much the actual house is worth. However, if the paint means the incoming homeowners may immediately have to hire professionals to rectify what they feel is an eyesore, it can cause a dent in home selling price.

Also, if the paint is peeling off the walls, it could affect your property’s value. Same if the house was painted before 1978, which means that it is very likely that the paint contained lead and has to be removed. Color combinations that are really trendy right now are white-gray, beige-taupe, and slate-black. These colors, though, do not have a bearing on the price of the home. Indoors, colors don’t matter either from an appraisal’s perspective, however, homebuyers are willing to pay more to have certain colors in the bedroom, living room or kitchen. You may increase the value of your house by investing in a mural painting by a famous local artist or hang a few art pieces on the walls. 

Homebuyers also appreciate nautical-themed bathrooms and wouldn’t mind paying an extra $5,000 for a house that features one. Great tip for your next bathroom remodel, don’t you think? Don’t bet on a completely white bathroom, either, as home buyers seem to dislike it. Brown, gray and white seem to be the winning colors for the kitchen, while yellow is not at all the ideal color for a kitchen and may even make home buyers place a low offer. 

Is your Exterior Paint Color Affecting the Home value?

young woman having a notepad and thinking

What the real estate market will bear is going to depend on a variety of factors – if your house is in the best school district, paint isn’t going to be a deal breaker. If you have a loudly painted orange and green home on a street lined with staid New England houses, it may detract from part of what you are trying to sell overall – which is a mood and an environment. Did you know the color of your home could affect its sales price?

Immediately after looking at your house, real estate agents can predict how fast your house will sell. But as you probably know, in real estate, your home’s location is far more important than its color. For example, in certain regions, there are so many buyers that houses sell like hotcakes. According to realtor[dot]com, homes sell fastest in San Jose (CA), Seattle (WA), and Salt Lake City (UT). So, sellers found a buyer in less than 40 days. Home sellers waited more than 120 days to find the right home buyer in Claremont (NH), Brownsville (TX), and Salisbury (MD). 

Predict how fast your house will sell

In some cities where luxury properties hit the market every day, the average days on the market are a lot higher. Real estate agents in Scottsdale, Arizona know what we are talking about. Here, the average time listings spend on the market is 239 days. And that’s not because people wouldn’t love to live there. It’s the income limits or the bad credit scores that limit the number and type of home loans for those interested in buying a house in Scottsdale. Here, half of the properties on the market sell for more than $414,000, so the average cost of a house in Scottsdale is quite high. Now, what income should buyers have to afford the monthly payments? 

For example, on a $400,000 mortgage at a 3.5% interest rate, the monthly payment would be $1,796.18, according to unison[dot]com. So, if the borrower would like to keep a debt-to-income ratio of 35%, it means that the borrower must take home at least $5,131 per month or $61,500 per year. 

How does an HOA affect the Paint Color of Your Home?

icon representing HOA rules

Home Owner Associations often have rules about home paint color for exactly this reason: a garishly painted house can kind of ruin the mood of the whole block. Read carefully the CC&Rs (covenants, conditions, and restrictions) before you paint (and before any major home improvement that may alter the exterior) to see if you’re breaking any bylaws.

Now, if you don’t have much to say about the colors, you can at least choose the best type of paint for your facade. Mineral paints age slowly and can last up to 100 years. Another popular option for exterior finishes are texture paints, which can be glossy or matte. 

You might need permission to use a certain material

While in some cities, such as the city of Scottsdale, stucco is preferred for its durability, there are a lot more options used in contemporary architecture. Aluminum composite panel (ACP), Shera board cladding, and High Pressure Laminates are all great options if you want to build your own house or to fix and flip. Stone cladding and timber cladding also protect your house very well, but in most HOAs you might need permission to use a certain material, and in most cases, a color sample must be brought for approval. 

Tired of being told what you can’t do? If you go against the CC&R and break the rules, the HOA can fine you or you may even end up in a lawsuit. If you don’t pay the fines, the HOA may restrict your access to some facilities (for example, you may not be able to use the gym or the pool until you pay all your debt) and may even put a lien on your property. When an HOA forecloses on a property, the worst thing is that it doesn’t have to pay the first mortgage holder right away. So, the previous owner will still owe money to the lender. 

How to choose exterior house colors?

man holding color palette samples for exterior painting

Sometimes, to find the best colors for a facade, you have to find the worst exterior house colors first. Probably the worst thing that you can do is to paint your house in black entirely. According to most paint manufacturers, the worst exterior house colors are brown, peachy pink, Opaque Couché ( a dirty green), bright yellow,orange, red, and pink.

Black might work for the roof, though. While black roofs work with pretty much any house siding colors, you shouldn’t choose it because “it’s safe” and because “black goes with everything”. It’s always important to choose a contrasting color for the roof, so be creative when combining colors under the HOA’s limitations. You may also like the asphalt shingles in multiple blends. Architects recommend using them with care. Don’t cover the roof with shingles in a color blend if the paint is also varied. Keep it simple, instead. But if your exterior paint is quite uniform and uninteresting, you can make the house stand out with a colorful roof. 

The following choices can increase or decrease your home selling price!

  • The neutrals steal the show. A dark blue, slate grey or even charcoal front door can hike your home’s perceived value by over $1500! Houses with grey, beige, or “greige” combo exteriors sell better than homes with white exteriors by about $1500.
  • Style and location matters. Lavender is best reserved for Victorian gingerbread houses. Stucco is Southwest color, Pepto pink should only be seen in Florida or California, Vermont towns may ding you if you use any except a narrow palette of colors, and homes that are classed for restoration may even dictate the chemical makeup of the paint you can use.
  • Yellow is cheerful. Miami, Florida Real Estate , New England, and South Texas are great places to capitalize on yellow tones – mix with cool greys to tone it down a little. This color combination is a great color to increase the home value!
  • Red doors are traditional but can be overdone. If you decide on a red door, make sure it fits with the rest of your décor scheme.
  • The Midwest allows for a lot of variety, but you don’t always have to conform. Scottsdale, AZ real estate agents can tell you that cool, dark colors are making a comeback.
  • Consider the overall weather. White clapboard with dark shutters is charming, but not in the red dirt of Oklahoma, where every smear shows and red dust can make your home appear a sickly shade of russet.

Exterior house color ideas with bricks

house with decorative bricks and natural stone

Have you ever been to the Netherlands? Then, you’re probably inspired by the Dutch houses with so much brick in plain sight. But experienced painters know how to create a brick wall by simply using masking tape. This technique works both inside and outside. But you might also want to know what colors go with bricks. If you have a few walls covered in brick and a few exterior walls covered with stucco, you can create interesting contrasts. Depending on the color of the bricks, you can paint the walls to match the color of the bricks. A very popular exterior house color idea with bricks would be to alternate orange stucco walls with orange brick walls. But decorative bricks come in a wide variety of colors, so feel free to choose the one that doesn’t violate the HOA’s rules. 

You can’t do much about a neighbor with “out there” tastes. But if you are planning to sell your home soon and a paint job is in the offing, go for safe over flashy for the best price. And, as you probably know, light colors keep your house cooler during the summer. Under a dark-colored roof, even if you have a powerful HVAC unit, you’ll still get higher electricity bills since the cooling system will work harder to maintain a comfortable temperature inside. So, knowing all these, you are ready to choose the best exterior house colors to maximize the sale price. Let us know your favorite color combination in a comment!

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