Real Estate

Color Me Bad: The Wrong Shade Of Paint Can Cost Sellers Big Bucks

Homebuyers have always tended to favor neutral tones in shared spaces, but some colors stand above the rest, Zillow found in a new survey.

Homebuyers tend to sour on homes that feature strident wall colors, but neutral tones are more likely to help sweeten the deal depending on the room, according to a new survey from Zillow.

The Seattle-based listing company said sellers should stick with neutral colors in shared spaces such as kitchens, living rooms and bathrooms. Buyers can be a bit more adventurous with their color preferences in bedrooms, but still react poorly to bright yellows, greens and pinks, the study found.

The study analyzed 15 paint colors in various room types to find which colors may boost a home’s potential sale price. In some cases, spending less than $100 on the right shade of paint could net the seller hundreds or even thousands of dollars, Zillow found.

Survey respondents who saw a bathroom with light-blue walls said they’d be willing to pay nearly 2 percent more — a hike of $5,000 on a $290,000 listing. This made the color one of the most popular paint choices in the study.

Bathrooms featuring other “neutral and delicate” colors also did well among survey respondents, including off-white, light yellow and multiple shades of gray.

These colors were generally popular in living rooms as well, although gray emerged as the best bet here for survey respondents. A living room with light-green walls could improve an offer by hundreds of dollars, the study found.

In the kitchen, white was the best-performing color from a buyer’s perspective. Other safe, neutral tones were popular in kitchens. But survey respondents also favored some darker hues that weren’t as popular in other rooms, including dark reds and greens.

But in the bedroom, one dark color in particular was most likely to invoke a feeling of home in the minds of buyers: dark blue. Light and bright blues were also welcome in bedrooms, as were dark gray and simple white.

At the end of the day, the study confirmed that buyers were uneasy about ambitious, bright-colored paint jobs in living room and bathroom spaces. But as long as the shading doesn’t lean too adventurous, home sellers may have a little more leeway to stick with additional colors in kitchens and bedrooms, the study said.

Zillow cited a different study that sought input from real estate agents on wall colors, and their conclusions were largely the same. Nearly all agents in that survey said they’d recommend repainting any room that features bright pinks, greens or purples before selling a home.

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