How to Paint for Real Estate Profits: Picking the Best Exterior Color

Preparing your home for the market can be expensive and confusing.  While it is true that construction upgrades can increase your home’s value and speed up its sale, you must be savvy to get the best “bang for your buck.”

Choosing the best exterior paint color is a great way to increase your return on investment. Unfortunately, the exterior color selection process can be frustrating!

Everyday homeowners ask my advice when it comes to selecting their ideal exterior color:

  • What is the perfect color for this style of home?
  • Which colors will make my house look larger?
  • Should I match the Jones’ house in my neighborhood?
  • How will I know if the color I select will look great before I paint the entire house?

Begin with Brainstorming

Let’s make this fun.  Put your favorite music on and start up your computer.  Go to and type into the search box your style of home.  Spend 30 minutes exploring the site.

You can get very specific with your searches—for example “Classic Colonial Style Exterior Photos in Boston.”

This search currently shows 4,893 results!  As you browse through the beautiful photos, save the ones that really stand out to you.

Size Matters

If you want to make your home look larger, you should paint the body of the exterior with a “light color.”

I suggest narrowing your choices to colors with a LRV (Light Reflectance Value) greater than 75.

LRV represents the measure of how much light a specific color absorbs and reflects.  A color with an LRV above 75 will reflect more light than a darker color.

When you go to your local paint store simply ask the clerk to see a decorator’s color fan deck that displays Light Reflectance Value.  Most Benjamin Moore and Sherwin-Williams color decks show the LRV below the color name on each swatch!

Tricky Trim

If your home has replacement windows then consider custom-matching your trim work to your vinyl-clad window sashes.  Ask your professional painting contractor to use new laser technology to get an exact match on your windows’ white.

Keep in mind there are hundreds of shades of “white.”  Depending on manufacturer, brand, type of material, quality of material and level of exposure, your clad windows will have their own unique white color.

When you match your soffit, fascia, window and door trim exactly to your clad windows, your home’s trim has complete uniformity.  This gives your freshly painted house a sharp, clean and polished look.

Complement, Don’t Copy

Many homeowners drive around their neighborhoods in search of the perfect exterior paint color.  Finding local inspiration can be smart but be careful—no one likes a copycat!

I suggest finding 4 homes in your neighborhood that match your home’s style and have a great color scheme.  Then, use your smart phone to snap a few photos of each house (note: more natural light = higher quality).

Download Sherwin-Williams free “ColorSnap” app on your phone, click “match a photo” and you will immediately see small bubbles of color that are complimentary to the photo.  This will act as a great starting point to exploring similar color options!

Ask an Expert

Call a professional painting contractor and ask them what they can do to help you choose a great exterior color.  Many painting contractors have a variety of tools at their disposal that can make the color selection process simple, fast and stress-free.

When you interview your painting contractor ask them if they use professional designers, manufacturer’s representatives, color software, laser technology, etc.

Always Test

Never paint your entire exterior without first brushing out sample colors on the actual house.  Fancy software and computer applications that simulate a specific color on your home are great but they are not exact.

After you have selected 3 colors that you really love, ask your painting contractor to paint small samples on each side of your home.  Allow yourself a few days to view these samples.

I suggest paying careful attention to how the colors look in different lights from the early morning, to the peak sunlight hours of the afternoon, and even at dusk.  Also, pay attention to how the color looks on overcast days versus sunny days.

If you follow these quick tips, I guarantee you will find a color that will help attract the right buyer!

Call us today and let us help you pick the most profitable exterior paint color for your home!