No One bought your house; maybe that tomato red dining room just didn't say "buy me"

Real Estate Agent with Montana Homestead Brokers, Broker, CRS, GRI, SFR, RN

I was searching through the expired listings in my area this weekend, and yep, lots of weird paint colors on the interior walls.  I actually love some of the daring reds people are putting on their walls, but lots of folks just don't have the guts or the furnishings to make it work.  Let's face it, power paint jobs are great if you like them, but get over it when you put your home on the market. 

If you don't feel like painting over the color, with the 2 coats of primer and 2 coats of new color; a buyer won't either.  I think you just reduce the chances of "grabbing" the interest of a buyer who wants to put their own "color scheme" to their new home.

Coral living roomRed and White Master


In my job, I've heard this a number of times "I love that color, I'm so proud of it, lots of people comment on my wall.  Ok, but are they buying your house?  I have a good friend who is a power painter, I loved her red wall but not her aqua blue bathroom or her aqua green master bedroom.  I grabbed her by the shoulders and shook her, gently of course and with love, and told her "we can't put this house on the market until you paint".  She really thought I had insulted her artistic talent and creative energy and wanted to go ahead and make a few but not all of the changes.  Guess what everyone kept saying that looked at or showed the house!  "Wow, these people really love their paint".  Keep in mind, most people don't think about the "paint job" when they look at a house, only that it looks good if it's one they want to buy!

Another dear friend heard me when I said I loved the paint job, but it has to go before we put the home on the market.  "Oh I love that red wall, but ok, I'll fix it with a neutral tan".  Her home sold in 7 days.   Need I say more!

Posted by

The Quilting Realtor

Wanda Thomas

Many Dream Of Living In Montana

I'm One of the Lucky One's That Already Do!

Wanda Thomas

Call or Text 406-698-8640 for help with all things Montana.

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Martin Kalisker
Greater Boston Association of REALTORS - Boston, MA
Professional Standards & Legal Assistant

I have no problems taking a buyer into such a house.  Often times, these types of homes are easier for me to sell because I can actually get the clients to agree "so, if the bedroom was actually painted yellow, instead of bright orange, you would make an offer on this home?"

Jan 26, 2009 01:59 AM #1
Kris Kombrink ~ The Kombrink Team
RE/MAX Excels - Chicago's Western Suburbs - Geneva, IL

Great post, Wanda.  Hopefully some sellers will read it.  I know it's nice to personalize a home with colors and all, but when it comes to resale, you should neutralize everything.


Jan 26, 2009 02:01 AM #2
Troy Ott
Coldwell Banker United, REALTORS - Columbia, SC

It is important for a seller to have neutral tones in the house so it appeals to more buyers, but I always like to see at least one room remain in a bold, personalized color.  Often sellers have painted that room for a reason, such as to match the furnishings and design, and often the room wouldn't look right painted a tan.  Color is always an issue!

Jan 26, 2009 02:05 AM #3
Herb Hamilton
RE/MAX Preferred Inc. Realtors - Portland, OR
Real Estate Broker ,CDPE, Downtown Portland

I think that when it comes to color especially bold colors, there is more resistance when it is on the outside of a home than inside.

Most people can and do see past interior colors as an impediment to purchase. Outside however is a different matter. Painting an exterior is expensive and most ofen calls for a Contractor. Where as interiors are normally handled by the home owner.

There are of course people who are adverse to color. That is why many people live with white walls.

I feel bad for them.

Jan 26, 2009 02:16 AM #4
Monica Bourgeau
Portland, OR
Business Coaching

I agree, there was just an article in this month's Realtor magazine called, "Can Color Cost You a Sale?" It lines out the main colors and the emotions they invoke. I pulled it out and plan to use it when I encounter paint concerns in the future, neutral is best!

Jan 26, 2009 02:29 AM #5
Steve Zarry
House Buying Now - Austin, TX
Austin Central Texas, Real Estate

You're right, if the interior is painted in "bold" colors, the rooms should be staged with the appropriate furniture. It seems most people like neutral colors in the interior, so it would be wise to have a color on the walls that most buyers prefer. That bright red paint on the walls could prevent a buyer from seeing the positive aspects of the home.

Jan 26, 2009 02:41 AM #6
Rob and Camille Di Maio
San Antonio Real Estate - Keller Williams Legacy - San Antonio, TX

What is with the red-walled dining rooms?  I see them all over the place.  Neutralize!!!!!

Jan 26, 2009 02:42 AM #7
Bill Gillhespy
16 Sunview Blvd - Fort Myers Beach, FL
Fort Myers Beach Realtor, Fort Myers Beach Agent - Homes & Condos

Hi Wanda,  Just looked at a very nice condo where the owner has some dramatic color choices.  I liked them, he obviously liked them but...

Jan 26, 2009 03:07 AM #8
Ian Niquette
Square One Home Inspection - Markesan, WI

As an inspector, I do not offer opinions on color. but, sometimes, I just have to think to myself..."What is the seller thinking?" Yeah you love your neon green bathroom, but let it go. Your moving anyway, neutralize and people tend to be more perceptive.

Jan 26, 2009 03:28 AM #9
Li Read
Sea to Sky Premier Properties (Salt Spring) - Salt Spring Island, BC
Caring expertise...knowledge for you!

You said it all,  here.    When we sell a home, we're not selling our personal choices, but a space.   So important to "detach" from our envelope, and to let others imagine themselves there.

Jan 26, 2009 03:29 AM #10
Wanda Thomas
Montana Homestead Brokers, Broker, CRS, GRI, SFR, RN - Billings, MT
Billings Montana Real Estate

Thank you for the comments, I just got to the office and saw my Realtor magazine with the headline about colors that say buy me, great timing!  I haven't read it yet, but I did think it very interesting that a number of our expireds have weird colors on the walls.

Jan 26, 2009 03:53 AM #11
Jason Crouch
Austin Texas Homes, LLC - Austin, TX
Broker - Austin Texas Real Estate (512-796-7653)

I love your headline on this post - very catchy!  I agree that super-custom colors don't often do much to sell a home.

Jan 26, 2009 08:15 AM #12
South Austin Real Estate Blog
Sky Realty South Austin - Austin, TX

"Designer colors"!  They are designed for that homeowners taste and furnishings, when showing an empty house its hard to explain the TOMATO RED dining room and DRIVEWAY GREY master bedroom.  Good job here explaining it Brenda. Its cheaper for a seller to neutralize BEFORE he/she sells than have to take $2000 off the sales price for someone else to repaint it.

Jan 26, 2009 09:56 AM #13
Dawn Isenhower
Sibcy Cline Realtors - Milford, OH

I love this post! People need to personalize their homes when they live in them, but they need to do it in such a way that it is not difficult to neutralize when they leave. Most of us do not live in the same home for 60 years anymore, so we all must keep the possibility of re-sale in mind. Thank you!

Jan 30, 2009 05:14 AM #14
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Wanda Thomas

Billings Montana Real Estate
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