Home Guru

The All-Important Front Door as a Selling Point

Opinion Advocates for ideas and draws conclusions based on the author/producer’s interpretation of facts and data.

We are part of The Trust Project

By Bill Primavera

Having lived very happily at Trump Park for some years, I can think of only one drawback to living in a delightfully maintenance-free condo situation. Only one! We’re not allowed to paint our individual unit front doors, and quite understandably: We can’t have chaos reign in our condo hallways. All of our doors are painted a simple off-white.

I’m sure that no one else in this building has thought of this as a drawback, but in my case, we’re dealing with a compulsive front-door painter.

I don’t know how many times I painted and repainted my front door when I lived in a large historic single-family house. To me, this was always the main freshening-up ploy. When I represent the owner of a single-family house for sale, I always consider the condition of the front door and whether it needs repainting, or even replacement.

With one of my recent listings, the owners agreed with me that they should paint the front door. But wait, what color should it be painted, they asked me?

I asked what colors they liked; on top of their list was white. Now, there’s a problem, I thought.

Color pundits and feng shui consultants say that a front door should never, ever be painted white. It’s a cardinal rule. The theory is that the door should relate to the landscape in some way, and pure white is rarely found in nature.

Would you consider making a change with that, I asked?

I suggested a color that I always recommend to my clients whose front door needs painting: red, and a specific red, Benjamin Moore Burgundy. I’ve done much research on the psychology and the feng shui of painting a front door red that could take several articles to relate, but let me give you the rundown here in abbreviated form.

The psychology of the color red is that it conveys passion, interest, vitality and welcomeness. There is a long-forgotten tradition in early American travel that bears this out. When lodging was sparse in horse and carriage days, families who were willing to welcome traveling families into their homes to spend the night would signify that message by painting their doors red.

In Biblical times, the Hebrew slaves were instructed to smear blood of a lamb on their front doors to protect their first born from the angel of death. And in early Catholic churches, doors were painted red to represent the blood of Christ. Passing through the door meant that you were on holy ground.

In Scotland, homeowners paint their front door red to signify that they had paid off their mortgage. And someplace I read that a study revealed that people who live behind a red door are the happiest. (Is that skewed in my mind in some way to those who had paid off their mortgage, I wonder?)

Of course, all this reflection about a front door’s color is only academic if the door itself is not in good condition.

The front door can be the key to a home’s personality, either reflecting the condition of the space within – or contradicting it. A beautiful, sturdy door with quality hardware greets the visitor with a confident hello; a weathered door, perhaps out of alignment, with old or poorly functioning hardware, conveys something quite different about the house, something unappealing.

Just as a person is judged within a few seconds of a first meeting, a house is judged in great part by the condition, functionality and look of its front door. When showing properties to prospective buyers, I’m always surprised to find when owners have upgraded an older home, but have not paid proper attention to the front door and its hardware.

If the door is warped and if the hardware is tarnished and in poor working order, the entire house can seem outdated. Just slapping a fresh coat of paint on it won’t solve the problem.

So consider the condition of the front door first, then the color. While the front door serves to withstand the elements, help toward energy efficiency and provide protection for the home, visitors react to it aesthetically, or even psychologically. If the door is attractive and in good shape, that perception extends to the entire household – and to its owner as well.

For those of you with a bent toward feng shui, you know that the front door is the main source of a house’s energy. But practically and simply put for both curb appeal and resale value, spruce up the front door and, in a sense, you have a new home. Paint it red, and you have a home run on every level.

Bill Primavera is a realtor associated with William Raveis Real Estate and founder of Primavera Public Relations, Inc. (www.PrimaveraPR.com). To engage the services of The Home Guru to market your home for sale, call 914-522-2076.

We'd love for you to support our work by joining as a free, partial access subscriber, or by registering as a full access member. Members get full access to all of our content, and receive a variety of bonus perks like free show tickets. Learn more here.