When selling a house, most homeowners want to maximize their return on investment and get the highest possible resale value. One factor that can influence a home’s resale value is the exterior color. While personal preference certainly plays a role, some exterior paint colors tend to boost home values more than others.
So what is the best color to paint a house to increase its resale value? Research and real estate experts suggest that neutral paint colors like white, gray, and beige tend to have the widest appeal and help attract more potential buyers. Bolder or darker colors can be polarizing and turn some buyers away. Ultimately, the “safest” exterior color that will appeal to the largest number of buyers is a light neutral.
Factors That Influence a Home’s Resale Value
A home’s resale value is determined by a number of different factors, including:
– Location – Where the home is located and the desirability of the neighborhood/school district.
– Size – The square footage and number of bedrooms/bathrooms. Larger homes tend to command higher prices.
– Condition – How updated and well-maintained the home is. Homes in good condition sell for more.
– Upgrades – Upgraded kitchens, bathrooms, flooring, etc. can boost resale value.
– Outdoor space – Having a yard, deck, patio, or pool adds value.
– Garage/parking – Homes with spacious garages and parking tend to sell for higher prices.
– Curb appeal – How attractive and inviting the home looks from the street. First impressions matter.
– Interior decor – Neutral, modern decor appeals to more buyers vs. loud, dated, or eccentric styles.
– Exterior color – Paint color can influence perceived home value, albeit minimally compared to other factors.
So while exterior color is not the most critical factor, it can still impact a home’s curb appeal and resale potential. Choosing a universally appealing shade will attract more buyers.
Popular Exterior House Colors
When researching the most popular exterior house colors, three shades consistently rank near the top:
– White or off-white – A bright, neutral white has mass appeal. It makes a home look clean and contemporary.
– Gray – Shades of gray are hugely popular for modern exteriors. It reads as stylish but still neutral.
– Beige – Warm beige tones are inviting and stand out less than white. Earthy beiges complement landscaping.
Beyond these top three neutrals, other colors like light blue, sage green, and tan also rank among the most popular exterior choices. While personal preference still rules, data on the most commonly chosen house colors indicates a strong preference for light, neutral shades.
Best Exterior Color for Resale Value
When focusing specifically on which color will net the highest resale value, industry analysis points to white and lighter shades of beige. Here are two key reasons why white and light beige paint are smart choices to boost a home’s value:
1. Appeals to the Most Buyers
White has incredibly widespread appeal. It is crisp, clean, and contemporary. White exterior paint reflects sunlight to make homes appear brighter and more expansive. It pairs well with any color trim or landscaping. White is a safe, neutral background that lets a home’s architecture and landscape shine.
Similarly, light beige is warm and inviting but still neutral enough to appeal to most buyers’ preferences. Soft beiges complement a variety of home styles from traditional to modern. Whether elegant or understated, beige has broad allure.
White and light beige exteriors have the widest range of appeal, giving homes a competitive edge. Darker or bolder paint colors may appeal strongly to some but deter others. Sticking with white or light beige casts the widest net of potential buyers.
2. Easiest to Update and Maintain
White and light beige are also the easiest exterior colors to update, touch up, and maintain over time. Darker paints show dirt, wear and weathering much more readily, requiring frequent upkeep. But white paint stays looking crisp and clean with just periodic pressure washing and touch-ups as needed.
Lighter neutrals are also the easiest house colors to update over time. A new coat of white or beige paint can give a facelift without completely changing the home’s look. And painting over existing white or light beige won’t require as many coats of paint to update the color.
Overall, white and light neutral beige are the “safest” bets for attracting buyers and maximizing resale value.
What the Data Shows on Exterior Color and Resale Value
Looking at actual data on how exterior paint colors impact home sale prices also supports choosing white or light beige for maximum resale value. Here are findings from two studies:
Zillow Digs Study
|Exterior Color||Home Value Increase|
A Zillow Digs analysis of over 135,000 home sales found that white and beige exteriors saw the highest boost in home value compared to other colors. Gray and blue also outperformed the average, while a red exterior correlated with lower sale prices.
House Beautiful Study
|Exterior Color||Avg. Sale Price|
House Beautiful analyzed home listing data and found the highest average sale prices for homes with white exteriors, followed by beige. More daring colors like red, blue, and purple saw lower sale prices.
The data from both studies confirms that white and light neutral beige exteriors yield top resale value. While personal preference matters, homeowners looking for maximum return are best off opting for white or soft beige.
Should You Avoid Darker Exterior Colors?
The data clearly skews towards lighter neutral paint colors for optimal resale value. But does this mean you should avoid darker paint colors altogether? Not necessarily.
While deep, bold exterior colors come with some risk of limiting your home’s appeal, a darker color that complements your home’s style can still be a good choice – if you’re willing to accept a potentially lower sale price. Key considerations include:
– Home style – A Craftsman bungalow can likely pull off a deeper green, or a Victorian could suit a navy blue. But dark colors may overwhelm a small, modern home.
– Regional trends – Darker exteriors are more common in some areas than others. In a neighborhood with more varied home colors, a darker exterior will stand out less.
– Personal preference – If you love the character a darker exterior adds, that may outweigh maximizing resale value. Live in and enjoy your home.
– Future plans – If you plan to stay in the home long term or repaint down the road, choosing a color you love now may be worth it.
While dark exterior paint statistically sells for less, the impact depends on your specific home and neighborhood. And a professional re-paint in a light neutral before selling can counteract any dampening effect on home value.
The Best House Colors for Selling
Based on market appeal, ease of maintenance, and proven resale value, here are the 5 best exterior paint colors to boost your home’s value:
1. White – A bright, clean white has the widest appeal and gives homes a contemporary facelift. Arguably the best investment for maximizing home value.
2. Beige – Warm, neutral beiges attract buyers. Lighter shades have the broadest appeal across home styles.
3. Gray – Cool grays are extremely popular right now. A gray exterior reads as stylish and modern.
4. Blue – Light sky blue has fairly broad appeal. Pale shades can work on many home styles.
5. Green – Sage green and pale greens complement many homes, but beware of going too dark.
Can’t go wrong choosing among these top-selling colors if resale value is the priority. But also consider your personal taste, home style, and neighborhood norms.
The Worst Exterior Colors for Resale Value
On the other end of the spectrum, certain exterior paint colors may actually deter buyers and downgrade a home’s perceived value. Colors to generally avoid include:
– Bright red – While appealing to some, bold red can look dated and turn off conservative buyers. Data shows it lowers value.
– Purple – Like red, deep purple turns off some buyers and can make a home look garish or outdated.
– Black – With a few exceptions, solid black exteriors look imposing and cold to many buyers.
– Orange – Hard to match landscaping and accents to bright orange. Too playful for some.
– Yellow – Can look cheerful in moderation but overwhelming in large doses. Hard to match with other colors.
– Brown – Dark browns date a home and feel dreary. Exceptions for natural wood tones.
While personal style matters most, limiting resale appeal should be considered. When selling, repainting the exterior in a more favored neutral color can help attract buyers.
Complementary Trim & Accent Colors
When choosing exterior paint colors, it’s important to consider the home’s trim and accent elements too. Roofing, stonework, shutters, doors, and other accents should complement your main house color.
Here are suggested pairings for popular house colors:
White – Black, gray, brown, navy, or forest green for contrast
Beige – White, black, gray, slate blue
Gray – White, black, natural wood
Blue – White, gray, black
Green – White, brown, black
Aim for a coordinated, aesthetically pleasing palette. Mixing too many competing colors can look disjointed.
The Effect of Landscaping
It’s also wise to consider how your exterior paint color will pair with your home’s existing landscaping. Certain exterior paint shades can either complement or clash with the colors and textures of your plants, flowers, trees, and hardscapes.
Cooler paint colors like blues, greens, grays, and beiges tend to mesh well with common greenery and vegetation. Warm paint colors like reds, oranges, yellows, and browns can sometimes look jarring or disjointed depending on the landscaping.
When choosing exterior paint colors, walk around your home and take note of how the color pairs with the existing plants and yard features. Aim for an integrated look. If needed, you can tweak your landscaping with flowers or bushes that better coordinate with the paint color.
Should You Hire a Professional?
While a skilled DIYer can certainly paint their own home, hiring professional painters offers advantages:
– Better preparation – Professionals thoroughly clean, scrape, sand, patch, and prime the surface first. This enhances durability.
– Higher quality paint – Professional grade exterior paints resist weathering and fading better.
– Specialized tools – Pro painters have the right extensions, lifts, and sprayers to access tricky areas.
– Perfect finish – Experts avoid drips, streaks, and uneven coverage that can mar DIY paint jobs.
– Warranties – Reputable painters offer workmanship warranties for added peace of mind.
– Time savings – Professionals complete the job far faster with less hassle.
If aiming for maximum home value, a pro paint job is advisable. The upfront investment often yields a significant ROI in terms of resale value. Many pros also offer free color consultations.
While personal preference matters most, exterior paint colors do impact perceived home value. Market data consistently shows white and light beige exteriors yield top resale value thanks to broad appeal. Neutrals like gray and blue also outperform bold reds or purples that can turn conservative buyers away.
Beyond analyzing market data, also consider your home’s style, neighborhood norms, landscaping, and personal taste when selecting an exterior color. Light neutrals are the “safest” bet for resale value, but a darker exterior in keeping with your home’s style can also work if selling isn’t imminent.
Aim for exterior paint colors that are tasteful, complement your home, and have wide appeal. This attracts more buyers and maximizes your home’s resale value when the time comes to sell.