With the world in its current state, many of us have recently had the opportunity to spend much more time at home than we may have in the past.  All of this extra time homebound has many of us examining our spaces and noticing those little things about our homes that don’t quite sit right with us.  That honey-do list that we have been putting off seems to be calling to us with a bit more volume. This newfound scrutiny, along with the warming of the temperature, has homeowners across the nation are starting to get the home-improvement itch.  

Whether it is spurred on by your own sense of artistic flare, or the request of your HOA, many homeowners look to house painting when contemplating potential improvements.  This notion is not without merit, painting the exterior of your home is one of the most cost-effective ways to make a major impact as well as increase the value of your home.  Some consumer reports estimate that painting the exterior of your home can increase its value from 2-5%.  There is even some evidence to suggest that a fresh coat of paint can help to add value to the surrounding homes as well, something that the HOA would certainly find appealing.  

Where to Start

Whether you plan to hire out the work, or feel the desire to evoke the true DIY spirit and tackle the project yourself,  There are some important things to consider before picking up the paintbrush.  Take a look at the governing documents for your association.  Here, you should be able to find the information that you’ll need to begin the process.  Most associations will require that you submit a paperwork detailing the color(s) or color palette that you are planning for your masterpiece.  Some associations will only allow pre-determined color schemes.  If this is the case in your community, the selection process (although somewhat restrictive) may be a bit easier, in that your choices are more limited.  Other associations will allow for any palette to be submitted, but will still require approval before any work may begin.  

For your Consideration

1.Take a trip around your neighborhood.  Look at the paint schemes of the houses in your community.  Take note of palettes and individual colors that you like.  Odds are, if you can see it in your neighborhood, you’ll be far more likely to get your color requests approved by your HOA.  Be sure to make note of addresses, this information can be useful when submitting your initial requests, or when attempting to contest a request that has been denied.  

2. Consider the color of your roof.  This is a detail that many homeowners overlook in the early process of color selection.  You’ll want to look at this color as part of your final palette, and find colors that will work well together.  Be sure to be aware of the color schemes of the houses surrounding your own. Some associations will not allow the same color or palettes to be used on houses near each other. In addition, you’ll want to be sure that the colors that you choose complement the homes around your own.  Associations (and many of the individuals within these communities) seek a sense of cohesion when looking from house to house.  

3. Check out home improvement blogs and Pinterest.  What is on trend? If you're looking to sell your home in the near future, it would behoove you to be aware of the color trends, and what buyers will be attracted to. You’ll also want to consider what will appeal to the largest pool of individuals.  While a dark, moody color scheme may appear to be edgy and eye catching, it may turn off a few potential buyers, leaving you with fewer offers, and less negotiating power when the time comes to accept an offer.

4. Plan ahead.  For many HOAs the process of color approval can take up to 60 days.  So, if you’re hoping to take advantage of the warmer temperatures you will have to start getting your paperwork together and submitted in the spring or early summer.  If you have any issues with your initial proposal, you may have to wait an additional 60 days to hear the final word on an amended proposal.  

Your Patience Will be Rewarded

Once you have had your submission approved, the process can move forward, and both homeowner and association can reap the benefits of a freshly painted palace. However, if you forgo this initial process, and proceed with painting before receiving approval, or (more regrettable) after your color selection is rejected by the HOA, you could find yourself in a rather sticky situation.  You may be asked to repaint your home, suffering the (considerable) additional cost.  Failure to comply can result in hefty fines and even the possibility of a lien being placed on your home.  The moral of the story? Do your research and educate yourself in regards to the expectations and regulations of your specific community.  Be patient, and willing to be flexible in your preferences.