In these days of economic upheaval, when there is a plethora of houses on the market for sale, how do you make your client’s stand apart? If you work with a builder, who may have several new homes that need to move, of if you work with a homeowner who has been transferred to a new city, you can provide the help to get those houses sold.
A realtor will tell you that in order to sell a home everything must be painted beige with no wallpaper. I would like to share a couple of different viewpoints regarding the “real estate beige” concept.
COLOR MY WORLD
Studies show that people are attracted to color and pattern. This is why some builders have model homes that use color and pattern in wall coverings, paints and fabrics to create an impression on buyers. Also, 90 percent of the population cannot visualize how a house will look when it is personalized with furniture and color. If everything is beige and flat, the house lacks personality and the only thing that sets it apart is the floor plan.
While people are buying a house for the floor plan, they also are buying a home that will reflect their personalities. Many people want to be able to move into a new home and not have to do anything to the house but add their furniture. The biggest deterrent to selling existing homes that have color is that the homeowner has used too many different colors and styles that don’t work together, or the colors are too extreme.
For example, the kitchen has yellow and blue floral country wallpaper, the guest powder room has red and white striped wallpaper, the master bedroom is painted purple and taupe, the master bath is faux finished in peach, bedroom one is painted pink with a teddy bear border, and bedroom two has a wall covering that looks like a tropical rain forest in shades of green. This type of no-rhyme-or-reason design detracts from the home’s qualities, diminishes the resale appeal, and lengthens the selling time.
First, when decorating a home for a client you know won’t own this home forever, or when staging a home for sale, choose a color palette of three colors that complement each other that the homeowner enjoys and would be easy for many people to live with.
Next, make all of the more expensive surfaces such as flooring, cabinets, countertops and window treatments a complementary neutral shade that works with your color palette. This creates a base to work from so that when it’s time to change all that’s needed is a little cosmetic magic. You can create a totally new look at any time by repainting, selecting new wall coverings and new soft window treatments using different values of the color palette in each room of the house.
Don’t forget the fifth wall, the ceiling! It does not always have to be white, but can be painted an interesting color or even wallpapered with a non-directional pattern. This color palette concept creates a nice flow from room to room and gives unity to the home.
It is a good idea to use a combination of wall coverings and paint to create visual interest and warmth in a home. Choose wall covering patterns that are not too wild, novel, or tied to a defined design style or trend. Transitional wallpaper such as abstract motifs, textures, stripes, architectural patterns, tone-on-tone damasks, grass cloths, paisleys, and nature themes such as leaves are good choices because they can work with contemporary or traditional styles.
Using non-gender specific designs allow you to create an environment that makes everyone comfortable. You may want to stay away from small realistic florals because they tend to be more gender specific and become dated more quickly. If you decide you must use a floral pattern, consider using a larger stylized version, which would be more easily accepted.
GIVE NEUTRAL PERSONALITY
If the client is adamant about keeping everything real estate beige for resale, I would suggest you use neutral wall coverings that add texture and dimension, so that those broad expanses of painted beige walls do not look so flat. Neutrals in wall covering do not have to be just vanilla or white. You can choose different values of beige, taupe, brown, gray and black. Not to be forgotten are all of the beautiful metallic inks in muted gold, silver, copper, pewter and bronze that can act as neutrals.
There are many different design styles in wall coverings today offered in combinations of neutral colors using matte, pearled and raised inks, along with glass beads and sand that add tactile as well as visual texture. The beauty of these designs is that they are not all faux finishes, but are designs like damasks, paisleys, geometrics and more.
By adding a neutral wall covering to an accent wall in a great room you can relieve miles of unrelenting beige boredom. You can use a neutral wall covering in a bathroom on the wall opposite the mirror and it will give the perception that the whole room has wallpaper. By using small areas of strategically placed wall covering you are creating an impression with the buyers of an upscale, interesting home that stands apart and is ready to move into today. Using the wide variety of available neutrals in wall covering you can add interest without tying into any specific color scheme, allowing the new homeowners to introduce color through furniture, bedding and soft window treatments.
I have purchased three homes, two of which were 10 years or older and looked very outdated. The third house was only two years old, but with a horrible color scheme. Having an interior design background, I was not detoured from buying these white elephants. Using the three color palette concept on all three houses, I was able to update the look of the homes for a nominal amount of money using wall covering, paint and fabrics creating a beautiful, upscale, personality for my homes in which I enjoyed living.
When it came time to sell them, the first two houses sold in one week each. During a depressed market, I married and needed to sell my third house. My home was one of 40 in my neighborhood up for sale, so this was not a very opportune selling environment. Although it took five months to sell this house, it was a much shorter time period than many other homes in the neighborhood. I made money on all three houses and proved that a home does not have to be beige and lack wall covering in order to sell.
So say goodbye to “real estate beige”! When it comes to your clients’ homes help them live comfortably and sell confidently with color, style and pizzazz!
Theresa Roh-Roberson is director of marketing and public relations for S