The topic of conversation—whether you're enjoying a glass of wine at a cocktail party or waiting in line at Wegmans—is the weather. Specifically, the interminable, never-ending winter that refuses to say goodbye. It seems that every meteorological discussion—whether it's the polar vortex, sub-zero temperatures, the blizzard or frozen pipes—inevitably involves some conveyance of the personal indignity and humiliation of having suffered through one of the worst seasons in memory.
Of course, we devise strategies to help pass the time waiting for the arrival of the first daffodils. Many Rochesterians decide that the months of January and February are the right time to prepare their homes to sell in the spring market. These homeowners process that which they've learned as a result of gorging on far too many episodes of whatever is the latest rage on HGTV. They begin the process of purging and decluttering. They undertake the arduous task of removing Nixon-era wallpaper. And, of course, they begin to paint. Being the devoted and obedient HGTV acolytes that they are, they know they need to "neutralize." They dutifully run to Lowe’s, purchase five gallons of paint, rush home and embark upon the transformation of their residence. What color have they chosen?
White. Yeah, white. Snow white. Winter white. Blizzard white.
Unfortunately, far too many homeowners believe that White is the Only Neutral Color. The reality is that there are a lot of great, neutral colors. It just so happens that, locally, white is one of the worst colors you can choose. It reminds us of winter. It leaves us cold. And buyers hate it.
So, what color should you choose? Well, every region throughout the country has a color palette that is both popular and dominant. If you live in New Mexico, you'll tend toward rich umbers and deep earth tones. If you're in Florida, vibrant whites and bold primary tones are common. In Rochester? We want warm earth tones. Something to brighten our day and help us forget the misery of the tundra. At the moment, Cupola Yellow is having its 15 minutes.
This isn't rocket science. You just need to allow yourself the opportunity to step a bit outside of your comfort zone and explore a more contemporary aesthetic. If you're a colorist, you'll have no trouble choosing the right tone and hue that will be the envy of all. Obviously, most of us aren't repressed Leonardos waiting for the opportunity to express our inner artist. So, instead, we turn outward and look for help choosing specific colors that will tie in with our existing furniture, warm the room and entice buyers. I know of two great resources.
1) Pottery Barn: Four times a year, Pottery Barn conducts market research and focus groups to determine what shade of oatmeal is going to get consumers all hot and bothered in the coming season. Along with their strategic partner, Sherwin Williams, they're spending millions of dollars to forecast the future and grease the wheels of commerce. There are usually 20 colors to choose from. Ignore the black, the brown, the purple, the orange and the white. Focus on the three or four warm earth tones and you've probably made a great choice!
2) Sally Zamiara: Sally is a local decorator who I've been working with the past few years to help my clients prepare their homes for market. She's got a great eye and a kind disposition. No Sister Parish-like criticisms, sighs or mandates. Instead, helpful advice, a warm smile and a generous laugh. I can't think of a single home that she's prepared that didn't sell within the first 45 days on the market! How's that for success? You can reach Sally at 747-3881.
A final word on making your home move-in friendly: More than almost anything, buyers hate wallpaper. Sellers often tell me that it’s too much work to take it down and paint a room, but the reality is, that’s exactly the thought that potential buyers are going to have when they walk through your house. And it can be the difference between buying your house or walking away. Remember, people don’t want to buy projects— contractors do, and they'll pay you pennies on the dollar for your residence. Instead, people want to buy homes! Help them to achieve that goal and you'll be amply rewarded!
Thinking of buying or selling? Contact me, Mark Siwiec, at 218-6275. Thanks!