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 Houzz.com 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!

Five Key Things To Remember When Hiring a Painting Contractor

I always ask potential clients this question when I meet them for the first time:

“Since you have never worked with any of the painting companies that are providing you estimates, how will you truly know which will offer you the highest-quality service?”

My question is often met with blank stares because it is difficult to answer.

Unfortunately, many homeowners do not know what they will actually get in terms of quality and professionalism until they are already halfway through a project.

These are a few key things to consider that will help you make a better informed decision about who you hire to work in your home.

Beware of Low Bidders

If you receive a painting estimate that is much lower than your other bids, this can be an important warning sign that something may be wrong. It could mean that the painting contractor intends to spend less time on your project than what is necessary. This usually means taking shortcuts, cutting corners and using cheap products. It may also indicate that the contractor is currently desperate for work due to negative customer reviews on past projects. Finally, it may indicate that the contractor is breaking the law by operating without license or insurance or by not paying a legal, livable wage to employees.

Remember: if a price looks too good to be true, then it probably is!

Be a Detective: Let Past Customers Help you with your research

Collect references and speak directly with the contractor’s past customers:

What did you love about working with XYZ Painting Company? What could have been better? Would you recommend them to family and friends? What else should I know about their company?

Most established professional painting companies leave behind an “online footprint.” Do a few google searches and look for customer feedback in these places: State Departments of Consumer Protection, local Better Business Bureaus, PDCA.org, Google Reviews, Yahoo Reviews, Yelp.com, Angie’s List, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.

Remember: 30 minutes of research can save you weeks of stress and aggravation!

PDCA. What professional associations does your contractor belong to?

In the painting industry, the PDCA (Painting & Decorating Contractors of America) is the premiere guild for residential painting contractors. A company’s involvement in the PDCA and/or similar contractor associations is important because it is an indication of the company’s commitment to excellence.

A painting contractor who is active in these types of associations is serious about adhering to current best practices. They are more likely to continually learn and improve all phases of their business from: product knowledge, to quality workmanship, to safety standards and employee recruitment.

Remember: the nation’s leading painting contractors are members of the PDCA.

Everything should be in writing

This seems obvious but make sure all of these things are in your estimate and/or contract:

  • Specific areas to be painted
  • Specific number of coats applied to each area
  • Specific time spent on preparation (for example: man hours of electric sanding)
  • Specific exclusions
  • Specific material used (soft supplies and paints)
  • Specific manufacturer names and product lines for all paints and stains
  • Specific start date
  • Specific amount of time a job will take until completion
  • Specifics about fixed and variable pricing
  • Specifics about payment schedule
  • Specifics about warranties
  • Specifics about level of workmanship (PDCA Quality Standards)
  • Specifics license numbers and custom insurance certificates

Remember: when you don’t have these things in writing, you open yourself up to future conflict and disappointment.

Who are the painters coming to my home?

Ask your contractor these questions about the painters who will be in your home:

  • How long have they worked with the company?
  • Describe your hiring process?
  • What screening mechanisms do you have in place?
  • Are your background checks across state lines?
  • Do you use drug testing? Which laboratory?
  • Can I see copies of background checks and drug tests?
  • What is your training program like?
  • What is your safety program like?
  • Is there Crew Leader training?

Remember: your painting contractor is going to have access to your home and family, make sure you are comfortable with the laborers who will be working on your property.

If you are interested in hiring a painting contractor that takes these 5 things seriously, then please give us a call. We pledge to be prompt, reliable, and professional.

We want you to love your paint job and we promise to make the painting process convenient and stress-free.