One of the first things buyers see when they walk into a home that’s on the market is the color on the walls. Your goal as a seller is for them to not notice it – unless they’re breathing a sigh of relief they won’t have to paint.
A fresh, neutral coat will help the buyer envision their things in that space, and it makes rooms feel cleaner and brighter. So how do you choose from the overwhelming assortment of grays, beiges and greiges available at home improvement stores?
Neutral light gray has reigned supreme among home staging color palettes for several years, and that’s not likely to change in the near term, said Nicole Canole, an accredited home staging professional and Long & Foster agent based in Alexandria, Virginia. Her go-to colors for creating warm, neutral surroundings are from Sherwin Williams:
- Repose Gray
- Agreeable Gray
Lia Rogers, an accredited home stager based in Sicklerville, New Jersey, also likes Repose Gray. “The goal is to cast a wide net and appeal to the broadest range of potential buyers,” said Rogers, who is president of the Delaware Valley chapter of the Real Estate Staging Association. She also uses:
- Sherwin Williams Colonnade Gray SW 7641
- Behr Irish Mist 790C-1
- Benjamin Moore Classic Grey OC23
- Benjamin Moore Gray Owl OC-52
- Benjamin Moore Revere Pewter HC-172
- Sherwin Williams Balanced Beige 7037
- Benjamin Moore Decorators White CC-20 (perfect for white trim)
Since many buyers start their home search online, it’s also vital to pick colors that photograph well, and these do, Rogers said.
Now you’ve picked your color, what about the finish or sheen? Canole said she goes with matte or flat because it’s less expensive, it goes farther, and it makes minor flaws less noticeable. It pays to spring for higher quality paint, because it covers in fewer coats. So if you’re pressed for time and have a million other projects, it’s worth going for professional-grade paint.
A single color throughout allows buyers to see the house as a clean slate, said Michelle Trageser, a Long & Foster agent and accredited staging professional based in Lutherville, Maryland.
“Whether one uses gray or beige can depend on other factors – colors of flooring and cabinetry, for example,” Trageser said. “I generally pick a warm gray or a beige that tends toward gray and not so brown.”
Think your purple accent wall or red dining room add charm? Even though paint is considered an easy home improvement, real estate is bought on emotion. Buyers might say “no thanks” if they’re just not feeling it.
Canole said she’s a believer in the transforming power of paint. She recalled one Northern Virginia listing that needed a lot of work, and the budget was only $4,000. “I told the owner, you can spend the money to paint or suffer a $30,000 price drop,” Canole said. “She painted a fresh, neutral color, and we got multiple offers on that house.”