Green, Blue, Pink Brown... It's Time to Go!!! : The Importance of Neutral Now.

Home Stager with Just Perfect! Home Staging & More

wallpaperWhether it's wall color, floor color, counter-tops, or bathtubs... bold colors, or even muted colors that are out of the ordinary are in need of an overhaul before putting your house on the market. 

"I'll Just Give The Buyer An Allowance"
How many times have I heard sellers say they will give the buyer a carpet allowance, a painting allowance, an update allowance... their reasoning is so the buyer can 'get what they want'... but often a subconscious reason is that they'd rather pay fake money (that they don't have yet because the house hasn't closed), than real money (right now).

There are two significant problems with this.  First of all, you are not changing anything.  9 out of 10 people can't visualize, which means they can't see potential, and can't easily see beyond what is right there in front of them.  So when looking at your home, the colors aren't going to go with anything they have, they really don't like the colors, or they make the room look small.  This is all they can see, so they immediately write your house off.

Second, if they can see the potential, chances are, you will still significantly lose out with the offer.  Your allowance is usually $5,000 at a minimum...  and if the prospect is just putting in an offer, they will likely take off at least $10,000 - $15,000 for the changes they'll need to make.  But think about it... on a normal basis, most people don't have work with contractors, and most people don't know off the top of their head how much it really costs to replace carpet, paint, etc.  So, the number they throw out to take off an offer is almost always going to be high. 

You can paint a room for as little as $50 - $100 if you do it yourself, and to hire someone, you can have it done for as little as $250!!!  You can replace carpet for less than $1000 per room in many cases.  So does it really make sense to provide an allowance?  Would you rather spend a little now, or lose a lot later?

mauve b&a

(Notice the carpet in these two photos. The wall color wasn’t changed, but looks completely different because the carpet is no longer reflecting the pink onto the walls.)

"I Don't Really Like It Either, but It Was Here When I Bought The House"
Exactly.  Do I really need to say any more here?  Just listen to what you are saying!  You've lived for 10 years with carpet you hate!  Yes, you bought it anyway, and had every intention of changing it... but life happened.  You got busy, you didn't want to go through the trouble, you dealt with it, and eventually kind of / sort of got used to it.  But none the less you still don't like it, and regardless of your intentions, you never fixed it.

Buyers don't want to go through the trouble either.  They see colors that don't suit them, and it equals work that needs to be done.  Again, if they do place an offer, it's likely to be lower because they take into account their trouble.  However, with so many homes available in every price range for buyers today... most will not even place an offer.  They can walk down the street and find a similar house that doesn't require work.

Neutral May Not Be Your Taste, But It Is Important
While neutral isn't everyone's taste, the important thing to remember is that neutral can allow any taste to work with it.  You can take any style and bring it into a neutral room, and make it work.  While many of us, including myself, prefer color... colors are all individual preference.  That's why we love them so much!  It reflects something about us, a mood we want to create, our favorite color, something we saw in a magazine and just loved!  But regardless, it is us.  Friends and family may come to your house and love what you have done, but they are loving it as your house.  Just because they think it looks great, doesn't mean they would do it in their own house.  Some may, but not all.  Also, neutral doesn't have to be beige, but that is definitely the safest route to go.  Pure white is not usually the best neutral because it can often feel cold.  A light, warm beige, tan, or taupe are good alternatives for wall color; light beige best for carpet, medium toned counter-top in the brown family is most popular; and the one place you do want to use white is on bath tubs and showers unless it will be something tile in which case there are a number of options that will work.

color b&a

So, if you're selling your house, going ahead and changing out the carpet, paint, etc. is the one of the best recommendations that can be made.  This way, you will stay competitive, and will be able to get the higher offers you deserve.  Going ahead and making these changes upfront is going to cost you a lot less than leaving it to the buyer at closing.  Making your home a neutral palette so that any buyer can move in immediately and feel comfortable is going to bring you a faster sale and higher offers.

If you have any questions, please feel free to comment on the post, or call us directly.



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Jessica Pirone is the proud owner of Just Perfect! Home Staging + More, based in Wilmington, NC.  She was a 2010 RESA Professional Stager of the Year Finalist, and is the NC + VA Instructor for SAR Home Staging Training Courses.

A leader in the home staging industry, Jessica has changed the face of staging in the real estate industry of Wilmington and surrounding areas, and serves as a partner for real estate agents and home sellers - all working toward the same goal.  Selling a home fast and for top dollar!

Learn more about Jessica Pirone and Just Perfect! at  910.251.7711

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Comments (7)

Karen Anne Stone
New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County - Fort Worth, TX
Fort Worth Real Estate

Jessica:  In selling the homes of those who are relocating to other parts of the country... and when their employers are paying them a relocation package... part of that benefit usually involves the employer taking over the house... and doing some redecorating.  The color that they most often use... is what many Realtors I know refer to as "relocation beige."  It is obviously neutral, and looks great.

Dec 17, 2010 06:57 AM
Melissa Marro
Keller Williams First Coast Realty - The Marro Team - Orange Park, FL
Jacksonville Real Estate and Home Staging

For the average home, neutral is just plain (no pun intended) and simply better.  Sellers can usually  handle this part on their own and save their money for hiring a staging professional to come help add additional value.  Well said!

Dec 17, 2010 06:58 AM
Rhonda Abbott
Howard Hanna - Wadsworth, OH
Wadsworth & Greater Akron, OH

Very true - some people can easily see the potential for change in a space, envisioning it to be what they want it to become.  However, many more people only see what's in front of them and can't visualize something that is more appealing to their own personal tastes.  Better to create a color palette that will have the most potential for enchanting BOTH of those personality types!

Dec 17, 2010 07:54 AM
Julie Davis, Amy Blank - Rediscovered Interiors, LLC
Rediscovered Interiors, LLC - Andover, MN

I loved how you phrased this......"While neutral isn't everyone's taste, the important thing to remember is that neutral can allow any taste to work with it.  You can take any style and bring it into a neutral room, and make it work." 

So many people get caught up in turning their colorful "rainbow" home back into a neutral palette and as they say, "boring."  They forget so easily that this house is not about them anymore, it's about the house and what it has to offer.  Yet, they still want to argue with why they don't like the "neutral" colors...really?  Didn't we just say it's not about you anymore?  LOL  Your phrase above helps to get that point across effectively.  thanks for sharing!


Dec 17, 2010 05:12 PM
Karen Anne Stone
New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County - Fort Worth, TX
Fort Worth Real Estate

Sellers must remember that the rooms in a home are NOT like Easter Eggs.  Every room should not be a different color.  Gawsh... some of them can look so goofy.

Dec 17, 2010 07:49 PM
Michelle Finnamore
Toronto GTA, Alliston, Newmarket - Vaughan, ON
Preparing your property for sale

HI Jessica, excellent photo to show how much carpet can reflect up on to the wall colour. (Or vice versa)  I would think that most homeowners would not believe you if you told them this would be the result of changing the colour of carpet. Having these before and after photos must make quite a compelling argument with your homeowners to make the changes.

Dec 19, 2010 08:18 AM
Jessica Pirone
Just Perfect! Home Staging & More - Wilmington, NC

Thanks everybody for your comments!!!  Karen I know - we had one seller and each room was a different, bold, primary color!  Gotta tone it down some. :) 

Julie I'm glad you liked that - it is hard to make homeowners understand sometimes that while yes, many buyers would like to paint their new home to fit their style and personality, nice warm neutrals are something they can be comfortable with and work with in the meantime.  They're not offensive, and just about anything goes. 

Michelle, don't you love that B&A!  I'm so glad it turned out as well in the photos as it was in real life.  It's amazing how strong the reflection can be sometimes.  And it definitely helps demonstrate the difference color can make with homeowners.

Dec 20, 2010 12:01 PM