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Exterior Color Schemes That Work for Santa Barbara Homes

March 16, 2021

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Santa Barbara modernist home with cool exterior paint.

There are many reasons to tackle the seemingly overwhelming job of painting your home and choosing exterior color schemes. Not only does the paint contribute to your home’s beauty and curb-appeal, like the image above from my Extraordinary Modernist Masterpiece listing, but it’s a suit of armor for the structure itself. Protecting your investment is one of the main reasons to go for it. As the seasons go by year after year, the exterior surfaces of your home are exposed to its two worst enemies: sunlight and moisture, which we have in abundance here in coastal, sunny Santa Barbara.

READ: Preparing Your Santa Barbara Home For Sale

But there are other reasons too, including:

  • Updating your home’s aesthetics.
  • Paint technology has come so far that exterior paint can provide the strongest, safest mold protection.
  • Exterior paint protects your interior air quality: Low VOC paints emit fewer “volatile organic compounds” into the air as they dry, protecting the air quality for the entire house and immediate surrounding area.
  • Exterior paint is also a must-do when the time comes to sell. In fact, the return on investment of painting and choosing one of the right exterior color schemes can yield around 55% of ROI.

The Power of the First Impression Many homebuyers judge the exterior of a home harshly, because they consider a poorly maintained home to be a costly hassle, not a wise investment. The inside could be newly remodeled and upgraded, but a house with cracked exterior paint can very easily be overlooked.

READ: How to Increase Home Value According to psychological studies, human beings put a lot of stock in first impressions, especially when it comes to real estate transactions. Most of us form an opinion about someone or something within the first 15 seconds of acquaintance, and this will hold true for your home. This first impression lasts; for better or worse, it takes a lot to convince people their initial impression was wrong.

When prospective buyers walk through your home, they’ll experience many first-time impressions. But it all begins with the exterior color scheme of your home. The paint condition can fix a person’s lasting impression. In addition, a poorly chosen color can rub people the wrong way. So, paint is a critical step in giving your home that “wow” factor.

An Iconic Masterpiece of International Style Architecture painted a neutral color before listing for sale

Exterior Colors that Sell Sellers should take into consideration the type of architecture when choosing a paint color. No matter the style, the rule of thumb is to always opt for light and neutral tones like white, beige, and grey. These colors might seem a little boring but as you can see from my Iconic Masterpiece of International Style Architecture listing pictured above, they can be anything but. Plus, remember the goal: You’re trying to appeal to the widest possible audience, not your own tastes!

Dark, vibrant, or inconsistent schemes make homes feel smaller, stuffier, and less inviting. They also impede the buyers’ ability to insert themselves into the space.

READ: 6 Do’s and Don’ts of Home Renovations

In contrast, light color schemes make your home feel open and spacious, a place where buyers can see themselves living for years to come. Additionally, having fewer complicated design decisions to deal with streamlines the entire selling process. Fast and easy is the name of the game when you’re selling.

Perfect Exterior Paint Pairings from the Experts Deciding which of the many exterior color schemes for the outside of your house is its own challenge. Here, top designers share their go-to hues for a home's siding, trim, and front door for a cohesive, eye-catching look.

Ready to paint your exterior and list your estate in Montecito, Hope Ranch or any of Santa Barbara’s upscale communities? Visit my website to see how other luxury Santa Barbara homeowners prepped for sale by carefully choosing their exterior color schemes. Then call me at (805) 886-9378 or email me at I can be an invaluable resource for anyone considering listing their home or buying a new abode in the near future.

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Client Reviews

“Cristal Clarke has conducted numerous real estate transactions for me beginning 13 years ago with the purchase of a Lemon Ranch. She has handled both large and small purchases and sales with equal dedication. As a negotiator, you can’t find anyone better. Her transactions are always conducted in the most appropriate and professional manner. Cristal has considerable knowledge of the Santa Barbara market.”

- S.N. Decker Ph.D.

“Living in Europe, we were to say the least, unaccustomed to the nuances of Real Estate acquisition in California and Cristal steered us through the process with absolute professionalism and personal attention to detail at every turn. Her in-depth knowledge of the market place combined with enthusiasm and drive was the only reason we secured the property of our dreams and will be forever grateful. If you are looking for personal discrete and private representation of the highest quality we suggest you look no further than Cristal Clarke.”

- Johan and Paula van den Berg

“Cristal is very straightforward, cheerful, helpful, professional and trustworthy….we felt very lucky to work with her.”

- John and Lacey Williams

“After considering our many choices, we are grateful it was Cristal Clarke of Sotheby’s International who represented the sale of our Montecito cottage. We are familiar with Cristal’s reputation of hard work and dedication to clients, but it was her attention to detail that made our experience so positive. She offered suggestions for staging the property, worked in harmony with potential buyers and was even able to secure back up offers. The sale of our cottage was completed much sooner than we expected, due in great part to Cristal’s professional skills and support. We highly recommend Cristal as a first choice for anyone needing representation with real estate.”

- Michael & Nancy Lee

“Our experience in working with Cristal Clarke resulted in the successful and discrete acquisition of a property which was not yet on the open market. Her knowledge of the Montecito/Santa Barbara area and vast expertise blended with her passion for real estate and architecture, provided us with the very highest level of professionalism and personalized services. Cristal exhibited a rare combination of excellent communications, attention to detail, creativity and patience.”

- Richard and Catherine Frinier

“Cristal really breaks the mold. She knows every nook and cranny of this real estate market, understands value, and follows up on everything, all the time. She was incredibly patient with our two year quest to find the perfect house. Every house hunting trip from across the country was well planned, and our time was never wasted. On top of her professionalism and expertise, she is delightful to spend time with. We are thrilled with the home we purchased, and grateful to Cristal for so wisely advising us through this process, right through to the close and beyond.”

- Laurie Siegel

“We met Cristal first in the course of renting a winter home (for three years), then buying a house using her as our agent. She was amazingly good at listening to our wants and showing us homes that fit our needs. Her mastery of the paperwork was perfect. Most importantly, there was never a situation where we doubted her straightforwardness or integrity. If we do another real estate transaction in Montecito (which I doubt, we’re happy with what we purchased), without question we’d use Cristal again.”

- Ken Saffir

“Susan and I just want to thank you for your efforts in the sale of our home. You are really quite amazing. Your competence, persistence, optimism and humor made the entire process effortless. Every problem that arose, you somehow fixed; any obstacle, you overcame. We have bought and sold many homes. It has never been such a painless and enjoyable process!”

- Michael & Susan Marquart

“A little something about “our” realtor, Cristal Clarke. My wife and I came to Santa Barbara about fifteen years ago looking for a seasonal home from which to enjoy the weather and amenities of the central coast. Being in the real estate business myself I was familiar with agents and brokers so entered the market with open eyes. We “flipped” a few houses in the early years, dealing with various agents and finally ended up in Montecito. That’s when good fortune put us together with Cristal. To say we were impressed is to put it mildly. Cristal really knows the market. She is familiar with the area, its history and trends. When we have questions about a particular property she either has the answers immediately or gets back to us by phone or email. There is no waiting or wondering with Cristal. She is an agent who is “on top of it.” Her recommendations as to price points, contractors, inspectors and title agents have proven to be exceptional, showing great insight and the highest professional standards. We consider ourselves exceedingly fortunate to say that Cristal Clarke is our realtor and would recommend her services to any serious buyer or seller.”

- Rob & Judi Kelch