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Paint colors for listing house in West Los Angeles

Lars
last month
last modified: last month

We plan to list our house in West Los Angeles (Westchester neighborhood 90045, specifically), and our agent has told us that she wants us to paint the exterior of the house white and all interior rooms white.

Agent told us that prospective buyers are most likely to be a young couple with a baby and will be moving from a condo in Marina Del Rey, Santa Monica, Venice, or Playa Del Rey and cannot afford houses in those neighborhoods, which are all considered Silicon Beach, along with Westchester.

We recently painted the front exterior teal, which we love (and so do our neighbors), and we also had our dining room/studio area and adjoining hall painted Sherwin Williams Tempe Star SW 6229 in December 2023, and we love it. We had storm damage in August 2023, and our insurance paid for the renovation of this room, and we paid to put a new roof on it.

Here's how the front of our house looks now:





and here is how the dining room/studio looks






None of our furniture will be staying, except for the pendant fixture


I do not want to paint the teal exterior white unless I absolutely have to, and I also want to leave the dining room as it is, since the paint is new, and I think it adds character. Our agent said that the room would look larger if it were painted white (which I think is boring), but the room already gets a lot of light because of the glass sliding door to the back yard and the skylight.

She also wants us to list the house at $151,000.00 below what she thinks it should sell for in order to start a bidding war. I would rather start at $100,000.00 below fair market value.

We will be moving out completely before listing, and so the agent will stage the house, although we will have to pay for this also. I am in no hurry to sell because we already have the house that we will be moving into, but the agent wants to try to sell it within 7 to 10 days.

Should we paint everything white?

Paint the exterior white and leave the dining room as is
Paint dining room white and leave exterior as is
Leave exterior and dining room as they are
Paint exterior and dining room white

Comments (190)

  • gail618
    last month

    I would also not paint the lower half of the house white. The blue and beige is a perfect color combination for a beachy neighborhood. I too think the white would be too stark. The photo of the blue/white neighbor's house that you posted above shows that, I think.

    Lars thanked gail618
  • foodonastump
    last month
    last modified: last month

    At a certain point I wonder if agents just make recommendations for the sake of trying to present expertise. Sure you like this agent more than the last which is important for your relationship but does not mean she’s got a better eye. While your current plan wasn’t presented as an option in the original poll, the poll didn’t trend towards addressing the exterior.

    Unless the exterior paint is in bad condition, like significant peeling, I would not do anything more than possibly scrub down some dirt as needed. The new owner is either going to like the colors or not. And that holds true whether it's teal and beige or teal and white.

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  • Lars
    Original Author
    last month

    One thing that is now required in Los Angeles is ultra-low flush toilets. I bought a new Toto toilet for the master bathroom in 2009, but I bought it in Santa Monica, and so I'm not sure if the flush is low enough for Los Angeles.

  • arcy_gw
    last month

    This is a better use for your "spiffing up for sale dollars"--getting the house up to the latest Codes. Swapping a toilet out isn't really that difficult..DH has done many over the years.....

    We ran into First Time Home Owners/VA rules can slow up a sale if they require painting due to fears of lead paint etc. Something to consider when accepting an offer.

    Lars thanked arcy_gw
  • Jilly
    last month

    “Being close to the beach means we have fantastic weather all year with little variation from daytime temperatures in the low to mid 70s. It rarely gets hot in the summer, it never freezes, and it never gets below 42° in the winter - at least for the 15 years I have been here.”

    That sounds like paradise!

    Lars thanked Jilly
  • P.D. Schlitz
    last month

    I like the colors. I think it’d look great to have your trim color the same as your lower half color— if it were me I’d probably paint the trim to match your existing beige color, but the white should look good, too if you decide to paint the lower half. I’d do a heavy prune of that shrub right in front of your front steps, and invest in a couple of nice larger containers/pots filled with tropicals placed around your front steps. In staging, I’d rather have my dining where your current living room is so the living room gets that bright light of your dining/office space. Good luck with your move and sale!

    Lars thanked P.D. Schlitz
  • Sherry8aNorthAL
    last month

    To put in perspective, in 1979 we sold our small house with what was the best realtor at that time. The house did not have shutters on the windows. She said we HAD to put shutters on to sell. We did not have the money to do that. She had an open house two days later, no shutters, we went to his folks to be out of the house. She called us with a firm offer right after she started the open house.

    It DID NOT need shutters to sell.

    Lars thanked Sherry8aNorthAL
  • Fun2BHere
    last month
    last modified: last month

    @Lars, WRT low-flow plumbing fixtures and fittings, I thought I would get called out on that by the inspector when I sold my house last year, but I did not. I had not replaced anything to comply with the 2017 regulations. My personal opinion is that I wouldn’t replace any plumbing-related items unless requested by the purchaser. It’s easy enough to give a credit back through escrow if needed.

    Lars thanked Fun2BHere
  • salonva
    last month

    Re codes--- I believe this varies greatly by township , maybe county and maybe state. Where we moved FROM, they would not grant a certificate of occupancy if there were code violations. Now, as I recall, they did not inspect every property but they had the option to. All renovations needed permitting and inspections were done along the way.

    Where we are now, we did get permits when we did our kitchen. We expected the township to come and see at least when electircal was done , before sheetrocking. They came once, when the job was complete and barely looked at anything. The inspector asked me about my countertops..........Needless to say, we have not gotten any permits for any other work we are doing here. This is another state, and some of this seems to be regional. Who knows.......but where we used to live, bringing up to code was the seller's responsibility.

    Lars thanked salonva
  • Eileen
    last month
    last modified: last month

    I sure wouldn't want the maintenance of a white foundation.

    The house I like the best of the ones in your neighborhood is the second from the bottom. I'm not a gray fan, but I like it with the wood and on the stucco. I think it'd look nice with your blue-green house and wood door and would work well with the driveway and walkway colors. I don't care for the tan foundation with those colors. I wouldn't go as dark gray as the neighborhood home because your blue-green is so dark.

    Lars thanked Eileen
  • mtnrdredux_gw
    last month

    One thing that is now required in Los Angeles is ultra-low flush toilets. I bought a new Toto toilet for the master bathroom in 2009, but I bought it in Santa Monica, and so I'm not sure if the flush is low enough for Los Angeles.


    I'd be very surprised to hear they don't grandfather them?

    Lars thanked mtnrdredux_gw
  • Jennifer Hogan
    last month

    Just looked up the CA law. I would add the link, but Houzz isn't accepting my posts if I include a link so here is a picture.


    Lars thanked Jennifer Hogan
  • mle0782
    last month

    I love the teal and would paint the whole house teal. Everything one color will make it appear larger. The other thing I would do would be to really prune, mulch and spruce up your lovely yard and patio. People are focused on outdoor living space these days so a nice yard will be a huge selling feature for buyers. Make a seating arrangement on the patio and put some annuals with color in front (or in a planter by the door) to complement the teal. Curb appeal will be huge! Good luck and hope it goes well!

    Lars thanked mle0782
  • Kathsgrdn
    last month

    I like the teal and tan outside of the house. I don't think it would look good with white on the bottom portion.

    Lars thanked Kathsgrdn
  • Fun2BHere
    last month

    Yes, @Jennifer Hogan, I did disclose that I had not installed any ultra low flow fixtures when I filled out the disclosure paperwork for sale, but again, neither the inspector nor the buyer ever brought up any concerns. I did not even know about the ultra low flow law until I read the disclosures. I cannot imagine how such a law could be enforced, except maybe in the permitting process for new construction, but not in existing houses. Permits are not required for one-for-one replacement remodels in my county.

    Lars thanked Fun2BHere
  • Lars
    Original Author
    last month

    It is the city of Los Angeles that requires ultra-low flow toilets, and as I understand it, it is illegal to sell a house unless that is what it has. I will talk to the real estate agent more about that. Since my toilet is from around 2012, it probably will not pass code, and the other toilet is even older.

    I agree that white would be more maintenance than beige, but the new houses (2019 to 2024) in this neighborhood are white.

  • Olychick
    last month
    last modified: last month

    But it’s not a new house! We just had some threads on age appropriate dressing, so I wouldn’t want her to try to be something she’s not. Wish someone with photoshop skills would try white and full teal on your pics.

    Lars thanked Olychick
  • Lars
    Original Author
    last month
    last modified: last month

    I can easily do that - I did it with the teal before we painted.

    I think I will try to find another beige color for the bottom.

    Here's how SW shows "Really Teal" (our current color) on an exterior

    https://www.sherwin-williams.com/en-us/color/color-family/blue-paint-colors/SW6489-really-teal

  • Lars
    Original Author
    last month

    I think Gossamer Veil SW 9165 might be good for the bottom half:

    https://www.sherwin-williams.com/en-us/color/color-family/neutral-paint-colors/SW9165-gossamer-veil

  • Lars thanked colleenoz
  • Kswl
    last month

    I really like SW’s Kestrel White in the same color palette as Colleen’s Panda White. I used that in my office when I was working (we owned the building) and it looked great with a crisper white trim and good on its own or paired with a color.

    Lars thanked Kswl
  • raee_gw zone 5b-6a Ohio
    last month

    I like your Gossamer Veil - I was thinking that a touch of grey-green would work nicely (no white!)

    I also like another color on the same card - Mineral Deposit.

    When you do your photoshop mockups, try out several of the colors on that card. And show us, Please!

    Lars thanked raee_gw zone 5b-6a Ohio
  • seagrass_gw Cape Cod
    last month

    We built a small vacation home on Cape Cod in 1991. All of the properties here have wells and private septic systems. When we moved here as our primary residence in 1999, we applied for a building permit to put on addition. Because of newer standards we had to install a "low-flow" toilet in our new master bedroom. We were often flushing twice to make things happen. After we got our inspection improved on the addition here and then closed on the sale of our primary home we switched the toilets between the houses and have lived happily ever after!!

  • Kswl
    last month

    The key to problem free flushing is a pressure-assist toilet.

    Lars thanked Kswl
  • seagrass_gw Cape Cod
    last month
    last modified: last month

    Kswl - I'm now into high-rise toilets lol. But I remember the plumber who installed our code-specific commode in 1999 telling us "that thing could flush a meatloaf". So we paid him, but my DYI husband took the plumber's version of meatloaf in his pickup truck up to the house we were selling and switched it out to the one we only have to flush once. And when we have a hurricane warning with power outages, we fill our bathtub so we can have a flush toilet - our motto then is yellow is mellow...


    Edited to add : I'm married to an engineer

    Lars thanked seagrass_gw Cape Cod
  • Kswl
    last month

    The pressure assist toilets come in regular, comfort height and regulation handicapped height and are so…. shall we say efficient? At various times we’ve had all three.


    I’d love a Toto and need to just stop thinking about it and find a model that uses pressure assistance!

  • terezosa / terriks
    last month

    I vote to paint the bottom of the exterior the same teal color. I'm not a fan of the color block look, and I think that the house will look larger and more up to date if it is all one color with crisp white trim.

    Lars thanked terezosa / terriks
  • Lars
    Original Author
    last month

    I would paint the whole house teal, but I'm not sure how good that would look in the back.

    I do like Eider White https://www.sherwin-williams.com/en-us/color/color-family/white-paint-colors/sw7014-eider-white and Snowbound https://www.sherwin-williams.com/en-us/color/color-family/white-paint-colors/sw7004-snowbound, but I think Mineral Deposit is too dark.

  • colleenoz
    last month

    I’m not fond of grey, but of the two I prefer Snowbound.

    Lars thanked colleenoz
  • arcy_gw
    last month

    Lars I think you can get too much of a good thing. It's fine as is--move on and focus on what 'has to' be done. It will sell quickly no doubt.

    Lars thanked arcy_gw
  • Rusty
    last month

    Lars, I am so glad you are working with a different agent! It definitely sounds like this one has a better grasp on what should done, and what is in YOUR best interest, not her own.

    And I like your Gossamer Veil paint for the bottom half, it will complement the teal. A stark white would be, I don't know what word, too startling? Shocking? Off-putting, IMHO. The white you have on the trim is very attractive with the teal, but would be way 'too much' for the whole bottom half.

    Rusty

    Lars thanked Rusty
  • Lars
    Original Author
    last month
    last modified: last month



    I started a rough rendering to get some color on the bottom, and this is what I came up with to start. I did not want to spend a lot of time on the exact shape - I just wanted to see a different color on the bottom. This is supposed to be SW Snowbound. I think it looks better than what I have now and better than white, but this rendering is not completely accurate. I will probably have to buy some paint sample in order to make a decision.

    Incidentally, the bush in front of the steps is no longer there.

  • Jennifer Hogan
    last month

    Be careful, Snowbound can pull pink/purple. I love taupe, but most people avoid pink undertones.


    It is also quite white for an exterior.


    Do you know the original color that you had? I might go lighter than that, but not so white that it is blinding next to the teal. Let the teal be the show and the other color the supporting actress/actor.


  • Jennifer Hogan
    last month

    Make sure to look at the samples at different times of the day and on all 4 sides of the house.


    I picked a color for my garage door that looked perfect when I painted it in the morning (color match to my Pella Cranberry storm door. I went away for the day, came back when the sun was just starting to set and it was screaming purple. We doctored the formula and got one that didn't scream purple and stayed dark red all day long.

  • chinacatpeekin
    last month

    The Snowbound looks slightly peachy on my screen. I really like the teal, and I suggest you run with it. It would look just fine in back, too- better than white IMO. If you really feel you need a contrasting color with the teal, what about a dark forest green? I’m not loving the whites with the teal.

  • Eileen
    last month

    I'd go darker gray so the white trim pops. All of the dark teal houses online have bright white trim that is really prominent because they're mostly traditional homes with wide trim and porch columns and railing.

  • Lars
    Original Author
    last month

    I am going to make my decision based on paint samples that I will paint on the house in order to see how the colors look in person. It really doesn't matter that much how they look on a computer screen.

    I happen to like the whites with teal and will not be going darker than what is already on the house, but I haven't decided how much lighter I want to go.

    Snowbound is quite a bit darker than what people are currently painting the exterior of their houses in my neighborhood, but I do have a concern that going too light could be blinding in the back yard.

    I do not see pink in Snowbound, but I do see green in Eider White, which is why I have to see actual paint samples on the house. I do not want green, and I want a very light warm gray for the bottom color.

  • lascatx
    last month

    I'm assuming you agree that the exterior paint condition merits new paint. If not, the lighter color looks nice, but I don't think it will make one bit of difference in the sale of the house. If I were going to paint, I'd take the teal down below the windows and create a new line a cinder block or two below the windows. If trim was needed, I'd paint it to match the lower color, but keep your white windows. I know it is the age of the house, but that cropped top is the one thing that bothers me most about the curb appeal. I don't think I would do it just for sale if it fits the neighborhood, but I'd probably do it if I bought the house.

    I've been away this past week and am glad to hear you found a realtor you are more comfortable with and that you have been convinced not to paint the cabinets. I tend to gravitate towards white kitchens, but I love maple and cherry and would not paint over either if in good or recoverable condition.

    As for the first realtor -- I'm kind of thinking she wanted you to paint because it would go with her PB furniture (dark wood, perhaps?). Not your problem.....

    Lars thanked lascatx
  • Lars
    Original Author
    last month
    last modified: last month

    The bottom half of the house has very textured stucco, whereas the upper portion is wood, and so there is a natural division there, like many houses in this neighborhood. The houses on both sides of us are white or off-white, top and bottom, but across the street they are different.

    I'm going to take another look at the neighborhood and see what I think will look the best with what is already there.

    There is one house on the street behind us that is very dark, top and bottom, which you can see in the photos I posted three days ago, and I don't think I want to do that myself. I just don't think that I want to put a very dark color on heavily textured stucco.

    Anyway, we have a lot of time because we're going to do the landscaping first. However, I do want to book the painters pretty far ahead of time because their schedules get booked up.

  • arcy_gw
    last month

    I do prefer the white with the teal vs what's there now. Two colors vs the three but still I would imagine a home owner will have their idea of color and just paint over whatever you do. No one can guess what the next owner will prefer other than it won't be what the current owner chooses!!! This is such a waste of money, time and paint. Go with what you've got. You won't get your money out of it and it will be redone next year more than likely.

  • Lars
    Original Author
    last month
    last modified: last month

    The point is that we have not painted the house in 15 years, except for the small part in the front that is teal, and all real estate agents have said that it has to be painted, even if we paint the same colors. Most houses in this neighborhood do not get repainted on the exterior after they have been sold, providing they have fresh paint on them.

    I want to paint colors that will not require a coat of prime.

  • Valinta
    last month

    Do not paint as long as everthing is fresh, clean and no wall damage and woodwork is good. One instance when we were listing a plain ranch house for sale the realtor said paint it white. Wehad just painted a beautiful light sage green. We said no. As it turns out the buyers loved the sage green. Any house we’ve sold and also viewed to buy, the critical decision making element was clean and in good repair. I think the real estate rep is looking for a quick $ale. With current housing shortage, should not be a problem.

    Lars thanked Valinta
  • Lars
    Original Author
    last month
    last modified: last month

    The problem is that the interior of the house is not fresh and clean - it has not been painted in the 15 years we have been here - except for the dining room area, which we will no be touching.

    Right now, the kitchen is a very pale sage green, which I have always liked, but we might as well paint it white, since that might help sell. Before it was green, it was a pale orange that matched the orange in the tile floor, and I would not have liked that.

    This shows the kitchen walls


    Two photos combined. You can see the nice wood in the cabinets, which I do like.

  • JoanM
    last month

    Did you say you were going to landscape first and then paint the exterior? I would not trust work crews with new landscaping if it were me.

  • Lars
    Original Author
    last month
    last modified: last month

    There is concrete all around the house except a small part of the front, and the front does not need landscaping - only a small amount of editing. The landscaping will not be anywhere that is very close to the house.

    We mainly need new sod, in addition to a lot of pruning, and the real estate agent told us that we need to put the sod in as soon as possible in order for it to get established.

  • terezosa / terriks
    last month

    Is there a reason why the back of the house can't be painted the same teal color as the upper part of the front?

    Lars thanked terezosa / terriks
  • colleenoz
    last month

    @terezosa / terriks

    Lars has said:

    "The bottom half of the house has very textured stucco", and

    "I just don't think that I want to put a very dark color on heavily textured stucco."

    Lars thanked colleenoz
  • Jennifer Hogan
    last month

    How barren is the yard? If you have some grass you may want to reseed vs laying sod. Talk to your landscaper - Real Estate agents are not lawn experts.

  • Lars
    Original Author
    last month
    last modified: last month

    The yard is not barren at all - it has become extremely overgrown with invasive weeds over the winter, when we had lots of rain and were at our other house for weeks at a time. The weeds have choked out what grass we did have, and they are going to be difficult to remove.

    Here's a photo of the back of the house from 2015, nine years ago




    This shows the copper/brown gutters we installed. This photo was taken late in the day, and the light makes the house look yellow even though it is beige, as in the photo above it. I'm not sure teal in the back would look appeal to buyers, most of whom would want white, from what I can tell, even though it would create quite a glare late in the day.

  • Lars
    Original Author
    last month
    last modified: last month

    Here's a photo of our pergola from November 2016


    We plan to leave the teak dining table and chairs for the buyers, if they want them. If not, we will take them, although we do not need them in Cathedral City, although there is an area outdoors that we do not use where we could put them. That area used to be a pet area for the previous owners and is quite barren and has a dirt surface that would need tiles.

    Here's how the pergola looked in 2013, before we got the teak dining table and chairs


    We have removed the bamboo shade because the creeping fig on the walls is now high enough to block afternoon sun.

    We used to spend a lot of time in the pergola, to have lunch or dinner - we have plenty of outdoor lights for dining after dark, but lunch was my favorite time there - or late afternoon after work. I lived close enough to work (4 to 5 minute commute) that I could come home for lunch and sometimes bring coworkers with me.