To Paint or Not to Paint? How Home Sellers Can Optimize Interior Wall Color

Using color throughout a home can be expressive, creative and hold cultural significance. But what happens to that level of personalization when it’s time to sell?

According to Jeannie Do, homeowners preparing a property to sell need to look past their own emotional connection to color and focus on what changes – like a fresh coat of paint – can elevate their home’s overall aesthetic, appeal to buyers, and potentially increase ROI.

Do, an agent and member of the International Group with RE/MAX Professionals in Lakewood, Colorado, holds a BFA degree in Interior Design and spent 10 years designing luxury homes and commercial spaces. Through projects as intimate as renovating a mid-century modern home and as sizable as designing NFL stadiums, Do has developed a keen eye for the role color plays in creating an experiential space and the impact it has on consumers.

Do shares what sellers should – and should not – change up when it comes to their home’s interior paint colors, and what shades serve best as a visual template for prospective buyers.

Reconsidering bright colors

Colors used to express oneself, Do believes, can oftentimes be a reflection of their personality, mindset and values. Working with clients from all around the world, including countries like Morocco, Japan, Taiwan, Mexico and more, Do regularly sees the tie between home color and culture.

“As a member of the International Group with RE/MAX Professionals, we work with a lot of Asian clientele and in many Asian households, you may see the color red because it represents good fortune and is very auspicious,” she explains. “Red is a color of high energy and I think that can relate to the dynamic of Asian families who cherish their extended family and host lively gatherings all together.”

She continues, “That said, red is typically a color we would avoid in home staging because it’s seen as a statement color.”

Many home stagers agree that while color is a great way to be expressive while living in a space, it’s often best to eliminate brighter shades when preparing a home to sell in order to appeal to more buyers.

“When it’s time to sell, you should aim to remove yourself from the house and make it a blank slate – almost like an art gallery,” Do says. “Galleries usually have white walls because it allows the art to shine without making an impression on it. I tell my clients to approach their own homes in the same way – you need to set your house up as the neutral gallery for the buyer to see as their next piece of art.”

Aligning with trends

While neutral paint colors are typically timeless, Do shares that there can be a place for brighter colors to stay up or be added in when preparing a home to sell. If the seller’s goal is to match their home with current design trends, like today’s buzz around mid-century modern style, for example, then in-theme colors may be embraced by prospective buyers.

“Right now, the rich jewel tones are on trend, like hunter greens, deep blues and mustard yellows. If they’re implemented in a design-forward way that could appeal to the current buying market, I would say to leave it up on the walls and carefully curate the space around it,” she says.

Do warns that some wall colors, on the other hand, can actually date a home.

“Color doesn’t necessarily always have to go. But if we’re seeing those dark brown or rich red hues from the early 2000s, it may do a disservice to the overall aesthetic of your home. In these cases, I definitely recommend changing it to a color that’s more neutral,” Do advises.

Homes vary in size, have unique layouts and receive different quantities of natural light, thus requiring different shades and undertones of paint even within one color family. That said, Do often finds herself suggesting the colors Swiss Coffee by Benjamin Moore, a neutral-toned white, and Pure White by Sherwin Williams, a creamier tone, to her clients as safe bets for creating a gallery-like effect.

Consumer preferences also have a longstanding history of mirroring societal trends. While cooler grays were preferred for a period of time, warmer neutrals are rising in popularity.

“Because of the change in lifestyle due to COVID-19 in the last couple of years, people are actually starting to favor warmer tones for their mood-boosting and comforting effects. It’s all about psychology,” she explains. “Because people are so uncertain about what’s happening in the world, they want to come home to a place that makes them feel safe.”

Creating a synchronized space

Wall color surely sets a backdrop. But the rest of the elements within a home’s interior have to align to create a space that buyers can envision themselves and their families living in.

“Your furniture and décor pieces have to be cohesive with the wall color. If you have really modern furniture but dated wall colors, the interior can feel disconnected,” Do says. “It’s much harder for buyers to picture how they would personalize, furnish and decorate the home when it doesn’t feel natural.”

Do understands that for many, it’s not in budget to make big changes to a home before hitting the market. In addition to decluttering the space, she shares a few other tricks for staging just with existing items within the home.

“Lighting and window treatments are a relatively easy way to elevate a space. It can even be as simple as moving your curtains all the way up to the ceiling to visually elongate the walls and make the ceiling seem higher,” she explains. “Bring in as much natural light as you can. In smaller spaces, consider swapping out heavier curtains for ones that are sheer to really optimize sunlight.”

A qualified seller’s agent will have insight on the local housing market, have seen comparable properties, and can provide further suggestions to help prep a home to sell.

“When it’s time to sell, just keep in mind that you’re trying to appeal to others’ taste, not your own. Getting rid of personalization and loud wall colors can help the process move along much smoother and attract more buyers along the way,” Do says.

Hot Home Trend: Paint it Black

Black is popping up everywhere in home design, from flooring to windows. Black feature walls also are trending. Matte black finishes have become popular choices for hardware, decor, and finishes.

Take a look at some of the latest trends:

Faucets and Fixtures

Matte black finishes are mostly found in kitchens and bathrooms, often up against a white background for a high-contrast look. It’s being used in both modern and more traditional spaces. Matte black is an easy-to-maintain finish: No need to polish!

Also, matte black is increasingly appearing against brass for an even trendier look, which you can get in one fixture. Kohler is now offering a faucet that is half brass and half matted black—two finishes in one.

Black-Framed Windows

Windows are coming to the forefront. A black window trim can add an industrial look to a space.

Black Accent Walls

Few paint jobs are bolder than painting a wall black. But up against lighter colors, a black feature wall could provide drama to liven up your space.

Black Doors

A black front door can add some luxury to a home’s curb appeal. Black doors on white homes create a trendy farmhouse style, but the look can work on other home styles, too.

Source: Realtor® Magazine

What’s Trending in Kitchens for 2022?

The kitchen is the heart of the house where everyone congregated during the pandemic, and it’s still the go-to room for multiple functions—that means it keeps changing.

The kitchen became an even more significant heart of the home during the pandemic as the focal point for gathering, working, entertaining, and, of course, cooking, says Joe Fava, CEO of Fava Design Group in Miami. Now, homeowners are putting more into their kitchen space—literally. They’re buying larger refrigerators, freezers, and sinks, and second dishwashers and ovens, he says.

Homeowners are entertaining and cooking even more at home, and the price tag reflects their exuberance. Those who can afford to do so spend upwards of $100,000 on kitchen upgrades. But your clients don’t have to pay that much to get a kitchen they love. Much smaller, less costly improvements can make any kitchen more appealing.

Read more…

Source: Realtor® Magazine

How Important is Curb Appeal When Selling a Home?

The exterior of a home can help prospective buyers determine if they’d like to head inside – or run in the opposite direction.

The old adage “never judge a book by its cover” is an important one. But the truth is, first impressions are hard to recreate – especially when it comes to house hunting.

According to a RE/MAX Twitter Poll, a majority of responders – 46.2% – agree that a shabby exterior is the biggest turn-off when touring homes.

Here’s why curb appeal may be critical to selling a home:

Exteriors reflect interiors

Curb appeal is the external appearance of a home, comprised of landscaping, painting, staging and overall aesthetic.

Acting as a hint of what’s to come, the exterior of a home speaks volumes to its interior in terms of maintenance and style. If the outside displays the wear and tear of a home, homebuyers may never open the front door to see if the inside is in sync or not. Even if the kitchen has been renovated with stainless steel appliances or the floors received an upgrade to hardwood, unpleasant or outdated curb appeal will have certain buyers passing by the listing before peeking inside.

When a home has an unkempt exterior – think dead grass, chipped paint or overgrown weeds – prospective buyers could assume the inside needs repairs, too.

According to Torrence Ford, a real estate agent and owner of RE/MAX Premier in Georgia, “move-up buyers” – those upgrading from their current home – set much higher standards for a home’s exterior presentation than first-time homebuyers in today’s market.

“First-time homebuyers just want to lock down a house. A move-up buyer, however, will be more affected by curb appeal and consider it alongside their lifestyle,” he says.

And it’s not just the prospective buyer that forms an impression when looking at the house from the outside. Ford says that appraisers, inspectors and real estate agents likely are also taking a home’s curb appeal into account.

Listing photos (almost always) open with exterior shots

The assessment of curb appeal begins long before buyers arrive on site for a showing.

According to the RE/MAX Future of Real Estate Report, 94% of North Americans searching for properties are doing so online, allowing for them to view a larger quantity of properties in a shorter period of time, even on the go. With photos becoming the catalyst for a buyer’s initial impression, many online browsers could skip over a listing due to an unsightly appearance from a quick snapshot. Plus, staging eye-catching steps, a stoop or a porch adds trendy detail or color, creating more compelling shots for a photographer.

Money talks: Curb appeal could add to overall value

According to REALTOR® Magazine, a study revealed that homes with an appealing exterior sell, on average, for 7% more than comparable homes with a rundown appearance.

In his experience, Ford believes that buyers are more likely to write a higher offer when the entirety of the property feels well cared for. Each small detail that impresses buyers will count toward their overall impression of the home’s worth.

Revamping the front yard and home exterior also increases the value of the neighborhood and surrounding area.

“It has a domino effect. It leaves a lasting impact on the longevity of the neighborhood,” Ford says. “Work on curb appeal and the neighbors will start jumping in, too. When one neighbor starts making upgrades, everybody else tends to want to clean up their property, whether it’s with painting, replacing the roof or even just mowing the lawn.”

So, where to start?

The most important aspect of curb appeal is to ensure the exterior is cleaned up even before sinking money into improvements. This is as simple as mowing the lawn, trimming shrubbery, pulling weeds and eliminating miscellaneous items or garbage.

Creating inviting ambience goes beyond yard care. Sellers can consider adding a number of inexpensive finishing touches, like potted plants or flowers, a new welcome mat, new light fixtures or patio furniture staged on the front porch. Though minor, these accents can help a prospective buyer envision coming home to the space.

“[When updating a home], we will replace shrubbery, repaint the front door, and repaint the house’s foundation so the landscape has a clean backdrop,” Ford says.

He adds that implementing new house numbers, like swapping small, cursive numbers for larger contemporary ones, can help older properties get a quick and easy revitalization.

Sellers may also consider a fresh coat of paint on the home’s exterior, a newly paved driveway or a new roof if its rusty or damaged.

“Curb appeal makes all the difference,” Ford says.

Temperatures Are Dropping – Here’s How to Save on Energy Costs This Winter

Winter is here with shorter days, afternoon sunsets and frosty temps.

With an increase in work-from-home flexibility and remote learning for children, chances are that in 2020, your electricity costs are higher than usual. And, depending on the climate where you live, it’s time to assess how prepared your home is to accommodate more time indoors due to frigid weather and dwindling daylight hours.

Snow is on the way and Wi-Fi use at an all-time high, so you may be looking for ways to operate a more sustainable residence. Consider these tips for reducing your household’s energy bill.

Schedule an energy audit

You can hire experts to inspect energy outputs throughout your home while looking for ways in which you can conserve energy. The goal is to ensure your home is running as efficiently as possible. To make that determination, the expert will take a close look at appliances – like your water heater – as well as structural components – like the insulation between walls – and determine if these features are working to the best of their abilities.

An energy audit serves as a roadmap, helping you navigate where to invest time and money in order to make your house as energy-efficient as possible.

Swap out lightbulbs

Nowadays, it’s easy and affordable to swap out traditional incandescent lightbulbs, the kind that produce electricity from heat, for more efficient options. Compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) and light-emitting diodes (LEDs) are two of the most common energy-efficient bulbs on the market.

Additionally, “smart” lightbulbs are becoming increasingly more popular as well, with options to set timers and schedule lighting to avoid wasting energy. Sometimes, these smart light fixtures can even be paired with voice assistants or controlled through smart phone apps for the utmost control over your home’s lighting.

Invest in an advanced thermostat

The modern advancements in heating and cooling technology mean your HVAC system can actually work with you to maintain a comfortable temperature and avoid wasting heat when no one is home. “Smart” thermostats are designed to internalize the homeowner’s living patterns and adjust the temperature accordingly and automatically.

Many of these smart thermostat devices are controllable via a smart phone app, which means that if you left the heat on high, you can turn down the temperature while away from your house.

Seal off windows and doors

You’d hate to be cranking the heat in your home only to find out the hot air is seeping out the front door. If your home feels drafty or has trouble retaining warmth, assess whether you need to better seal doors and windows. This can especially be an issue in older homes.

Found at most hardware stores, draft guards and DIY window and door insulation methods can seal any gaps to trap in heat in the colder months.

Switch the direction of your ceiling fans

Did you know that the direction your ceiling fan spins determines whether it’s helping cool or heat a room? As winter approaches, reverse the direction of your ceiling fan’s spinning to clockwise to encourage cold air to rise, as opposed to the summertime setting of counterclockwise where cold air gets pushed down.

To change the direction, turn off the fan (wait for a complete stop!) and then flip the switch that is often found on either the motor housing or the base.

Regularly replace air filters

When furnace and air filters become clogged, the build-up causes your HVAC system to work harder and use more energy to simply heat the house.

Regularly replacing the air filters not only takes a burden off of your heating system, but it also ensures you and your family are breathing cleaner air.

4 Features Fall Buyers Want in Prospective Homes

Over the past six months, the course of daily life has greatly changed and, with COVID-19 still present as autumn approaches, homebuyers’ desires have shifted accordingly.

Looking to sell your home? Here are a few features homebuyers are on the lookout for when they tour houses this fall. Consider giving these spaces extra love and attention when preparing to list a house for sale.

  1. Flexible spaces

Homes now function as office spaces and classrooms while still being the place to rest at the end of the day. Homebuyers are seeking interior layouts that can adapt to the changing times. Having multiple spaces to conduct business, take calls or complete classes – while a family member cooks in the kitchen – feels essential when multiple people are home during the day.

Desirable multipurpose spaces may include extra bedrooms – like having a guest room that can operate as a workspace – and finished basements.

  1. Energy-efficient features

With winter right around the corner, interested homebuyers are seeking energy-efficient features for a sustainable household. With so much more time being spent at home these days, people are likely to use resources like water and electricity more than ever.

Some in-demand features that help cut back utility bills include insulated windows, updated appliances and smart thermostats.

  1. Room to workout

Boutique fitness classes and destination gyms dominated the workout space. Since the onset of COVID-19, however, there is a resurgence in the demand for home gyms. And, even as some fitness studios have taken their classes to online platforms, people are rolling out yoga mats on their living room floors with no other place to find Zen.

When searching for homes this fall, interested buyers want a space to workout inside the house, especially with colder weather soon impeding on outdoor recreation.

  1. Extra storage

Pick up a new hobby in recent months? Most people are maxed out on storage space and are seeking even more room to store their new equipment. Increased closet space, attics and garages continue to be desired elements for those searching for a new home this fall.

Home Furnishings Trend: Brass is Back

After years of chrome, stainless steel, and nickel being the shining stars of interior metals, brass is back and starting to steal the show.

As with many home furnishings trends, the comeback was inspired by what’s occurring in fashion. In this case, gold and rose gold watches became influencers a few years ago, says Chicago designer Tom Segal of Kaufman Segal Design, who thinks that home furnishings styles tend to be cyclical. Now he’s adding small brass details to rooms in the same way a gold watch might peek out of a shirt cuff.

Using brass now is an easy, affordable way for homeowners to customize and stay on trend.  “Many people want a warmer look, which is also visible in fabrics as warmer colors return,” Segal says.

Erin Imhof, showroom supervisor at Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery in Lansdale, Pa., has noted an increase in brass finishes. She attributes it to how they complement a wide range of colors and other finishes. “Many of today’s top color trends for kitchens and bathrooms, including all-white, blue, and black, pair beautifully with brass fixtures,” she says.

Others concur that brass is a universal mixer. “Our designers like to integrate brass into their designs, whether it’s an accent like a decorative bowl, object of art, light fixture, or metal base on an end table,” says Julie Sprouse, design sales manager at Ethan Allen, the home furnishings chain based in Danbury, Conn.

Caitie Smithe, a design coordinator and stylist at the Walter E. Smithe Furniture + Design retailer based in Itasca, Ill., also considers brass a material that can be used throughout a home, including light fixtures, hardware, and even light switches and vent controls. Other good places to use brass include bathroom hardware, plumbing fixtures such as sinks, and accessory details like candleholders or picture frames.

Here are five tips for using brass that you can pass on to your clients.

1. Use sparingly. Brass works best when used in small doses. Too much can create a “too matchy-matchy” look, according to Smithe. Overuse can make it start to look cheap, says Segal. “Moderation is key,” he says.

2. Mix finishes. Brass appears more timeless rather than trendy when it’s matte, brushed, or aged, which helps soften its sheen, Segal says. But be careful, Smithe says, when mixing brasses in a single space from different manufacturers. “There is a huge range in color and brightness. Some take on a bright yellow color while others can be more of an aged gold,” she says.

3. Combine warm metal colors. Brass, gold, and bronze can work well together since they share similar warm values versus shiny nickel, which leans toward the colder side, says Sprouse.

4. Mix metals. Some designers also think brass, satin, brushed nickel, stainless steel, and oil-rubbed bronze can be used together. But Imhoff still offers some caution. “Go with similar warm, muted undertones for some consistency,” she says. Chicago designer Summer Thornton likes mixing metals, particularly in kitchens and bathrooms where she might use brass, nickel, and steel combinations.

5. Consider longevity. How long brass will stay fashionable is unknown. When it becomes too ubiquitous in retail stores, shelter magazines, and on design websites, it may be time to move on. The good news is that brass touches are easy to add in and switch out.

Source: REALTOR® Magazine

A Dozen Home and Design Ideas for 2020

Almost everyone enjoys making predictions for a new year—and certainly for a new decade. How about cooking appliances that tell you how to roast and broil to perfection? Or, better yet, new homes that come with a personal chef?

REALTOR® Magazine asked their favorite real estate trend watchers and influencers what to expect in 2020 and beyond. For starters, most agree that gray is on its way out, while deep hues are becoming the stars in interior paint. And more homeowners are following the craze of decluttering and tidying up popularized by Marie Kondo so they can focus on experiencing joy in their home.

While some fads are natural evolutions and others are more far-fetched, they’ve whittled it down to a dozen that are sure to inspire buyers and sellers alike. Plus, don’t miss five up-and-coming kitchen trends that are bound to spark interest and maybe a remodel.

Read the article…

The Best Paint Colors for 2020, According to Interior Designers

One of the easiest ways to update your home is by swiping on a fresh coat of paint. No matter which room you’re in — the bedroom, kitchen, or bath — adding a new color to your walls or furniture is a cheap and commitment-free way to make an eye-catching change. And because paint is totally reversible, it’s also one of the best ways to incorporate some of the latest interior design trends into your home every few years.

If you’re ready to make a major change this year, look no further than the top paint colors of 2020, which run the gamut from bubbly blush to earthy clay. To find these paint ideas, we asked interior designers which colors they expected to see in abundance in the new year. Whether your style is modern or traditional, minimalist or extravagant, there’s a 2020 paint color for you. And if you need even more low-cost ways to revamp your space, try one of these DIY home decor projects.

Read Good Housekeeping’s article

Kitchen Hoods That Steal the Spotlight

In the kitchen, the spot for the range hood is considered prime real estate. Homeowners used to put the microwave there. But that’s getting swapped out for a decorative hood, which can come in a range of metals.

Read the article on REALTOR® Magazine