Selling a house with textured (stucco) walls

jenesSeptember 8, 2010

Our house has textured (stucco) walls from the 70s in the living and dining rooms and hallway. I've talked to a couple real estate agents who agree it's a problem for the house, but not one they had a solution for. I've talked to a few drywallers, and one said he could skim coat, but the other two said it wouldn't look right and needed all new drywall. They all seemed think that I couldn't possibly really want to go through all that, though, just to get rid of the texture, and that's what's scaring me off.

The money itself (at least $5K) isn't an issue, since a small part would come back in a higher selling price, and being able to sell more quickly would also end up saving money (for reasons I won't get into), and any money we don't get back I think of as buying some peace of mind that our house won't sit on the market for years because no one will buy a house with these walls. We plan to put the house on the market in the spring.

Should we try to get rid of the stucco, or just factor it into the listing price?

If it matters in the calculation, the house has one other major problem, which is that it only has 1 1/2 bathrooms, and other otherwise comparable houses have a minimum of two -- I'd say 90-95% of houses in this neighborhood have at least two. One real estate agent said people won't even look at houses here with 1 1/2. I would consider putting in another full bath, with the same consideration that I don't have to get all the money back, but the house would sell more quickly. Other than those two things (and a few other decor problems that I am working on fixing), the house is very nice and would probably sell as long as it is priced right.

One more thing, there are plenty of houses for sale in the same price range in the area (Chicago suburbs). I'm sure the there are far more sellers than buyers. If this were an average market, I wouldn't be so worried -- we bought the house knowing these things were problems, but they weren't problems for us. As it is, I'm getting butterflies in my stomach just thinking about it.

Thank you so much for any feedback.

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I think the 1/2 bath is more of an issue than the stucco walls. I'd spend the 5K on that first. You could always offer a credit to potential buyers to address the walls. You could sand/skim coat for a lot less than the cost of new drywall. Maybe even DIY.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2010 at 6:12PM
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If you are going to sell the place with 1/1 bathrooms, them by all means, negate all other negatives.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2010 at 7:57PM
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How many bedrooms? If you can live through the mess, I'd do the walls and add a bath. I wouldn't consider a house without 2 1/2 baths.

My house had stucco walls in a guest bath. Actually, it was some kind of stucco paint probably used to hide stains or cracks. We had to tear out the drywall. It was worth every penny.


    Bookmark   September 9, 2010 at 12:52AM
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I'd say spend the money on the bathroom too---if it's the norm for a house with the same number of bedrooms to have two, that would seem like a bigger issue, and one you're more likely to "get back" in the sale price/time. Also check out other houses in your neighborhood and of your size that have sold recently to get a real sense of the norms and associated prices. The real estate agents are a good resource there, too. Where we live, 2/1 homes are common, and the extra .5 bath would be a bonus---but where you live, it might be that a 3/2 or larger is the norm, and anything less than that will raise red flags or need to be significantly discounted.

We also have textured walls (though they're textured plaster from the 1910s, so a different ballgame since it's considered an asset v. a liability)---but for whatever it's worth, I didn't notice (or, at least, process) that they were textured until after we bought the house, despite being here many times. So there's always the possibility that if everything else is perfect, the walls will be a non-issue. (That said, I don't really know what 70s textured walls look like, so maybe they're really awful? Either way, presumably you paid less because of that and will price lower as a result, so it may not matter.)

There's also the option of going on the market for six weeks, gauging interest, and coming off and fixing the walls if you find it's a huge issue. Not ideal, but could be a strategy.

Good luck, whatever path you choose!

    Bookmark   September 9, 2010 at 1:13AM
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The house has three bedrooms. We would be able to add a full bath to bring it to 2 1/2. In the area we're moving to, 3/1 is very common, so it definitely depends on where you live.

I don't think the walls look bad myself, but I think they're considered dated. I'm not too picky about decor, so my opinion might not be a good one to gauge how awful they look. We weren't smart enough to pay less because of the walls, but I've already kicked myself a little for that and have since let it go.

Thanks for all the replies (more are still welcome). I am starting to think I should be adding that bath.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2010 at 6:34AM
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You might want to post a pic of your texture in the Home Decorating forum and ask for ideas on how to make it more up to date looking. You might be able to just do it with paint and make it look like a feature instead.

Around where I live texture is the norm and it is around other areas of the country too and then there are areas that are all smooth walls. If somebody looks at your house that has lived in an area with textured walls I would guess they wouldn't think twice about it, unless your texture is really rough and very noticeable.

Where would you be adding the 2nd bath? How would it compare to where other houses in your area have their 2nd bath?

    Bookmark   September 9, 2010 at 8:09AM
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Add the bath. The only regret you will have is you didn't do it sooner so you could have gotten more use out of it!

    Bookmark   September 9, 2010 at 8:09AM
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In the model of house that we have, the second bath goes in the basement/family room, and we would put it in the same spot. The bedroom area would seem more ideal, but downstairs ones are not uncommon, so that doesn't worry me.

The decorator forum is a good idea, too - thanks.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2010 at 9:59AM
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The idea that textured walls somehow affect the price of a house just staggers me. The condition of the walls, I can see, could affects the price if there are cracks and holes or it needs to be repainted, but TEXTURE??? Really????

Between my current home and the two I grew up in and all the apartments I have lived in in five states, textured walls were the norm. Put in another bathroom if you feel you have to, but worrying about textured walls is a waste of time.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2010 at 12:23PM
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Honestly if it is a basement bath I wouldn't go through the trouble and expense. It in my view isn't worth as having another on the main floor. Nice, but not a must and if that is what you're competing against then my guess is your 1.5 baths is just fine as is with a small price adjustment.

The basement bath wouldn't make me pick yours over one that did. I would prefer to add my own anyways and pay less for the house.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2010 at 1:20PM
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Clemrick, I hope that most people feel like you do and I am worrying needlessly.

For the bathroom, I think I'll ask another local agent or two, but if one more of them tells me that people won't even look at it, I think my decision's made.

Thanks again to everyone for their advice.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2010 at 10:11AM
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Define Textured. Do you mean really rough to the point where you could hurt yourself if you brushed up against the wall or do you mean small bumps that give the wall dimension?
A pic could help a great deal.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2010 at 3:55PM
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The hallways have a lighter texture that isn't too bad, but the living/dining rooms have heavier texture that might hurt if you bumped into it. The picture is from the living room.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2010 at 11:34AM
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