Fall 2023|volume 17|Issue 1

    Steel City Real Estate

    Home Showing and Selling: Goodbye, Drab Neutral Colors
    Darla K. Jobkar

    Darla K. Jobkar

    To all of you readers who are keen on neutrals, know that I am, too. Neutrals are easy on the eye, are a wonderful tool for blending and synthesizing disparate objects/rooms, and add an air of sophistication and elegance. Unfortunately, the battle hymn for real estate sales has become that of “shade safety.” I’ve seen so many homeowners err on the side of dissatisfaction with their paint color because they believed it would entice buyers in 15 years when they imagined moving. Sigh.

    Lesson #1 of Color. It’s your house—act like it. Our home is an extension of who we are. Within those walls are the objects that mean something to us. We perform the most intimate and extraordinary actions there. It’s a safe haven, a functional dwelling, and a gathering place rolled into one. That said, do not compromise your personality or taste for what’s considered “palatable” to others, or potential buyers. Granted, when it comes time to sell, a real estate professional should be able to guide you in re-painting any walls that may prove a liability, but until that day arrives, make it your own space. If you love surfing and swimming with the dolphins, paint the bedroom that tropical blue that reminds you of the Costa Rican vacation five years ago. If you wish to live in the Tuscan countryside, but the closest you can come to it is painting your living room a delicious, maize yellow from 15th-century villas, then do it. And if the sunlight streams beautifully through your master bath skylights, think how invigorating those walls would be each morning in a shade of verbena. Do what comes naturally, but just be sure to do it well. The downside with colors is that a bad paint job becomes more obvious. Take care to use a professional if necessary, and always perform due diligence by taping a swatch to the wall to test it out prior to painting.

    Lesson #2. Thou shalt covet thy neighbors’ colors. If you travel often to other countries, you’ll quickly learn that foreigners aren’t afraid of color. Though civilians on the streets of Milan, Italy, tend to cloth themselves in navy, gray, and black, they balance the solemnity of their wardrobe with brave commitments to color in their living spaces. As I write this, red is taking off as the predominant trend in Italy. And orange in all of its unabashed, and under-appreciated, glory is taking over the restaurants and apartments of Buenos Aires. India is still courting bright shades of blue and magenta, and Northern European country homes are breathtaking in creamy, cheerful shades of yellow. Design trends often come from other countries (hello IKEA!), and it’s important to note that while we may be more reticent to take a huge risk, starting small can oftentimes lead us to braver action, and more up-to-date results. This leads us to …

    Lesson #3. Welcome to the 21st century. Sometimes, we are trapped by tradition. Granted, it can be a wonderful element that lends predictability and consistency to our lives. Thanksgiving, for example. It’s an old tradition we love so much that we are willing to wear elasticized waist bands and forego all sense of self-control for it. But when it comes to painting our home, tradition can mean never experiencing the ever-changing world of interior design, which can be a fun trip to take every few years. Some people, fearful of upsetting their parents or developing their individual aesthetic, simply go with what they were raised with. “My parents’ house was [fill in the blank here]. It’s what I know; why buck the system?” Well, some people also grew up in homes with plastic on the sofas. Enough said. Sometimes, we need to buy that design magazine, take a look inside, and really give our home some thought. Consider that your colors might be dating your home. That’s why I associate avocado green with the 1970s. Colors sometimes have the energy of an era associated with them. Hopefully, yours are indicative of this century. It’s been 11 years already, folks. And yes, neutrals are “timeless,” but fear is not. Have courage. Add some color. Remember, paint is not a tattoo. It can be easily remedied if you believe you made a mistake.

    Darla K. Jobkar is a full-time, top-producing realtor with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices. She has been serving the Greater Pittsburgh area for the past 27 years, and she is a Pittsburgh native and a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh. Darla holds the following real estate designations: Certified Residential Specialist, Accredited Buyer’s Representative, and graduate of the Realtor’s Institute. For more information about the Darla K. Jobkar Real Estate Team, visit her website at DarlaSellsRealEstate.com or the Berkshire website, ThePreferredRealty.com. And follow Darla at facebook.com/StripDistrictPgh and twitter.com/darlajobkar.