Susan Baum Real Estate

Expert Advice

Paint Your Bathroom This Color and Your Home Could Be Worth $5,000 More


  The conventional wisdom says that houses sell better when they're adorned with neutral colors like white, eggshell, and taupe. But a new study shows you might want to be a little bolder in the color selection. Painting walls in slate, cerulean, and even navy shades of blue could mean more green in your pocket when selling a home. 

A new analysis by real estate site of more than 32,000 photos of sold homes finds that light shades of powder blue and periwinkle, especially in a bathroom, are correlated to an increase in home value of $5,440, on average. (If you were wondering what Home Depot’s top-selling blue interior paint hue is, it's this soft blue-gray called “Siberian Ice.”

On the other hand, homes with white or off-white bathrooms sold for an average of $4,035 less according to Zillow. 

"Both kitchens and bathrooms are big focal points for home buyers. However, bathrooms are a bit more standardized than kitchens, so certain wall colors can really change the look and feel of the space," says Kerrie Kelly, a home design expert at Zillow. "While wall colors in kitchens are also important, so are the kitchen appliances, countertop materials [and] layout." 

Blue hues appear to boost home value in other rooms, as well. Homes with bedrooms painted in colors like this bold cadet blue called “Blue Edge” or Caribbean-inspired cerulean shades command an average of $1,856 more. Homes with dining rooms in slate blue, blue-gray and even navy blue, when paired with distressed white "shiplap" finishes, sold for an average of nearly $2,000 more. 

Soft blues and blue-gray tones in the kitchen are associated with an increase in a home's value of around $1,800. Mind you, it appears possible that these trends can change quickly. The yellow kitchens that commanded the highest premium last year have fallen out of favor: Zillow data shows that a yellow kitchen today is associated with a decrease in a home's value by an average of $820. 

Painting a room or two is regularly cited as one of the quickest and most cost-effective ways a prospective seller can get the most money for their home. It's also one of the easiest things not-so-handy homeowners can do themselves without having to call in the pros. 

Aside from the paint itself — and maybe a weekend of your time — the investment is pretty minimal: A set of paint rollers for walls and trim, a plastic or coated-canvas dropcloth to keep your floors and furniture paint-free, and painter's tape to protect ceilings, baseboards and so on, is pretty much all you need. 

"Sellers should select paint colors that appeal to the broadest audience possible," Kelly says. "The more eyeballs to your listing, the better."  

-Author Martha C. White,


 It’s true…within seconds of walking in the door, buyers have made up their mind about your treasured home. Do yourself a favor and educate yourself on how to best prepare your home if you’re looking to achieve top dollar. Below, real estate professionals share their advice on the 10 best ways to polish a home to inspire a profitable sale.

A Fresh Coat – Like a woman putting on her makeup, an artfully applied coat of neutral paint shows a fresh face to potential buyers and can take years off a home’s appearance.

Clear Out and Clean Up – Make room for new owners by clearing at least 50 percent of your belongings. A rented storage pod is the perfect place to store knickknacks, seasonal decorations and out-of-season clothes. And be sure that every surface is clean and pristine – especially the carpets.

Buff Up the Bathrooms – Hire a professional to steam, scrub and polish grout and tile. A bathroom should shine like a new penny.

Set the Stage – Let’s face it. In this HGTV-inspired world, buyers expect homes to look like they’ve materialized right out of the pages of a magazine. A stager’s job is not just to make a house look presentable; it’s to make a home appeal to every targeted buyer. Some agents report that the money spent on a stager comes back threefold.

Fix the Weakest Link – Invest in improvements that create the biggest bang: Update the kitchen backsplash with glass tile, install French or folding patio doors, replace outdated carpeting.

Let the Light In – If it’s light and bright, it sells. Open a home to new possibilities by removing shutters, shades and heavy drapes, and clean windows until they sparkle.

$100 Kitchen Upgrade – It’s a DIY’s favorite (read easiest) project. Remove outdated hardware from kitchen, bathroom and built-in cabinets and install cool or classic knobs and pulls. This simple addition can take years off of a tired room.

Make Room – Replace old wire or plastic closet hangers with slim, felt hangers to create the illusion of more storage room in closets.

Say Welcome – Nothing says “You’re Home” like a beautiful entryway. Give the front door a fresh coat of paint, polish the door knocker, straighten the mailbox and roll out a new welcome mat.

Make it the Great Outdoors – Today’s buyers consider outdoor spaces to be part of the home. Clear out old shrubbery and leaves, mow, edge and trim and add mulch and seasonal plantings. 



 You already know about cleaning and de-cluttering — but did you know these five things could have an even bigger impact on potential buyers who come through your open house?

Do a rapid “renovation.”

Little tweaks. Big difference. Kitchen a bit outdated? Replace the fixtures, faucets and cabinet hinges. Family-room furniture a bit beaten up? “Fix” it with fresh, white-cotton slipcovers. 

Turn the bathrooms into little spas.

Create the feel of a relaxing, luxurious bath — for less than $50. Pile pretty soaps in a modern tray. Stack fluffy white washcloths and towels. Add a lightly scented candle. Buy a designer bathmat in a soothing tone, such as the palest green or lightest blue. 

Highlight those focal points.

Draw visitors’ eyes toward special features using bright colors and accents. A pop of red throw pillows can draw attention to a cozy window seat. A large, striking modern-art poster, framed and propped on the mantel, will really show off a fireplace.  

Bring nature inside.

Potted plants or a few pretty buds in a vase can help bring energy into any space and fill empty spots. Add a trendy fiddle-leaf fig tree in the living room. Put some beautiful white hydrangeas in the bedrooms. 

Give every room a purpose.

That spare room that’s been used as a combination office/guest room/dumping ground won’t help sell the house unless you show buyers how they can use it. Pick a use — office, guest room, crafts room, game room — and clearly stage the space to showcase that purpose. They’ll see themselves living there — and your open house may just close a deal. 

I can help you stage your home to sell quickly.  I provide my clients with a free consultation from Adesse Designs and expert advice based on sales in your neighborhood to determine the right sales price.

Buy vs. Rent


While purchasing a home has always been an investment in the future, current market conditions actually make it the most affordable living option available. According to a study from Trulia released last quarter, buying a home in today’s market is 37.7 percent cheaper than renting on a national scale. Data shows that, while this is a national trend, there’s nowhere you’ll find that buying is more affordable than renting than in the South – home to eight out of the top 10 metros with the greatest financial benefit of homeownership.

Experts say 2017 is the time for homebuyers to make a move before mortgage rates start climbing and property values rise another 7.3 percent (according to Zillow projections). If expectations hold true, as reported by the Dallas Business Journal, those who wait until this time next year to purchase a home should prepare to add $47.43 to their monthly mortgage payments. So, whether you’re a first-time buyer or a seasoned investor, don’t wait around for home prices to decline. It’s only going up from here…

The new is a great place to start (or continue) your search. Rebuilt from the ground up, the Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s International Realty website makes it easier than ever to connect buyers to potential new homes with intuitive search features as well as stunning photography, immersive 3D walkthroughs and more exciting, innovative functions to showcase properties like never before.