Want to sell your house for more? Paint the front door black

WASHINGTON — Color matters to buyers, and real estate firm Zillow looked through 135,000 photos from homes sold around the country to see how certain paint colors impacted their sale.

Some colors can increase the selling price. Some can reduce it.

For example, that brick-red dining room you’ve loved for years might be a deterrent to potential buyers.

“That’s exactly it. The colors you may love and are style-specific to you may not be relatable to others,” Zillow’s Kerrie Kelly, who is an interior designer, told WTOP.

“So going neutral help people respond to a relate to a home,” she said.

Paint is one of the least expensive investments a seller can make when prepping their home for sale. It is also one of the least expensive changes a buyer can make, but Kelly says many potential buyers have difficulty picturing a room beyond its existing color.

Zillow’s study found homes with cool, neutral wall colors like light blue bathrooms and taupe living rooms sold for more money. Homes with darker red or brown wall colors sold for as much as $2,310 less than expected.

But daring isn’t always a deterrent. Some bold choices seem to be a draw for potential buyers.

“We found that homes with a black or dark charcoal-colored door sell about $6,300 more than expected, which was the highest sale premium. There are things like ‘tuxedo kitchens’ with contrasting cabinets with light upper cabinets and dark lower cabinets or islands that we also saw getting a high premium,” Kelly said.

Zillow’s research included photos from listings that sold between January 2010 and May 2018 to identify paint colors associated with a home selling for more or less than its estimate when compared to similar homes with white walls.

Below are some examples of how various colors in rooms may affect selling price:

This chart shows how various colors in rooms may affect the selling price of a home. (Zillow)
Jeff Clabaugh

Jeff Clabaugh has spent 20 years covering the Washington region's economy and financial markets for WTOP as part of a partnership with the Washington Business Journal, and officially joined the WTOP newsroom staff in January 2016.

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