Real Estate Experts On: Why Are Buyers So Freaked Out By Paint Colors?


It’s an old real estate trope, but it seems to be true: Paint color can heavily sway a prospective buyer’s opinion of a home. While a seller might think throwing a fresh coat of paint on the walls will boost the value of their property, in reality, doing so might actually leave a bad impression on buyers; depending on their individual tastes and styles.

To help us make sense of it all, we called on two of our favorite real estate mavens—Jacqueline Biggs of Specialists Real Estate and Bailey Funke of Providence Group Realty—for the scoop. Read ahead for a breakdown of why wall colors can be so divisive for potential buyers, and to see what hues our experts believe are always a safe bet.

Paint Has an Emotional Impact

Depending on their personal tastes, certain wall colors can actually have an emotional effect on buyers; one that will influence whether or not they want to purchase your home. “When selling a home the goal is a space that evokes feelings of comfort and accessibility for buyers,” Funke explains. “A light, neutral space can often make a property appear larger and brighter, which makes it easier for purchasers to feel a connection with the home.”

It Matters if it’s Move-In Ready

“It’s important to remember that some buyers only want move-in ready homes because they don’t have the time or money to spend on making improvements,” Biggs notes. “Although changeable, painting can be pricey, so choosing a safe, neutral wall color may mean one less thing the buyer has to handle before moving in.”

Above All Else, It’s a Personal Preference

“Paint color is a personal choice.” Says Biggs, “Some homeowners like to coordinate wall colors with their own furnishings, but prospective buyers come with their own unique aesthetic styles. For that reason, sellers should avoid idiosyncratic colors that are too dark or distracting, and stick with neutral colors that will appeal to a larger demographic of buyers.”

How Should You Paint a House to Sell?

What wall colors universally seem to “work” for most buyers? “When in doubt, go neutral.” Biggs says, “Whites, grays and pale earth-tone hues are often the most appealing to buyers, and if not, they’re at least easy to imagine painting over.” Adds Funke: “The color ‘greige‘ is performing well in homes these days. It’s a subtle blend of grey and beige that instantly brightens a room and looks great in both traditional and modern-style houses.”

But before you pull out your paintbrush, Funke suggests doing yourself a favor and getting a second opinion. “Local real estate agents and interior designers can be an invaluable resource when you’re selling your home,” she explains. “They’ll help you compare what kinds of wall colors and design trends are popular in the area; ensuring your house has mass appeal to buyers.”

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