The kitchen benchtop was red, the window frames were a metallic red, the tap handles were red, the curtains red and yes, even the toilet seat was red. This lady had a definite favourite colour!
Unfortunately we were trying to sell the house and despite a fair price and vigorous ad campaign no-one could see past the red. It was pretty much impossible to. And that’s why your selling agent or property manager will recommend “real estate beige” for your wall colours pre sale or leasing. It’s safe, it can be dressed up with darker and striking furnishings, it offends no-one and of course you can “move straight in” as the ads say.
But here’s the new twist.
White. The ceilings usually are, but now it’s the benches, the wall tiles, the vanities, the appliances, the curtains, the coffee table. Even the fluffy little almost-dog that’s lying in a corner (on a white rug). The white floor tiles are massive (who will win the ‘biggest tiles’ title and be done with it?) and have that impossible sheen to them.
Agents love these properties because they can use words like “crisp, canvas and clean-lined” in the same sentence. Their photos look like the pages of a designer magazine. And they don’t have to apologise for red toilet seats.
But is it just us or do you have trouble imagining yourself living in a home like that?
Of course plenty of good property advertising is about aspirational marketing, showing what life can be like if you just buy this home. Couples start holding hands again, the man wears a tux and his wife looks longingly at him over the flute of impossibly expensive champagne. But we digress!
Home buyers do have a desire to live in a magically clean, clinical and ordered world. But what about some personality too? To me a favourite chair, even a slightly worn and out of fashion one, says “I like sitting here”. A rubble of toys (tidy!) says “This is a family home” and a sauce-spotted recipe book says “this is a kitchen where you’ll love cooking”.
One agent we know tells sellers to put away personal photos, trophies and similar so buyers can more easily picture themselves in the home. What rubbish.
Clean and tidy, yes. Uncluttered and with a sense of space, definitely. But for our money we say a home is a home. When you go to sell or rent your property don’t be afraid to show some of your personality.
Unless of course you love red…