Paint Stores, Services Boost Home Values with Right Color Choices

BY Courtney Huckabay

A home's paint colors can have a notable impact on its final sale price. According to a new analysis from Zillow Digs, for-​sale listings with rooms painted in sage green or wheat yellow can sell for as much as $1,300 more than expected. Zillow Digs analyzed photos from nearly 50,000 sold homes from around the country to see how certain room type and paint color combinations impacted their sale price.

Of all the colors analyzed, homes with yellow kitchens, often in hues of creamy or wheat yellow, yielded the highest sale premium ($1,360 above expected values). Wall colors painted in other earthy tones like sage green or dove gray were also present in top-​performing listings.

If a seller decides to repaint before listing, she should consider shades that may be more likely to boost the closing price,” says Kerrie Kelly, a home design expert with Zillow Digs, the home improvement business owned by real estate website Zillow.

While everyone's style choices are different, there are some paint colors that could actually deter buyers. For example, homes with dark or style-​specific wall colors, like slate gray or terracotta sold for as much as $1,100 less than expected. Lack of paint color could also have a negative impact on a home's sale price as those with white or eggshell-​colored kitchens also sold below expectations.

These tips could be invaluable to painting service providers. They can look like the experts in TV spots by recommending the right colors. The latest AudienceSCAN survey reported 67.3% of Painting Service Customers took action after seeing commercials.

"A fresh coat of paint is an easy and affordable way to improve a home's appearance before listing," says Svenja Gudell, Zillow chief economist. "However, to get the biggest bang for your buck, stick with colors that have mass appeal so you attract as many potential buyers to your listing as possible. Warm neutrals like yellow or light gray are stylish and clean, signaling that the home is well cared for, or that previous owners had an eye for design that may translate to other areas within the house."

Here’s how colors affect selling prices, according to Zillow.

Kitchen: Yellow is, apparently, a great paint color for a kitchen. Homes with yellow kitchens sell for an average premium of $1,360 when compared with all other homes controlled for similar features, Zillow found. The key, says Kelly, is to choose a “warm neutral” yellow paint, such as wheat yellow. Avoid picking a shade that’s too saturated, as deep shades may backfire with buyers.

"One surprising find: Even though white kitchens are often featured in home decorating magazines, these colors come off as sterile or cold to home buyers, Kelly notes. In Zillow’s study, painting a kitchen white did not increase a home’s selling price" Aimee Picchi wrote.

According to AudienceSCAN research, 15.3% of U.S. adults plan to pay to have the inside or outside of their residence painted professionally this year.

"Bedroom: Choosing the right paint color here can be a challenge since the bedroom is the most personal room in the house. A bright red, for example, could be too stimulating, making it hard to rest. You might prefer a more soothing paint color. According to Zillow, painting a bedroom light green to khaki can boost a selling price by an average of $1,332."

"Living room: Neutrals win the day when it comes to this high-​traffic room. Zillow found that homes with living rooms painted with dove or light-​grey paint sold for an average premium of $1,104. The worst shade is orange. Homes with terra-​cotta-​colored living rooms sold for an average of $793 less than other homes. "

Homeowners will be searching for the best-​priced painters. Take note that AudienceSCAN research found 16.6% of Painting Service Customers think mailed ads/​fliers are the best for comparing prices.

"Bathroom: The color of bathrooms didn’t have a great impact on the selling price. Even so, Zillow says the best colors are tans, such as oatmeal or beige. Homes with bathrooms painted in those shades sold for an average of $283 more than other houses. Zillow found that dark-​brown bathrooms— think of Tuscan-​style shades—sell for an average of $469 less than other homes."

"Dining room: Purple might be the best choice. Zillow found that homes with a dining room painted lavender, mauve, or eggplant sold for $1,122 more than other houses. You might want to stay away from grey paint, since the research noted that homes with slate or dark-​grey dining rooms sold for $1,112 less than other similar houses."

"Consumer Reports recommends that you paint sample colors on large sheets of heavy paper so you can move them from place to place without having to paint the walls. Live with them for at least a few days. Observe how different levels of light affect the color throughout the day."

AudienceSCAN data is available as part of a subscription to AdMall for Agencies, or with the SalesFuel API. Media companies can access AudienceSCAN data through the AudienceSCAN Reports in AdMall.