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Using Color Psychology to Sell Your Home


When painting your home for resale, choosing the right colors can make a huge difference in your paycheck at closing. For instance, did you know that the exterior color of houses selling most quickly is a certain shade of yellow, but that choosing the wrong shade of yellow can kill a sale?

You'll find many brochures in paint stores, showing various combinations of exterior paint colors. But most people don't realize that most of those combinations actually include three colors, and not just two. Limiting your exterior paint scheme to just two colors also limits your income potential.

For a fast sale, think fun colors and go for a third, or even a fourth, exterior color. Think "Disneyland Main Street," where every shop is painted in glorious multi-colors. Adding more colors will also add definition to the various architectural details of your home. Use gloss or semi-gloss paint on wood trim.

The Psychology of Exterior Colors

When choosing exterior colors, take the sales price of your home into account. Certain colors, especially muted, complex shades, attract wealthy or highly-educated buyers, whereas buyers with less income or less education generally prefer simpler colors. A complex color contains tints of gray or brown, and usually requires more than one word to describe, such as "sage green," as opposed to "green."

On the other hand, simple colors are straightforward and pure. Generally, houses in the lower price range sell faster and for higher prices when painted in simple colors like yellow or tan, accented by white, blue, or green trim.

The Psychology of Interior Colors

Using colored, rather than bland, white walls will increase your profit potential. Lynette Jennings tested the perception of room size and color, and discovered that a room painted white appeared only appeared larger to a few people when compared to an identical room painted in color - and the perceived difference was only about six inches! Most people also look better when surrounded by color, and feel happier, and since buyers pick houses that make them feel happy, that knowledge can put dollars in your pocket at closing!

Entryways should bring the exterior colors into the house. Repeating shades of the exterior throughout your home will make the entire home seem to be in harmony. Living and family rooms painted in a slightly lighter shade of the exterior color will ensure that you've picked a color your buyers like, because if they didn't like your exterior colors, they wouldn't have bothered to look inside. If they loved the exterior colors, they'll love the interior, too.

When choosing interior colors, consider the use of each room. For instance, kitchen and dining areas that are painted in "food colors," such as coffee browns, celery greens, and scrambled egg yellows, feel natural.

Since, deeper shades of color imply intimacy and serenity, I like to paint master bedrooms a medium shade of green or blue for warm selling seasons, and rouge red for cooler weather. Other bedrooms can be painted in creamy tones of green, blue, or a pale shell pink. (See the chapter on the Psychology of Color in my book "Joy to the Home: Secrets of Interior Design Psychology" for further information.)

Selling Season

Always consider your selling season (the time of year you'll be marketing your home) and climate when choosing colors. Estimate the amount of time you'll need to get your home ready for sale, and then add on extra days for unexpected delays. Use cool colors, such as blues, greens, and grays, to sell during spring and summer, and warm colors, such as yellows, reds, and maroons, when selling in the fall and winter.

Color Intensity

My husband and I usually use lighter colors when painting the exteriors of our investment dollhouses, because it makes them appear larger. On the other hand, our cabin in the woods looks richer when painted a darker color. When we decided to have it painted, I considered the usual cabin colors of dark brown and barn red, but fell in love with Olympic's gorgeous "Gooseberry" plum color.

When getting ready to paint your house, look at the colors of neighboring houses and choose colors that harmonize, yet stand out from the crowd. Colors that clash badly with other houses will detract from the overall neighborhood.

At the beginning of the article, I told you that homes with yellow exteriors sell the quickest. But which shade of yellow sells best? First, the yellows to avoid: yellows with green undertones look sickly to most buyers, and yellows with orange undertones give buyers an impression of cheapness.

The best-selling yellow exterior color is actually a pale, sunny yellow, especially when complimented with one or more carefully-chosen accent colors. For instance, a semi-gloss white trim will give your home a clean and fresh look, and adding a third color, such as green, can make your home even more attractive to prospective buyers.

Colors affect human beings in many ways, and by using the principles of Color Psychology, you can make your home stand out from the competition, sell more quickly, and at a higher price.

(c) Copyright 2004, Jeanette J. Fisher. All rights reserved.

Professor Jeanette Fisher, author of Doghouse to Dollhouse for Dollars, Joy to the Home, and other books teaches Real Estate Investing and Design Psychology. For more articles, tips, reports, newsletters, and sales flyer template, see http://www.doghousetodollhousefordollars.com/pages/5/index.htm


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