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Popcorn Ceilings

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We purchased our home in 2002 and are preparing it for market. The agent who sold us the home will be the one to list it. She suggested that we remove the popcorn ceilings. This seems like a really big job and I think we would be better off just offering the buyer a small credit and they can do it themselves. Do you think popcorn ceilings significantly devalue a property in our current housing market?


Dear Peg,

I haven’t seen your home and can only answer in generalities.  Removing popcorn (acoustic) ceilings, updating old flooring and a coat of fresh paint typically provide you with more than dollar for dollar return on investment.

You could provide the buyer with an estimate for removal of the cottage cheese (and asbestos if needed). And offer to credit the buyer that amount in escrow. But, I tend to agree with your Realtor®, that your buyer’s first impression will be much more favorable if you take care of this prior to showings.

I recently helped a client prepare their home for sale, and our quote (for a 1900 sq ft home) was $5280 for acoustic and asbestos removal and adding the skim coat (for the smooth appearance). It took three days. I feel confident the seller’s $5280 investment resulted in at least an additional $15,000 in increased selling price.  A less expensive option is to find a painter to just apply a skim coat.  This will not deal with asbestos if any. And be certain to disclose to the buyer that you had a skim coat applied.

I suggest you regroup with your real estate agent: Find out the cost, how long it will take and how much more your real estate agent believes you will sell the home for if you make the improvement. Now you can determine if the increased selling price will be worth your inconvenience

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