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Saturday, December 9, 2023

Downsizing or Not, Increase Your Home’s Worth

Whether you’re gearing up to sell and you want to max out your price, or you just want to freshen up the appearance of your home, here are paint colors and suggestions from the pros.

Maybe you’re ready to sell and downsize, or you look around and realize your abode has grown a bit outdated, even dingy. It doesn’t cost an arm and a leg to get your place looking its best. Here are top tips from the experts.


The first thing to do is clean the entire home from top to bottom. This includes baseboards, that space behind the toilet, and under every piece of furniture. If you’re selling, your competition is often brand new homes.  Clean the inside of appliances, cupboards and drawers. Windows, appliances, the floor under your washer and dryer should all be spic and span. 

Now, do the same on the outside. Rent a power washer to get driveways and sidewalks free of dirt and do the same on your porch. If you have a path around to the back, clean it as well. Check that gutters are empty, and that your roof isn’t covered in tree litter.


If you’re selling, remove all your personal photos and mementos. Buyers want to come in and fall in love with the romantic notion of their new home, not yours. Clear tables and counters of everything that is not essential. Toss plastic plants. A good rule of thumb is to get rid of half of the things that are out, then reappraise and consider whether you need to dispose of or put away half again. 

Which Color Should You Choose?

A recent survey by Opendoor verified that neutral colors are the most sought-out. Nearly a third (30%) of respondents picked gray as their most desirable shade, followed closely (26%) by beige. But getting the tone just right isn’t always easy just by looking at a color tag in the paint store. Here, experts in selling real estate share their favorite brands and colors. 
  • Sherwin-Williams Agreeable Gray (SW7029). This is a light, neutral “greige” (grayish beige) that works indoors or out. 
  • Sherwin-Williams Alabaster (SW 7008). For a soft white that’s easy on the eye, try this shade that goes with everything.
  • Benjamin Moore Gray Mist (OC-30). If you want your home to have the current “greige” color scheme, take a look at this hue to warm up interiors or provide a neutral exterior.
  • Sherwin-Williams Iron Ore (SW 7069). Use this deep, dark gray sparingly. It’s great for shutters and exterior doors and accents, or try a bit on a wall inside to highlight white cupboards.
  • Benjamin Moore Chantilly Lace (OC-65). A warm, refreshing white that is favored by many stagers inside and out.
  • Sherwin-Williams Accessible Beige (SW 7036). A warm gray that can cover interior walls to increase your home’s sale price.
  • Sherwin-Williams Snowbound (SW 7004). White exteriors are all the rage, and this color provides a lovely, pure surface that isn’t overly stark.

Nobody enjoys decluttering, but it’s essential for making your house look welcoming and open. Consider removing a piece or two of furniture if rooms have become over-stuffed. Your real estate agent or a friend can lend a fresh eye, or even suggest a way to rearrange what you have to fit the space better. If you’re selling, furniture in the home should be as neutral and slim as possible. 

If you’ll be moving out before the house hits the market, consider having the home staged professionally for a better price. This involves moving in (rented) furnishings that a designer will place in rooms to help buyers visualize how to use spaces. Rugs, pillows, and pictures warm up empty spaces.


Now’s the time to fix any cracks in the wall and refresh caulking around tubs and windows. Do you need to patch some drywall? Are there lights that don’t work or bulbs that are mismatched? Are shutters hanging evenly? Do any doors have to be lifted or pushed to shut? Do windows open and close easily? Have you lubricated the garage door opening machinery? Does the fireplace work? Is your house snug and tight in the winter?


Fresh paint outside and in can make a huge difference in your home’s appearance. “Paint is a relatively affordable and easy change, yet it has an outsize impact on a buyer’s perception of the home,” says Amanda Pendleton, Zillow’s home-trend expert. “That first impression contributes to their overall feelings about a home and, ultimately, how much they’re willing to pay for it.”

A recent survey of 4,700 prospective US homebuyers found that gray walls – in kitchens, living rooms, bathrooms and bedrooms – correlated with higher prices paid for homes. Gray has been the top color used in home improvement shows recently, which are often copied on social media feeds. But for good reason, since gray is the color of retreat and refuge, which our homes became during and after the Covid crisis.

However, you don’t want to do the entire house in gray. Front doors painted black pulled in more money than gray ones, and prospective buyers would offer $3,365 less for a home with gray floors, according to Zillow’s research. And even though you spent weeks finding the perfect red accent paint to match your pillows, force yourself to paint over it. Buyers want to imagine their pops of color in the room, not yours. 


Finally, consider making some inexpensive purchases to spruce up your home. A new doormat with a pot or two of flowers on the porch does wonders for curb appeal. Inside, consider buying some fat, fluffy towels in neutrals to show off the bath. LED lights replace can lights with much better illumination for a small price. And lastly, if you’re having an open house some gingersnaps fresh out of the oven send a tempting, but not overwhelming, scent through the home.