Want to make an extra $1,500 on the sale of your home? Paint the front door dark gray or navy blue, according to a study by Zillow. Nab another $1,500 by painting the home’s exterior "greige" (a mix of beige and gray).

You can leave that taupe or medium brown paint, but there is a risk. Fresh paint will photograph better and may be the deciding point for a potential buyer. Just as color can impact us positively, some colors can be the kiss of death.

It’s all about the curb appeal

Never underestimate the power of curb appeal–it’s your home’s first impression and it can make you a bundle of money or cost you dearly.

In fact, projects that improve a home’s curb appeal can bump the home’s value as much as 17 percent. Landscaping is the first curb appeal project most homeowners take on. However, neglecting the exterior condition of the home can be a huge mistake because your lovely landscaping isn’t the first thing potential buyers will notice.

It’s a well-known fact that home buyers choose which homes to visit in person by viewing them first on the internet. The first impression of your home will be what sticks with the buyer and most of the time will be the determining factor as to whether they set up an appointment to look inside.

So, while freshening up the front yard, walkway, driveway, and porch are all important to the home’s overall curb appeal, peeling paint on the home’s trim or the wrong color on the exterior walls may doom the homeowner to a mediocre final sale price or longer days on market.

Consider your home’s architecture

Birmingham architect Bill Ingram told Southern Living, "painted brick has a particularly Southern feel.” This has been increasing in popularity recently in the Birmingham area. This is a perfect solution to cover up the dated terracotta pink brinks on 1990s homes.

Henry Long of Birmingham suggests in Southern Living a color pallet of bright white and dark gray. "The scheme is very simple and clean and is especially well suited for home designs that are influenced by English and European styles.”

Make sure that you take into consideration the surrounding natural area when picking a color. In Birmingham, there are trees around homes and often rock. Make sure you do not pick a color that doesn't clash with the natural beauty.

Accentuate the positive

Accenting the negatives is one of the biggest mistakes homeowners make when painting the exterior of their homes, according to the color experts at Sherwin-Williams. “Unattractive elements such as gutters, downspouts, a protruding garage door, air conditioning units, unevenly placed windows” are all things that need to be downplayed.

The experts advise homeowners to accentuate “interesting architectural detailing; it can often sparkle with a contrasting or accent color.”

Tips for choosing color

Naturally, you want your home to stand out among all the others, but choose a color that doesn’t clash, but harmonizes with surrounding homes. A darker or lighter shade will still make your home stand out. Drive around your neighborhood and pick homes that you think are the highlights of your area. Travel to popular areas of Birmingham like Homewood and Highland where there are many homes that have been recently remodeled. Find your favorite color schemes and use those as inspiration.

Pick up some color samples and take them home with you and look at them outdoors, during different times of the day and at different angles. When you have finally narrowed the choices down but still cannot decide between several colors, buy them each, in small quantities, and find an out-of-the way spot-on the home to test them out.

Need more tips? You’ll find them at Houzz.com, BobVila.com, bhg.com, Southern Living or try the nifty color selector tool at Valspar Paints.

Color gives you an opportunity to create psychological connections with potential buyers and optical illusions that will help direct their vision where you want it to go. A fresh coat of paint is an inexpensive and easy way to create a positive impact when selling your home.

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