Hey Seller! The 70s Called, They Want Their Paneling Back :-)

Real Estate Broker/Owner with MoonDancer Realty, Dillsboro,NC NC# 218097

The family I'm working with wants to live in or near Lake Junaluska just Oh No! Not More Panelingoutside of Waynesville, NC.  The neighborhood should be like money in the bank for sellers...or so they think.  Doesn't it seem reasonable that all the seller should have to do is throw a sign in the yard and slam dunk, call it sold?  Well, yeah...sort of...as long as the seller has kept up with updating and routine maintenance since the 70s when most of these homes were built.  We only looked at two houses in Lake Junaluska last week but both suffered mightily from dark wood paneling overdose.


Both of Even more panelingthe houses looked intriguing and full of possibilities from the outside.  Both had been freshly painted in the past couple of years and both had great landscaping.  The first one was dismissed because of floorplan.  The house had sufficient square feet for a growing family but for our buyers with two small children, there was only two bedrooms on the main floor and it seemed like a poor choice to relegate the six year old child to a basement bedroom.

We approached the second home and the buShag should be a hairstyle or dance onlyyers were excited.  They loved the exterior and the landscaping.  "This might be the house I love" said Mrs. Buyer. "I think this has possibilities".  I finally found the hidden keys in the "Hands of God" flower planter and opened the basement door.  We stepped inside aReally? Harvest Gold?nd found ourselves in a dark paneling vortex.  "It's so old" exclaimed Mrs. Buyer.  Indeed.  It didn't matter that everything seems to have been kept up over the years but it sure mattered that every vertical surface in the house had dark wooden paneling.  I don't know what the inspiration was for the song from "Hair"..."Let the Sun Shine In" came from, but houses like this could easily do it.

Sellers of vintage houses from the 1960s and 70s, if you do nothing else you might want to consider letting the sunshine in by replacingNo way...avocado green? that paneling with drywall.  Yes, it will cost money but not half as much as your house sitting on the market not selling!  The eyes of the buyers will always be drawn to the predominate challenge to the house.  The buyers from last week could get past the paneling to see if the rest of the house would fit their needs but most buyers cannot not.

BuyersEwwwhhh...what's that? still have a large pool of houses to choose from.  If your house was built in the 60s and 70s, you are at a disadvantage already...don't compound it by refusing to do the simplest of upgrades.  Get rid of the old carpet, dated draperies, ceiling tiles, retro wallpaper and vinyl flooring and for sure that dark wood paneling.  Listen to your listing agent, they are not trying to hurt your feelings - they are trying to sell your house.

Did you hear that?  Yes, the 70s called and they want their paneling back!


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Than Maynard
Coldwell Banker Heart of Oklahoma - Purcell, OK
Broker - Licensed to List & Sell - 405-990-8862

Showed one the other day that had every wall covered in paneling. Each room was a different type: dark and light stained wood, bleached wood and painted wood. 

House looked great on the outside, but 3 ceilings had visible termite damage, so there is no telling what was hidden behind the paneling.

May 12, 2014 01:23 AM #32
Andrew Mooers | 207.532.6573
Northern Maine Real Estate-Aroostook County Broker

If there is a sea of houses in harvest gold, avocado, poppy red and brown with wall to wall paneling and thick shag ...well now. (Choke on, cord pulled three times) easy button photoVRRRRommmmmm... put put put... Chainsaw, say timber to the price tag that is cut to make it one of a kind, a blue light special shoppers.

(Wiping eyes stinging with oily smoke from the Husqvarna, ears ringing from idling inside the heavily paneled, bullet proof rock solid paneled home for sale. Paneling that could be painted, lightened up. Or new buyers say hey, love it. This owner did too! )

To stand out as one to buy, decorate, have it your way. Ouch. They cut my price. The way it is is the way it is with housing features.

But the price, now there is the EASY button to push. Trim. Adjust to make it hard not to pick me pick me.

May 12, 2014 01:44 AM #33
Scott Seaton Jr. Bourbonnais Kankakee IL Home Inspector
SLS Home Inspections-Bradley Bourbonnais Kankakee Manteno - Bourbonnais, IL
The Home Inspector With a Heart!

i STARTED IN THE LUMBER BUSINESS DURING THE 70'S. i sold 250 pieces of paneling every week. Those were the days.

May 12, 2014 01:50 AM #34
John Cornul
You can always tell people who are not serious about buying and just want to just waste time with a real estate employee when they complain about cosmetics that are apart of owning a home. Lower the price of a home because of outdated wood paneling? No way, lower the price if only its over priced. How much would we lower the price on a basement with wood paneling, $500? LOL
May 12, 2014 02:22 AM #35
Adrian Willanger
206 909-7536 AdrianWillanger-broker.com - Seattle, WA
Profit from my two decades of experience

Mona, was that a photo of a lava lamp? Great tip for home owners about outdated interiors, to get the big bucks you need to be updated. 

May 12, 2014 02:25 AM #36
Patty Da Silva, Davie, Southwest Ranches Cooper City, Plantation, Weston, REALTOR
BROKER of Green Realty Properties® - 954-667-7253 - Davie, FL
Top Listing Broker

Hello Mona. Great tips! Thanks for sharing, have a great day!

May 12, 2014 04:10 AM #37
Nina Hollander
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Charlotte, NC
Your Charlotte/Ballantyne/Waxhaw/Fort Mill Realtor

I despise wood panelling and have found that most buyers I've worked with don't like it much better. There is nothing charming about it. Of course, the 70's were not exactly notable for great taste in lots of things, including clothing and hairstyles (I was there and I remember!). I once showed a home where every single, solitary room in the home was panelled! My client and I fell on the floor laughing!

May 12, 2014 05:31 AM #38
Sarah Lynn Jaskowski
Williamsville, NY
House. Home. Today.

My favorite is when it's just painted over.  Still paneling... not fooling anyone.

May 12, 2014 06:44 AM #39
Deb McNeill
Flying M Team Small World Realty Fort Worth, Tx - Fort Worth, TX
Fort Worth Real Estate

Paint is a fast cure for panelling...a coat of creamy white lightens and brightens a room. One of my favorite homes a buyer purchased last year was a painted panelling home. Paint, fresh carpet, and new oil rubbed bronze fixtures=charming.

May 12, 2014 07:40 AM #40
Jeff Jensen
The Federal Savings Bank/Lending in 50 states - Greenwich, CT

They can have them.  Give me a nice antique any day.

May 12, 2014 07:44 AM #41
1~Judi Barrett
Integrity Real Estate Services 118 SE AVE N, Idabel, OK 74745 - Idabel, OK
BS Ed, Integrity Real Estate Services -IDABEL OK

Fads come and go.. Texturing and paint do a wonderful job of covering paneling.  If done correctly, the texture will hide the paneling lines.. It's a lot of work and some homeowners, after doing it, wish they had just gone and ahead and used drywall. 

May 12, 2014 10:28 AM #42
Michael J. Perry
KW Elite - Lancaster, PA
Lancaster, PA Relo Specialist

In Lancaster City from 1970-1985 so called rennovators butchered up historic housing (1730-1880 era) with the use of cheap panneling and commerical looking drop ceilings !!!

May 12, 2014 08:18 PM #44
Arlow Real Estate Group in Savannah, Pooler & Richmond Hill
Keller Williams - Richmond Hill, GA

If everything else about the house is right I think that modernizing could be a fun and relatively inexpensive project for a new family moving in, and can be done over time. So long as the price is reflective of what is being offered for sale, I don't mind paneling so much. 

May 12, 2014 08:31 PM #45
Dinah Stallworth-Lewis
Priority Real Estate LLC - 318.332.8281 - Natchitoches, LA

Paneling does not have a be a deal breaker.  The bright side is that it can be painted relatively easy. 

May 12, 2014 10:13 PM #46
Mona Gersky
MoonDancer Realty, Dillsboro,NC - Sylva, NC
GRI,IMSD-Taking the mystery out of real estate.

Always interesting to read the comments. What I love about Realtors is that we all think differently on many things.  Certainly an option is to paint or texture the existing paneling...or just look for a house without the hassle and expense.  I am respectful of the comment about this stuff not ending up in the landfill.  I am just as respectful of the buyer's time, energy and money in wanting a house without the vintage baggage.  There is no easy answer but for the seller who has happily lived in the paneled house forever, they have a difficult time understanding why it languishes on the market.  While much of the country still exists in a buyer's market...buyers have other choices...sellers not so much where this updating is concerned.  It isn't only about the cosmetic appeal, it is an indication to the buyers that NOTHING has been done to this house in a very, very long time (whether it has or hasn't).

May 12, 2014 11:32 PM #47
A. J. Zaki
REMAX Realty Pros - Boca Raton, FL
Home Finder In Florida

Good job with this post. Thank you for sharing this information. I got a good laugh looking at the paneling! Have a great week.

May 12, 2014 11:39 PM #48
Sellstate Partners Realty - Cooper City, FL
Selling Broward County Homes with Passion!

You pay for the updating & improvements while living in the house or when ready to sell...that's what a homeowner has to know & accept. Paneling, old carpeting (any kind), wallpapers, mirrored walls...all have to go! Good post!

May 13, 2014 02:59 AM #49
Beverly Carlson
Carlson Properties 325-721-2429 - Abilene, TX
Abilene's Staging Realtor

I painted the paneling in a rent house.  It is simply amazing the difference in "feel" it makes. The house looks up-to-date, the rooms look bigger and it is J U S T paint!

May 13, 2014 12:14 PM #50
Donna Foerster
HomeSmart Realty Group - Parker, CO
Metro Denver Real Estate Assistant

Mona~ We've got a few of those homes lingering around town and it is a challenge for most buyers to look beyond the paneling to see the potential of the home.

May 13, 2014 03:22 PM #51
Gypsy Truesdell
Century 21 Greater LandCo Realty - Idaho Falls, ID

I recently showed a home. When I walked in, I wanted to hide it from my buyers. The living room not only had panneling, but had shag carpet going half way UP the walls, and the largest wall had a wall paper mural of a forest. The kitchen had appliances from the 60-70s and they were built in... The horror went on. In the bathroom, the walls, vanity, floor, tub and toilet where all PINK... I was thinking to myself... No wonder the home is priced so low. Then the buyer said something that surprised me.   "I love the character in this home. I think I want to make an offer." They were serious. And now they are the proud owners of a home I think got lost in the 70s...

May 14, 2014 02:54 AM #52
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