Should you remove the wallpaper before you list your home for sale?
So I recently listed a house that had dated wallpaper in almost every room. I discussed with the sellers the idea of removing it or leaving it. I strongly recommended removing it. I believe I said, “Wallpaper is death to selling your home”. I was referring mostly to information shared by other agents I know who had properties that sat on the market for months with few showings and no offers, who ultimately had to have the wallpaper removed before the house sold. My sellers took my advice and decided to remove the wallpaper. They are part of my sphere and are friends on Facebook. They have been posting their progress on the wallpaper removal. As I have removed wallpaper myself many, many, times and know that at times it can be most difficult and frustrating. This is their first time and are finding this to be much harder than they predicted. I find myself feeling somewhat guilty about suggesting that they remove the wallpaper. So it got me thinking?? Maybe I should write my own blog about this topic of leave it or remove it.
The facts are that wallpaper is a very personal choice. And all agents know that depersonalizing your home is one of the first things we tell our sellers to do when putting their home on the market. Buyers want to see themselves in your house. To the majority of buyers, the thought of moving in and having to remove wallpaper is a deal breaker. We also know that wallpaper goes in and out of style. Whose style is the elephant your room?
Today’s market is very competitive. When selling your home, you need it to appeal to as many buyers as possible. It is not beneficial to wait for that one person who likes your style of wallpaper, or one who may be willing to take on the task of removing it. Obviously, reducing your buyer pool. Thus taking longer to sell.
So back to the decision part of the story. It is true they could have left it. We could have adjusted/reduced the price to attract buyers. But we would still be working with a smaller buyer pool. If you have ever removed wallpaper that was not installed properly, you are going to run, not walk out of the door of a home where the majority of rooms are covered with it. In my experience for good reason. Of course there is the option of hiring someone else to do it. Worth it if your budget allows.
As agents we know, people may not even come and look at your home. According to the National Association of REALTORS, 90% of buyers begin their search online. You know the old adage, a picture is worth a thousand words. If your home does not show well in comparison to the other homes in the same price range, they buyer may just choose not to see it.
What about reducing the price? Well, what would that price be? Most agents will tell you that even when buyers compare homes at a reduced price, they are still likely to choose the home without the wallpaper. Some agents have reported that they have had to reduce the price as much as $30,000! Some have reported their listings sitting on the market for a year!
We know some people will choose to overlook the wallpaper if the home has everything else they are looking for. Especially when they need to find a house fairly quickly and they are not finding anything else on the market. Again, that is a reduced pool of buyers. Something you may luck in to. Is that the marketing strategy you would choose? Maybe? Maybe not!
I thought I would share some interesting comments from other agents. I found these on a Zillow thread while I was researching the topic.
- Yes!! It is worth it. Too many buyers are walking into homes and being overwhelmed by wallpaper removal. I have had some sellers offer a credit, but buyers just can't see past it. Especially for large rooms or two-story foyers. It's worth every penny to have it removed and painted a neutral color.
- Yes it all has to come off. I had a buyer that walked in the door of a home, looked at the wallpaper and turned around. She would not even consider the home. So if you are looking for top dollar off it has to come.
- Yes it will be well worth having the wall paper removed prior to going on the market. I had a house for sale in Weymouth, MA that had wallpaper in every room & on the bathroom ceilings. My clients decided not to take it down. Three months on the market with no offers. We decided to take the house off the market so they could strip all the wallpaper & paint the entire interior of the home. Withing one week on putting the house back on the market we had three offers. So it was so worth it.
- No, it is not necessary. However, plan on your home being on the market a very long time and taking a substantial price hit.
- You need to decide if the cost/time/effort of removing the wallpaper is worth the return, and whether or not you remove it, ensure the home is priced appropriately.
So would I still recommend taking down wallpaper? Yes, I would. I feel it is worth the time and effort. It definitely is not going to hurt! It is most sellers goal to sell the house as quickly as possible for the best possible price.
Sellers have to decide how quickly they want to sell their home and at what price. The consensus among other agents is that if you leave it, eventually your home will sell, but most likely at a much reduced price and you need to be prepared to wait it out. Pricing the home appropriately is really subjective. We really don’t know what that looks like when it comes to wallpaper. As the one agent stated, her reduction was $30,000. That is significant and it certainly will not cost you the seller that much to remove it and paint a nice neutral color. Even if you do have to pay someone else to do it.
Agents know that sellers attract the largest number of buyers in the first couple of weeks a home is on the market. You should do what you can to show your home in the best possible light.
For more information on getting your house ready to sell you can visit me on my website at stacyechard.com