Spring’s on its way, meaning spring cleaning and updating. One of the least expensive, most effective ways to update your decor is to paint. But what color? Paint colors, like fashion trends, fall in and out of favor. And most of us want to be in style.
Why not consider what’s new in interior design, furniture, and fashion? Watch the runways in Paris, Milan, and New York for hints about upcoming color trends. And look back at the January issues of design magazines – many included features on color trends.
For manufacturers and marketers, color is all about business. However, it’s a not-for-profit group of color design professionals that has been instrumental in shaping new color palettes since it was founded in 1962.
Based on considerable (and expensive) research, Color Management Group (CMG) decides what’s new in color and design. When CMG speaks, manufacturers of just about every product you can think of – including paint – listen. The result is new colors, not just for your walls, but for your toaster, your bathroom towels, and even your car.
So, what about your spring spruce-up? Once again, bold colors are in. Last year, despite a concerted ad campaign, consumers showed resistance to painting entire rooms in bright colors. Now, many paint companies have toned down their palettes and encourage the color-wary to use “big” color for accent walls.
Luckily for the rest of us, warmer neutrals remain popular. One thought: Stick with a color that makes you feel comfortable and happy. It’ll make your spruce-up worthwhile.
The most important step in listing your home is establishing the price. That doesn’t necessarily mean what you need or even want for your property; it means a realistic price that reflects its true value. An unbiased perspective is vital – as the homeowner you’re proud of the upgrades you’ve made. But can you be realistic about whether the upgrades are still in good shape and on trend?
Unfortunately, most sellers don’t have the time or energy to compare their home to similar properties in the area. Your real estate agent can give you a good estimate of your home’s value.
However, unless he or she is also a licensed appraiser, your agent can only provide a broker’s estimate of value, established through a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA).
CMAs can be very accurate in estimating your home’s value, but your agent may suggest you consider hiring a licensed appraiser to really nail down the value, and likely can advise you on good appraisers he or she has used before. Expect to pay a licensed appraiser $300 to $400.
Appraisers are unbiased. They usually use the cost approach – estimating how much it would cost to build a new house exactly like yours.
This has a side bonus: You’ll get a sense of how your older home compares to new builds.
He or she will look at everything from your neighborhood to the cracks in the home’s foundation. It is in probing behind the cosmetics of your home that an appraiser earns his or her stripes.
That’s when you’ll find whether or not your upgrades are still assets, or if now is the time to fix that leaky roof.
If it’s good news, you may want to share your appraisal with buyers who are close to making an offer, especially if the buyer appears to be talking down the property with a view to submitting a lowball offer.