Do sellers repaint for resale anymore? It used to be the standard advice to have soft neutral colors on the walls, lest buyers be put off by the need to repaint a color they find displeasing, and I still read lots of house staging stories that offer that counsel.


But that's clearly not what I'm seeing when I cyber-gawk homes for sale in my neighborhood (it's like an open house without having to take off your shoes at the door.) Unless eye-popping reds and greens are  the new neutrals? Sure, some of the houses look like they've reverted to builder's beige for an easier sale. But even in this prolonged market downturn, many more of them look like they've probably got a shelf in the basement filled with paint cans in a dazzling array of colors.

Don't get me wrong: I'm definitely not anti-color, and have my own collection of paint cans to prove it. But even as I painstakingly applied an emphatic Brazilian Blue to my kitchen walls, I added it to the list of reasons I can never move, because it took me roughly forever to paint the rabbit-warren shaped space and no one is likely to accuse it of being neutral.

When we were home-shopping in the '90s, we saw a lot of very innocuously colored walls, as if they'd all taken the same home-staging course. (Well, that and some really awful wallpaper and borders, along with one shrine to John Wayne.) The occasional vivid hue that wasn't in my color wheelhouse didn't bother me, since I figured paint was a pretty cheap fix, but real estate agents for years have repeated the lore that buyers get distracted by off-putting colors and many can't see  past too much personalization. (OK, there was one house we ruled out quickly based on wall treatment: The hunting-themed duck border in the living room looked difficult to remove.)

What are you seeing in your neighborhood open houses? And would you repaint for resale or hope to find a buyer who either shares your taste or doesn't mind picking up a paint brush to suit themselves? Are red and dark chocolate the new neutrals of choice?

Photo credit: Chicago Tribune