Pat's Market Wise Q&A column ~ Can the Wrong Paint Color Cost Thousands?

Pat Kapowich for the San Jose Mercury News Q: One of the listing agents we've interviewed to sell our home insists that it should be painted a more neutral color. It sounds to us like she is not interested in selling our house with this barely year-old paint job. She feels that our choice of color is too personal and will distract buyers. The other prospective listing agents said nothing about the current paint scheme. We feel there is nothing wrong with the color. Unfortunately, this agent is our first choice among the candidates. Why is she so insistent on this matter?

various color paper

A: Plenty of reasons. First, she has no doubt invested her time and resources working open houses, only to spend hours listening to questions like, Why is this house painted like an Easter egg? Second, she knows the painting of the home should enhance the selling process; lacking that, paint needs to be a non-issue. Finally, she does not want to lose any buyers who cannot or will not look past the unique painting of a home. The cost of yet another paint job while engaging the most qualified listing agent is a small price to pay to save your family tens of thousands of dollars in price reduction, not to mention dozens of days on the market. Make no mistake if you choose one of the runners-up to sell your idea of a pretty house, you'll have approaching buyers instruct their Realtors to keep driving while murmuring, What were the sellers thinking?

Pat Kapowich,, owns Kapowich Real Estate in Cupertino. Send questions to