John's Florida Real Estate Blog


If Buyers Cannot Imagine Themselves Living In Your Home, They Will Not Buy It - The Effect of Color

Top_re_products_mona_lisaThe colors in your home can affect your home's saleability, especially in today's buyers market. Click on the picture to the left so it becomes larger. Concentrate a minute on what you see there. Now try to imagine that instead of what it depicts, the picture is of a beach scene, a vista from a mountain, a famous landmark, someone in your family, another favorite painting or portrait, etc. Kind of hard to do isn't it? The image is so strong that it makes it difficult to imagine that the image is anything but what you see.

OrangewallNow click on the next image just to the left of this paragraph. Take a few seconds to look at it. Now try to imagine that it is any other color in the rainbow. Can you force your mind to see it as a blue wall, a purple wall, a tan wall, a red wall, etc? How about blue and white stripes? A floral print? As with the previous picture, it can be hard to make your mind overcome the strength of the color and see it as a different one, a mixture of colors, or a pattern or design.

Starlight_whiteNow click on the blank space to the left of this paragraph. It is a plain white space. Can you imagine a scene that might fill it? Is it a bit easier to see other colors with it or in place of it? Can you imagine stripes or a pattern over the white? Would this wall clash with your furniture. The space is neutral with no strong colors that scream out at you. For many people it will be easier to imagine this white or blank space as something else. Their minds are not overpowered with a strong color or an equally strong image.

When buyers enter your home, it is crucial that they can imagine themselves living in it. Tastes in color are very personal. If your color choices are so specific to your tastes and your tastes are not in the mainstream, you are likely going to turn buyers off before they even have a chance to examine your home closely. Now I am not saying that if you have bright and vibrant hues in your home that you have bad taste. Not at all. I have seen some beautifully decorated rooms in bright colors and complementary furniture. However, one thing that sellers often forget is that you are creating an atmosphere to appeal to buyers, not a place that YOU are going to continue to live in for very long (hopefully). Remember, you want to sell your home, not continue to live in it.

The use of neutral colors like white and light beige on the walls gives the buyers a chance to imagine their furnishings in your home. Strong colors make it more likely that they will worry that their furniture and other personal items will not fit in aesthetically. This also applies to special wall treatments that have become popular lately. Buyers will start to worry that their red sofa will not go with your purple wall? For them it is hard to see it in their minds? They know they can repaint of course, but they have difficulty seeing the purple wall as the sage green that would go with their dining room set. If your walls are white or more neutral, buyers can begin to imagine that it might work for them. They can also more easily imagine the colors or wall coverings that they will want to use.

I often hear sellers say that they will not paint any walls. "Let them paint the walls the colors they like after they buy" is their usual statement. But that stubborness can cost you money in your pocket and time out of your lives since the home will probably spend more time on the market. Why do you think that most model homes that developers maintain for tours have neutral or muted colors? They want buyers to think "Hey, I can see myself watching the football game in this family room or eating great meals in this wonderful dining room." If buyers cannot picture themselves living in your house, I can guarantee you that they will not consider buying it.

So if your agent advises you to tone down the colors in your home, you would be well-advised to give it some very serious consideration. A few hours of not too strenuous work and a hundred dollars in paint could put more money in your pocket and get your home sold before those of your neighbors. Food for thought.

For more information or questions about this topic please call me at: 813-783-4444 or e-mail me at:

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John Elwell - REALTOR


Bill Nye Realty, Inc.


Licensed in Florida


Comment balloon 0 commentsJohn Elwell • August 12 2007 12:42PM


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