What to do with a Popcorn Textured Ceiling

Home Stager

The DREADED "Popcorn" texured ceiling ....also [not so affectionately] known as the "cottage cheese" ceiling. While this type of textured ceiling is quite common here in the Northeast, it seems to be hated by most.

Conventional wisdom dictates that since todays buyers seem to detest this particular architectual feature (if we can call it that) we as stagers should be advising our sellers to remove it.  I'm taking a survey, so please tell me  DO YOU AGREE with this advice?  This assumes the ceiling is otherwise clean and in good repair. 

popcorn ceiling

Photo by Valerie Zinger

Having done it more than once, I know what it takes to remove a popcorn textured ceiling.  It's not a terribly diffiucult or expensive job (if you do it yourself) but it is extremely messy messy and time-consuming.

Agents: Please tell me what your buyers are saying about popcorn texured ceilings.  Are they THAT much of a turn-off to YOUR buyers??

Agents & Stagers: Please tell me, have you had any success convincing sellers to remove them?  (Peronsally, I have not).  I look forward to and will greatly appreciate your feedback! 





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Karen Bernetti is a Real Estate Stager, Former Realtor®, Author, Speaker, and Owner of Staging4Smooth Transitions - specializing in assisting seniors with their downsize moves and offering Home2Home Transitions seminars. Karen is also the Social Media Manager and Administrative Coordinator for Prudential CT Realty, in Madison, CT and Co-creator of the Ready2Sellin30Days System - an interactive multi-media program teaching do-it-yourself homeowners EVERYHTING they need to know about preparing a home for sale. Stay up to date on the latest staging and home decor trends by visiting Karen & Ann's Home Sale Success Blog.  



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Marilyn Tolhuizen
McColly Real Estate - Crown Point, IN
Real Estate Specialist - 219-616-7069 - NW Indiana

My younger buyers don't seem to like it.  I haven't had anyone remove it before they put their home on the market.  Too much mess.

Jan 23, 2011 01:30 PM #8
Karen Bernetti
Southington, CT

Wow - a lot of comments on this subject within a matter of minutes.   THANK YOU!  I'm still wondering however .....

Agents: what your buyers are saying about popcorn texured ceilings.  Are they THAT much of a turn-off to YOUR buyers??

Agents & Stagers: have you had any success convincing your sellers to a textured popcorn ceiling?  (Peronsally, I have NOT). 

I look forward to and will greatly appreciate your feedback! 


Jan 23, 2011 01:30 PM #9
Peggy Chirico
Prudential CT Realty - Manchester, CT
REALTOR® 860-748-8900, Hartford & Tolland County Real Estate

Hi Karen - I agree with Brenda (#5) - I think it is definitely HGTV.  I don't think people would really care except they hear it ad nauseum via HGTV.  If it is an issue with buyers, they can deal with it.  And I have never advised sellers to do anything about it because it is such a messy job--the buyers can handle it if they want to.

Jan 23, 2011 01:48 PM #10
Melissa McKinney
McKinney Realty Group - Fayetteville, NC
Realtor, www.LivingFayetteville.com

Karen~ I hate,hate,hate that look and Ya wanna hear something that I thought I would NEVER say...I walked into a new construction home the other day and the first thing outta my mouth was "oh no not popcorn ceilings"!!! YUCK! what were they thinking??

Jan 23, 2011 02:18 PM #11
Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland
HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400 - Pikesville, MD
Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome

They don't bother me and it has not been a point with buyers and seller here. Now if they are NOT clean...that is another situation.


Jan 23, 2011 03:07 PM #12
Steve Baklaich
RE/MAX Results St Cloud Mn real estate - Saint Cloud, MN
Treating Buyers & Sellers to Full Service Always.

Karen: Every once in a while I here a Buyer object to it, but rarely. Usually more substantive things like floor plan, location, the neighbors junk pile:0

I am not fond of them but liz is the painter in the family.

Jan 23, 2011 04:25 PM #13
Debbie Gartner
The Flooring Girl - White Plains, NY
The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers

Yeah, why are these put in so often, esp in condos? I don't get it.  Is it so you have to repaint them less often?  Of if there is shaking from above or what?  I don't like them, but I can tolerate them and I agree w/ Victoria that it's more of an issue in a house.

I see things on the other end...after the home is bought/before they move in and I see lots of people getting rid of these.  Sounds like maybe I should do floors and ceilings.  LOL.

Jan 23, 2011 09:58 PM #14
Mary Lou Teague
Home Style and Staging Knoxville. TN

I have suggested on several walk thrus that the ceiling be changed however, I have not ever been successful in having the owners do so...great post

Jan 24, 2011 12:06 AM #15
Karen Bernetti
Southington, CT

There sure is a lot of agreement - they are indeed a hated feature !   But I'm also hearing that they're not necessarily a deal breaker.  Interesting.  I appreciate everyone's feedback.  This is very helpful.  Melissa, I'm surprised to hear that you're seeing them in new construction.

Jan 24, 2011 01:21 AM #16
Juli Vosmik
Dominion Fine Properties - Scottsdale, AZ
Scottsdale/Cave Creek, AZ real estate 480-710-0739

My opinion, it doesn't really bother me.  But, I know that many agents here in AZ HIGHLIGHT in the MLS that the popcorn ceilings have been removed.  So, perhaps it's a current hot button?  One thing's for sure, it's sure easier to paint smooth ceilings, LOL. 

Jan 24, 2011 02:41 PM #17
Joni Bailey
101 Main St. Realty - Huntsville, TX
Your Huntsville / Lake Livingston Area REALTOR®

Buyers do not like popcorn ceilings and seller's don't want to mess with it. At least that has been my experience.

Jan 24, 2011 04:13 PM #18
Charita Cadenhead
Keller Williams Realty - Birmingham, AL
Serving Jefferson and Shelby Counties (Alabama)
Unwanted? Yes. Deal breaker? No.
Jan 24, 2011 04:21 PM #19
Keller Williams Select Realtors-Buy a home in Washington DC. Sell a home in Washington DC - Bowie, MD
I don't make promises.I deliver results.SOLD HOMES

Karen I found out about this on HGTV:-). So my brother is ready to sell his house,I have already told him that he needs that he needs to get rid of his popcorn ceiling. My question to you is how do you get rid of it? Sandpaper. Thanks for sharing. Great post.

Jan 25, 2011 12:04 PM #20
Kathy Burke
Sensational Home Staging~~Danville, CA - Danville, CA
S.F. East Bay Home Staging

I have had many clients remove it....if only in the Living Areas it makes a BIG difference.  They are usually open to it when they also need painting and/or the home is vacant.  Getting rid of it makes a HUGH difference in the look/feel and also brings in so much more light!  It is a "job" and should be done by someone who knows how to handle this type of removal!

Good Luck!!

Jan 26, 2011 03:38 AM #21
Ken Fitzgerald

Use caution when removing texture ceilings. The texture particles have proven positive for asbestos depending on the year it was installed.

Jan 26, 2011 02:12 PM #22
Sheila Newton Team Anderson & Greenville SC
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - C. Dan Joyner - Anderson, SC
Selling the Upstate since 1989

I agree with 19... It isn't a dealbreaker, but smooth is better... the best time, in my opinion, to get rid of the popcorn is right before the new buyer moves in... It is such a messy job, no furniture in the home would really help!!!  Maybe the seller could offer an allowance to help with the cost..Or just give an upgrade allowance for what ever they want. I think it is something that won't stop the buyer from buying if you negotiate!

Jan 26, 2011 03:43 PM #23
Linda Thompson
Selling By Design-Staging - Fresno, CA

I have advised clients to change them, but so far none have done it. I did not know that they could be hidden by putting up drywall. That seems so much better than scraping.

Jan 31, 2011 04:00 PM #24
Glen A. Mitchell
Keller Williams Peninsula Estates - Half Moon Bay, CA
Broker, CDPE, Santa Cruz, Half Moon Bay,El Granada

I have removed popcorn ceilings from my own properties and tell clients I would always do before selling.  Since many of them are still living in the homes they typically don't want to go through the mess.

Jun 27, 2011 06:19 PM #25
Kathy Schowe
California Lifestyle Realty - La Quinta, CA
La Quinta, California 760-333-8886

I tell them to get rid of them!  They are a big turn-off for buyers!  Kathy

Jun 28, 2011 06:01 PM #26
Aida Pinto
United Associated Brokers - Long Beach, CA
Real Estate Broker (562) 884-6196

I've never had a buyer say anything about popcorn ceilings...but, I, personally...hate it!  I have removed it from my own properites.

Jun 28, 2011 07:24 PM #27
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