Should Sellers Paint Over Wall Murals When They Put Their House On The Market?

Real Estate Agent with Keller Williams Realty Louisville East (502) 664-7827

wall mural


Some sellers are extremely proud of their wall mural and can't understand why the buyer wouldn't want to keep it.

Some sellers can't bring themselves to paint over their labor of love.

Some sellers paid big bucks to an artist to paint a work of art on the walls.

But after all, it is all about what will make the house sell faster and for the most favorable terms.

What experience have you had?


Posted by



Dave Halpern, Realtor

The Dave Halpern Real Estate Group

Keller Williams Realty Louisville East


(502) 664-7827



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Re-Blogged 2 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. D B 05/18/2011 10:59 AM
  2. Daniel H. Fisher 07/04/2011 03:23 AM
Home Selling
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Donald Reich
Prudential Centennial - New Rochelle, NY

Neutral is definitely better. BUT  if there is a good mural, thank keep it, let the buyer paint over it. I am assuming that the one in your picture is in a kid's room, if so, keep it. If not, paint over it!

May 18, 2011 11:41 AM #48
Tammie White, Broker
Franklin Homes Realty LLC - Franklin, TN
Franklin TN Homes for Sale

I think it depends of the mural. If it's in a kids room, you might choose to leave it. But if it's in the master, I would definitely paint over it.

May 18, 2011 11:46 AM #49
Geri Sonkin
Douglas Elliman Real Estate 516-457-7103 - Merrick, NY
Long Island Real Estate & Staging Expert

If it is a poorly done mural, or if it's in the main spaces of the home, I would say paint over.  I've seen some truly beautiful murals done in childrens rooms that helped sell the homes.  I remember several years ago we had a wonderful custom home with room filling murals done by a master painter in two children's rooms.  The seller was saddened at the thought that someone might paint over it, though I didn't suggest she change it during the marketing process.  The buyer's children were older and the murals just wouldn't work.  It was a pity because the artist who created it was quite old when it was done and it might have been one of his final works.  Oh, and the house, it sold in a matter of weeks, with several offers on the table.

May 18, 2011 12:29 PM #50
Michele Myers
Prudential Homesale Services Group - Harrisburg, PA
Harrisburg/Hershey Realtor

I had an elderly gentleman who would not paint over the border his late wife had painted on the upper part of his walls.  I think he knew it was detrimental to the sale of his home, but he refused anyway.  Very sad situation.

May 18, 2011 01:30 PM #51
Eileen Hsu
Douglas Elliman Real Estate - Manhattan, NY

I say yes that they should probably paint the mural, but its going to be painful for them to do it.

May 18, 2011 03:33 PM #53
Maureen Bray Portland OR Home Stager ~ Room Solutions Staging
Room Solutions Staging, Portland OR - Portland, OR
"Staging Consultations that Sell Portland Homes"

No matter how great the mural is, or how much the sellers paid for it, it should be painted over with a neutral paint color.  All sellers think their mural is "fantastic" and often mention how much it cost.  Unless it's a known artist (a serious recognized artist) then it needs to go .. otherwise buyers will have a hard time imagining themselves living there, instead thinking of it only as the "sellers' home."

The only exception I've seen in years of home staging is in a child's bedroom.  If the target buyer is a family then sometimes they can remain if they are gender-neutral and very well done.  Otherwise my advise to sellers is:  PAINT it!  The sellers will be happy when offers come in that don't have a deduction for painting.

May 18, 2011 03:44 PM #54
Sonsie Conroy
I serve buyers and sellers everywhere in San Luis Obispo County - San Luis Obispo, CA
Energetic, Enthusiastic, Knowledgeable Realtor

My folks have a wallpaper mural (one made of wallpaper, rather than painted directly on the wall) that has generated positive comments from several potential buyers. It's pretty neutral in and of itself, and professionally created and installed. They are leaving it (the house is now in escrow), and I really don;t know what the buyer intends to do with it. But had it been anything less attractive and "neutral," I would have suggested that it be removed.

Most other murals I've seen have been amateur productions and really not charming or very artistic. Along with wild and crazy colors on kids' rooms walls, these ought to be painted over.


May 18, 2011 04:58 PM #55
Melissa Zavala
Broadpoint Properties - Escondido, CA
Broker, Escondido Real Estate, San Diego County

I just went to this wonderful art exhibit at the Museum of Contemporary Art in LA all about murals and graffiti as art. Neckface's work is worth big bucks now. Who knows? Some of these sellers may have valuable work on those walls (LOL)

May 18, 2011 05:05 PM #56
Raine Carraway
Lenoir, NC

I'd advise painting over most murals, and the same with words, sayings, and other types of very personal wall art. A very nice one can add interest if it's something that would appeal to a wide range of people, but would probably turn many people off, and can also make it harder for potential buyers to picture themselves living there (I remember looking for my first home at age 19 - I was very interested in a house with a mirrored stripper pole in the living room, black and white tile floors, and mirrors, black, and hot pink featuring heavily in the design scheme, but couldn't picture moving in and raising a family there).

For a mural like the one up top, even if I liked and planned to keep the wall design, the painted ceiling would really bother me. I know it's just paint, but my thoughts would be why buy a home where I'd have to spend more time and money repainting something immediately?

May 18, 2011 06:05 PM #57
Pamela Seley
West Coast Realty Division - Murrieta, CA
Residential Real Estate Agent serving SW RivCo CA

Wow, that's a wild mural! Knowing how picky buyers are when it comes to paint colors, if the sellers want to sell their home faster, paint over it in a nice neutral color. Some buyers understand it's only paint, and don't care, but if negative feedback is about the paint, paint it, or Seller can give a credit for repainting.

May 18, 2011 06:32 PM #58
Ann Nguyen
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Truckee, CA
Lake Tahoe Truckee Homes For Sale

I have seen some beautiful murals and some not so much. So I think it will depend on the quality and the location.

May 18, 2011 06:49 PM #59
Debby Singleton
Springer Realty Group - Limerick, PA
Top Producer since 1993

Dave, whenever there is a wall mural (and I have this experience with one of my listings right now) we always leave the mural and note, in the MLS, that the seller will paint the mural over if the buyer does not want it to stay.   It completely removes that objection from any buyer's mind because they know it is gone if they don't want it AND it preserves the mural for a buyer who may love it.   Debby

May 19, 2011 01:20 AM #60
Lyn Sims
RE/MAX Suburban - Schaumburg, IL
Schaumburg Real Estate

Survey's of buyers say they never like it. I know it might have cost big bucks but it's a personalization of the wall & ceiling that the buyer doesn't want, plain & simple.  Paint it - get over it.  Pay to have it done & leave the house until it's completed.

It's not the Sistine Chapel.

Utah Dave's FB Page is hilarious. I might add that to my listing presentation!

May 19, 2011 02:29 AM #61
Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley,, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

Amazing what a can of paint will do. 

May 19, 2011 03:04 AM #62
Dave Halpern
Keller Williams Realty Louisville East (502) 664-7827 - Louisville, KY
Louisville Short Sale Expert

Wow! What a diversity of opinions! From "keep it" to "ditch it" to "depends" to "leave it, with a promise to paint over it."

Great comments that enhance the post many times over. The power of Activerain.

May 19, 2011 04:29 AM #63
Tim Fennell
The Legends of Real Estate, REALTORS® - Jacksonville, FL
Jacksonville Real Estate

I don't think I've ever heard a buyer say, "I love that mural. Let's make an offer on the house."  

I have heard numerous buyers say, "That mural must go and I don't want to have to paint it."  Of course, I explain that we can simply put a condition in the offer that the seller will paint prior to closing but, unfortunately, more often than not the damage has been done.

It's a buyers market... buyers are looking for reasons NOT to buy and this one is just too easy to remedy prior to listing in my opinion.

May 19, 2011 06:47 AM #64
Heather Cook
Rooms in Bloom Staging & Design Inc. - Kitchener, ON
Quality Home Staging

Because the goal is to appeal to as MANY buyers as possible instead of waiting for the RIGHT buyer to appreciate it, it only makes sense to paint over the mural. As many people pointed out its easy to preserve the mural so it can be duplicated in the next home.

Because less than 10% of buyers can visualize a space either with furniture or without certain distracting decor accents like this mural, opting not to paint ends up costing a seller money and makes for extra time on the market.

May 19, 2011 08:22 AM #65

As a buyer (and not an agent), NO.

I'm tired of every house I look at looking the same. If I'm buying a house (especially in an established neighborhood as opposed to my-house-looks-like-my-neighbors'), I WANT personality. I want to see that the house has some character.

If the mural is ugly, I can paint over it. No problem. I'm halfway planning on putting up a fresh coat of paint wherever I move anyway.

Colorless walls and colorless carpet indicate that my life in this house will be colorless as well.

May 19, 2011 11:41 AM #66
Donna LaConte

Yes... I am a REALTOR............ but I am also an Artist. I painted Murals & Faux Painting for years.  I do see some crappy faux & murals out there.  The idea of one of mine being painted over saddens me a little. However I take pictures of them (on my website Painted Ladys Gallery) and once I am paid............ it is what it is. People's taste changes, I know they won't last forever.  Some murals can be distracting............some downright distasteful. I am leaning towards paint over them. Let the home be a "blank canvas" for the new buyer.   Donna LaConte, Adams, Cameron & Co., REALTORS

May 19, 2011 01:11 PM #67
The Hollinden Team
EXP Realty - Louisville, KY
Serving the Greater Louisville area

I think that the quality of the work has to be factored in.  I have seen some wonderful faux painting that was an addition to the house.  I have also seen some less than desirable murals that need to go. Buyers are certainly factoring in time and labor to repaint.

We bought our current house in a short sale.  There were 2 murals in bedrooms that used fluorescent craft paint.  I thought that I would never get this off scraping and sanding as it had about a 1/8" texture.  I had to skim coat the drywall before painting.  Buyers typically are not looking for more work as they move in.

May 22, 2011 07:54 AM #68
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