The first thing I fell in love with in our house was the cedar-lined ceiling in the living room. That, and the striking red wall over the fireplace. I just loved those two things, so much that I felt like I didn’t even care what the rest of the house looked like.

Over the years, we’ve put a lot of work into this place. We tore it apart at both ends and added a living room, an office, expanded a master bedroom and added a master bath. We added the two-car garage which has become the Man Shop. We expanded and updated the tiny kitchen. We replaced the carpeting with hardwood floors.

Was it worth the expense? I’m not entirely sure. We thought it was a great investment at the time, and for a while our market value soared. Then, of course, it crashed, like everyone else’s.

The renovations have made this a wonderful home to live in, though, and for that reason I don’t regret the effort and money. I hope we can get a fair price when it comes time to sell. I’m worried that we won’t. I’m worried because there are plenty of houses nearby that aren’t selling, whose FOR SALE signs have gathered dust over the months they’ve been on the market.

We had some realtors—from an agency that touts their quick sales and aggressive marketing—come through and look at our house, and the first thing they told us to do was paint the ceiling. Paint the red wall, too. People want neutral tones, they said. Oh, and you’ll need to price your house 40K below what you were thinking.

It’s the weirdest thing, I don’t know why that bothered me so much. They’re just doing their job, right? Telling us what, statistically, helps sell a house. It’s advice we can take or leave. And yet I thought, fuck these guys. Fuck ’em right in the ear. The fuck if I’m going to cover up the very things I fell in love with, years ago. The fuck if we’re going to give up on our asking price without even trying.

Everything about this is hard, right now. Hard choices and scary possibilities and people telling us we’re making bad decisions. Money worries, god. I don’t know what the right answers are.

So what else is there to do, but go forward with hope? Hope that someone else falls in love.

house_wall

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penne
12 years ago

Whatever you do, do NOT paint that ceiling. It’s gorgeous and someone years from now will be cussing you as they strip it… As for pricing it… Start out where you think it’s fair and see what happens. If you’re not in a tremendous hurry, it probably will pay to wait.

sarah
sarah
12 years ago

i don’t own a house so feel free to ignore me. but i don’t see how it could hurt to try it your way first. if it doesn’t sell, you can then try theirs. i’m 31 and have only rented and let me tell you i’d LOVE some color. in fact, when i do buy, my rooms might end up a shocking rainbow of colors because i am so so so tired of neutral. p.s. the windows and all that natural light are gorgeous! good luck!

silene
12 years ago

I know you will have to make a decision based on your market, and your research, so I am NOT telling what to do when it comes time to sell your house. BUT…when we went through this house, every.single.room was a different color. Living room, a sueded yellow-tan, dining room, sage, kitchen, navy blue (Ok, that was the first room we painted–paprika red!), guest room, dark green, etc. We loved it–it looked like home. We got the house, and you know…we were one of 4 couples looking at it, in a depressed housing marked.

So…not telling you what to do, but I would be willing to bet that there are people who think your house looks just like home. For the record, that room in the photo is gorgeous.

Nhalia
Nhalia
12 years ago

F. ’em! no way would I ever put paint on that gorgeous ceiling!!!

Molly
Molly
12 years ago

I hope they feel the love in Seattle more than they do in Memphis where my similarly shaped, sunny, hardwood floor with a slate fireplace living room has been empty and lonely where once my kids played happily in the sun streaming in each afternoon. We also fell in love, thought we bought it for a good price, brought it out of the 1970’s – and now we are asking $15k less than what we paid for it and that is after the way way way too many $k’s spent renovating. But do I regret picking up and moving to Miami – HELL NO!!!! GO – it will all work out as it is meant to. And hopefully soon the right person will walk into my living room at 4 pm and think they can’t live without ‘our’ house.

Cari
Cari
12 years ago

I love that room – don’t change a thing. If someone hates it, they are stupid and paint is cheap. I have never moved anywhere and not painted something. Someone will love it as much as you do.
Good luck!

Nanica
12 years ago

Paint the wall – forget about the ceiling. You can listen to the Realtors or not. It doesn’t seem to make any difference what they say in this market.

We bought a new house and ended up putting in $10,000 worth of reno’s to the house we had originally lived in to make it buyer worthy – we would have been better off not spending a dime and selling it as is for the same price we got.

The money isn’t the big thing. Honestly a year and a bit after we moved the loss doesn’t bother me anymore, in fact it stopped bothering me the minute we sold and I didn’t have to pack up four cats and a newborn in the hopes of getting someone, ANYONE to buy our charming little home.

In the end it just comes down to the fact that I am so happy to have a this place that I love and a space that reflects my family and how we live. Molly is totally right don’t regret it – embrace it and revel in the outcome.

Good luck…

H
H
12 years ago

I watch a lot of HGTV and it seems one minute the expert home stagers/designers are telling people to neutralize everything and then they’re doing things that are not neutralizing at all. So, I don’t get it either. Our realtor told us that some people prefer neutral homes and some don’t and it is basically a crapshoot as to who decides to take a look. I sure hope it works out for you. Good luck!

Erin
Erin
12 years ago

Oh holy hell, don’t paint the ceiling. And even though I’m not a huge fan of red walls, I’d like that it gives you the idea of having an accent wall in that room.

Carolyn J.
12 years ago

Nthing the ceiling paint – what a dumb thing to say, to paint over a home’s feature. That realtor should get a swirlie.

Whenever I’ve been in the market, I’ve looked past paint and other surface details that can be fixed. I think most people do this. Realtors need to stop treating their clients like idiots.

Locusts and Wild Honey
12 years ago

Yeah, try it your way first. The peace of mind is worth it.

Also I LOVE THAT CEILING AND THAT RED WALL. It would definitely be a selling point for me.

Good luck!!!

Stella
Stella
12 years ago

Every time you post pictures of your home, I sigh at how lovely it is. Have you thought of posting your question on Apartment Therapy? Who knows, it might even lead to a buyer!

Karl
Karl
12 years ago

Paint the cedar ceiling? the one in the photo you posted? Not only is that wrong and barbaric, it’s blazingly stupid and anyone proposing that should be fed to the sharks. (They aren’t good for anything other than feed.)

If it were a drywall or plaster ceiling, I could see maybe an argument for painting it … not that you would have to kowtow to the average, but I could see it. But a wonderful wood ceiling should never be painted, whether it’s cedar or humble white pine or whatever. That is just stupid.

Hope is a wonderful thing, we’ll hope along with you..

Jenny
Jenny
12 years ago

I wouldn’t paint. It’s beautiful. The price, though, is the tough nugget. We priced where our realtor said, and still had to drop the price more than once to get it to sell (we had bought another house and didn’t want to go on paying two mortgages.) For us, in Spokane, the balance was between aggressively lowering the price and waiting perhaps another year for it to sell — financially about the same. For you, the issue is different. How fast do you need it to happen? We noticed that a lot of people were pricing above market because they thought they should get a certain amount — but the selling price is the price it sells at, you know?

That said, knowing you, I’m guessing you’re being reasonable and have done your homework about prices. Wait a little and see what happens. Lucky dice shaken your way.

Crysty
Crysty
12 years ago

Making the choices are hard, we sold a great house and are building a new 1 in a better place. It was hard to leave and I am still not sure how the money situation will shake out! I am just sure that we are moving to a better place for us and the kids. The belief that what we are doing is worthwhile is all that keeps us barely sane!!

Take the real estate advice with salt and best of luck.

Maggie
12 years ago

Oh, how I wish we had the money to buy right now. That room looks heavenly, as does the fenced in backyard (and we’re moving to Seattle soon). I’m so tired of apartments. Good luck in this process. As you say, here’s hoping someone else falls in love as you did.

And the ceiling is fabulous. Don’t paint it.

GingerB
12 years ago

I agree, screw the advice on paint – they either love it as is or they love it and see past red to paint what they love. Painting that ceiling is stupid. Wood is beautiful becase it is wood. If I could stand the chemical exposure to my family I’d strip all the painted wood trim in my 100 year old bungalow but instead I just curse everyone who painted.

Price, though? My friends who planned to sell and move or whatever are generally waiting this out if they can, no one in Utah is getting what they ask for 100%. Is tis something you need to do now, or can you wait a few years?

Kristy
12 years ago

Choose where you want to live…down payment shmaypent…p’shaw. I’ve bought 2 houses in my lifetime. Once in 1998 and once in 2008…both times with no down payment. Sell and move where you want to live. Don’t sell if its just in hopes of making a profit.

Mama Ritchie
12 years ago

I would like to first apologize to any realtors who may be reading this for what I’m about to post.

Realtors, in general, are idiots. Keep the ceiling as it is, keep the wall red. As far as the selling price goes – do your own research. See what houses around you are selling for – see the condition of those houses. Walk as many as possible. And then make a decision based on what you saw – not what some realtor tells you.

Selling a house is not fun. It was one of the most stressful experiences of my life, and I’ve had a lot of stress. But I ended up selling for what I was asking for, within 2 months of listing, right when the bubble popped. And it’s not because I listened to my realtor.

Jessica
Jessica
12 years ago

A few things I’ve read say that real estate agents encourage pricing low because that leads to a quicker sale and faster, guaranteed 3 percent for them. Which is not wrong or bad, just business.

I think the best way to set a price is to look at the comps. Houses with similar square footage in similar condition in the same neighborhood — what have they sold for in the last few months?

Real estate has changed since the Internet came around. Buyers don’t depend on Realtors to drive them around to a million customized possibilites. When we were shopping for our current home, I had already scrutinized online every house our Realtor showed us.

That said, we are thinking about using a discount Realtor this time around. They charge a flat fee to get you on the MLS, negotiate contracts, and give you a yard sign. Some will even host open houses. You save the 3 percent you would give the selling agent, but still pay the buyer’s agent 3 percent. If you’re interested in doing that, just Google “discount realtors Seattle.”

Mama Ritchie
12 years ago

Also, coming from someone who has moved a LOT, you may want to consider renting your house out and finding a place in the new area to rent – try it out. It’s a good time to do something like that as far as Riley’s schooling is concerned. You have a year or two before elementary starts, right? You don’t HAVE to sell right now.

Mama Ritchie
12 years ago

@Jessica – you’re very smart. I like you. Check out Redfin.com, Linda. They are in our area.

sooboo
12 years ago

Maybe paint the red wall, maybe not depending on how strongly you feel, but do not paint that ceiling. Even the suggestion of that is totally cray cray. I would also check out comps. Also go to some open houses and then see if they sell hi or lo or what. Jessica is right about 40k not making much of a difference on the agents percentage. My in-laws were in real estate and I have learned a lot from them over the years. Good luck, selling and buying and moving is not for the timid.

Lisa V
12 years ago

Don’t paint that ceiling. It’s beautiful. Unique.

We just sold our house in 30 days. We had to drop the price lower than we wanted, but will still come out ahead. We had a ton of realtors through the house. Some said “take down your art” “your bathtub is too big” “Get rid of your pool”.

We did none of it. We removed the clutter. We stuck with neutral but not boring colors- including a red wall on our landing. We kept it clean, clean, clean and we sold the damn thing.

Remember realtors opinions are still just opinions. Someone could walk in and love your house just like it is, red wall and all.

ElizabethZ
ElizabethZ
12 years ago

Don’t you dare paint that ceiling. I will send my zombies after you if you do.

Serror
Serror
12 years ago

Don’t paint the ceiling!!! It is beautiful and would be a selling point for me. We just bought in Seattle and EVERY single house we looked at had an red or red-orange wall. I don’t think it is too wacky. Color is not uncommon in homes for sale in this market.
That said, I do believe that the previous owners of our home painted the kitchen a brick red based on their real estate agents advice. It was a terrible color that we immediately painted over. But all the other rooms are different colors and we love them.
After all, it is just paint. One of the easiest things to change about a house. Try it your way first, and see if it sells!

kami
12 years ago

Do not paint the ceiling, hells bells that would make me so upset if I was buying it. Trust me someone will fall head over heels in love with that house! I have always admired it from your photos. I’am a house freak, love looking at houses!

I wish I could buy it, only problem is– wrong state LOL.

Stick with the price you want….remember you can always come down but not go up….unless omg maybe a bidding war would start on it…now that would be exciting!
OK sorry have been really bossy in this comment but seriously that house rocks.

Shelly
Shelly
12 years ago

The ceiling is beautiful! Don’t paint it!
I have sold two houses by myself without realtors in crappy markets. There are those families/couples out there who don’t want to pay 3% or 6% to an agent. You get a better price for your house and it is a win/win
for everyone. Draw up a contract, make them put an earnest payment down and work with your local title company. If you are really uncertain have a lawyer look over the contract. Both of our sales happened within 6 weeks. It really can be done and their are plenty of
websites and books that take you step by step. You can advertise for free via Craigslist and similar websites. And the best part is YOU get to control when the buyer comes over to view vs. the 5 min. heads up the normal realtor gives the client. It also really helped to pay for an inspection before we advertised. That way the buyer knew what they were getting. It also helped us determine a fair price and that everything would pass code so there isn’t any surprises later when the banks are involved. It is usually minor stuff that needs to be worked on and buyers appreciate it. Good luck!!
It

Lise
Lise
12 years ago

There’s a special place in hell for people who would paint a cedar ceiling like that. It’s right next door to the place in hell for people who paint the beautiful vertical grain fir woodwork in craftsman homes.

It can’t hurt to list your house at the higher price. You can always drop the price if you need or want to.

Kathryn (katiemagics)
12 years ago

You have a beautiful home. Home buyers have zero imagination or vision. It’s their lack of imagination that is the problem. Hang in there.
The right buyer will come along. And you’ll be where you were always meant to end up.

Keep the faith mama!

Donna
Donna
12 years ago

I would buy that house just because of the floors and ceiling, and I’ve seen pics of the tub in the master bath and it’s gorgeous too, but the red wall? I hate red, but would love it if it were blue, or green. It’s not that the wall is painted, it’s just not my color. Also love the tree branch on the wall too. Leave it, and don’t change a thing….
And good luck, I know you really want that other house, and it’s beautiful too.

alfredsmom
12 years ago

my GOD do not paint that ceiling! And I dont think you should paint over your red wall either. Silly people! That ceiling is amazing and makes your house different especially with the remodel work you’ve done. You are mixing new with original and it WORKS.

g~
g~
12 years ago

I haven’t read all of the comments but when we sold our house, we had my son’s room painted in a mural of a forest–my Mom did it by hand and I just COULD NOT bring myself to paint over it. The realtor just said to put it on the market and worry about it if we got desperate. 11 days later, we got a contract for our asking price in a crappy market. The couple who bought it envisioned their child having that bedroom. Don’t change it unless you get desperate. I agree with whoever said that a future homeowner would be cursing you as they scraped it off! Good Luck. Realtors shoot for pleasing the general public–not the people who fall in love with red walls…which is likely what you’ll get as I am sure there are plenty of beige houses for the general public.

Lori
Lori
12 years ago

I would put your house on my short list simply b/c of your bookcase. In my opinion, anyone that color codes their books has taken good care of their home. :) As for the rest, I have no idea what works. Good luck!

Courtney in FL
Courtney in FL
12 years ago

Please do not paint the ceiling! And IMHO I have NEVER let a wall color decide if I purchase a house or not…paint is easy to change. Good Luck! :)

Heather
12 years ago

Before we sold our first house I had lovingly painted two of our family room walls red. I loved it. First thing the new owners did was to paint over it. Here’s the thing, you have to LIVE in that house until it sells, so live with the red wall you love. People can paint. And for God’s sake, don’t touch that ceiling! Also…when we had our refinance we had to have our house reappraised and when he put it down for less than I thought I was deeply hurt. I don’t know why. Like my family was “worth” less because we are so tied to this home…strange but true.

warcrygirl
12 years ago

Have you tried other realtors? And people don’t like color? BULLSHIT. Watch a few episodes of Sell This House to get some ideas. Stick to your guns!

Laura
Laura
12 years ago

Do not paint that ceiling! The right people who fall in love with your house will also love that ceiling.

MakeDo
12 years ago

I have friends with their own home who have never painted anything “for when they sell” and this confounds me – it’s your home! If the next people don’t like it, they can paint it! And if they like just bland boring neutrals well I can name 10,000,000 bland, boring developments they might wanna move into.
Wow, I’m surprised the market is down even in Seattle because I’m moving there next month and looking for an affordable place to rent for a family is seeming like an impossible dream….

Elizabeth_K
Elizabeth_K
12 years ago

Not still bitter (three years later) or anything, but my realtor told me to ask lower than I thought for my DC efficiency, and I listened to him. In a down economy, for an EFFICIENCY (no bedrooms, just one big room) in a CO-OP (no one likes co-ops) it sold, with three offers for the asking price, on the first day. I’m STILL wondering if I could have gotten that extra $10K that doesn’t seem like much but would have made a big difference for my husband and me. Anyway, I say DON’T LISTEN TO THEM! The room is gorgeous, and ask for what you want — you can always lower it, but cannot raise it.

Melanie
12 years ago

It’s a lovely room. We’ve had our house on the market for about 9 weeks now. It’s now priced slightly below what we bought it for five years ago, and we’ve put thousands and thousands of dollars into renovations that we’re just having to eat. I know exactly what you mean. We are moving FRIDAY, to the city where my husband is already working. And are facing leaving the house for sale empty. It’s daunting. But just go forward with that hope because you’re right, it’s the only thing to do.

Jaime
12 years ago

Get a second opinion. We had a realtor come in and tell us we had to price our apartment at $25,000 less than we first thought and told us to build walls, tear down others, redo the entire deck, etc. She was billed as the ‘best realtor’ in our area and we quickly realized why – she priced all her listings low so that they would sell in a couple of weeks – she had massive volume which was good for her numbers but bad for her clients.

When we got a second opinion we found someone who was comfortable with our price and our apartment as it was and we did sell within 2 months for a price that we were very happy with.

If it doesn’t sound right, it probably isn’t.

Eric's Mommy
Eric's Mommy
12 years ago

My God DON’T paint the ceiling! What are they thinking? I also love the red wall. I have heard that though, if you want to sell your house go with neutral colors. I think that is crap. Your house is gorgeous!

Judy
Judy
12 years ago

It would be an absolute crime to paint the ceiling. That in itself is a wonderful selling point for the house. And any pictures that you’ve posted on this site in the year or so I’ve been hanging out here – I have always loved the color of your walls and admired you for the bold dark colors and how wonderful it looks with all the glass, and I guess I’m just trying to say I love your house and I too would have bought it just for the red wall and the cedar ceiling. Anyone who doesn’t like red can paint the red wall. Anyone who wants to cover up that wonderful cedar is a numbskull. The house is perfect. Leave it alone. And don’t cut your price until you have to.

Erin Garvey Smith
12 years ago

Hi! I’m a REALTOR in MA & RI. All markets are extremely different but I do have my opinions. I also agree that you should NOT paint the ceiling. I also love wood ceilings. Buyers are not fond of wood paneling on walls but most seem to be drawn to the beauty in a ceiling. I also agree an accent wall can be a great thing. If Buyers don’t like it, the task of painting one wall is not a rediculous amount of work. Buyers would most likely still consider your house.

If you have multiple agents giving you the same approximate price, I believe they are probably most likely pretty accurate. You mention yourself that you have area houses with very old for sale signs. What I like to offer to my Sellers is, okay, we’ll price the house where you would like for two weeks then if we have fewer than 5 or 6 good showings per week and or really bad feedback about the price, we then drop the price by $20,000 or so. Unfortunately, in declining markets you need to be very aggressive in your price. The wait and see thing just doesn’t work when prices are steadily moving down. I hope you find this somewhat helpful. I wish you lots of luck! It sounds like a beautiful home. I’m glad you have enjoyed all the work you have done.

Thx,Erin

K
K
12 years ago

Please do NOT paint that ceiling. Please, please!! If it’s a matter of lightening up the room, do it w/ wall color, a lighter rug, or furniture, but do NOT paint that ceiling. The ceiling is beautiful. Plus, if someone doesn’t like it, it’s a lot easier to paint it than it would be for someone who wants the wood to stip it.
OK, now that I’ve said my part, I’d like to know more about your garage addition. All we have is a carport, and we’d love to add a two-car garage. I’m afraid of the expense, though.

Christina
12 years ago

Wait till the spring. Or least that is what we have learned after both buying and selling a house in the dead of fall/winter. Most aweful exprience ever both times. People feel giddy in the spring and things are green and new and pretty. People like that so even is the house is wreck they see the green and flowers and overlook things they do not like. Everyone else who did spring sales had their houses go quickly.

Paint the red wall but leave those ceilings! They are too purty to cover with paint. I would say find a realtor who can help with staging. Man, that seems to be the way to go. Or simply read up on this – take down all personal photos. Get rid of theme type rooms (the kids for example) and give people an idea of what they can do with the space, play up the good things and try to cover up the negatives. You have a cutie pants house, I am sure it will go fast!

Finally price it based on what is happening in your ‘hood or else your house will gather dust like the rest and people get scared away by houses that sit on the market forever. Without even knowing the reasons, they will assume it is structurable or something like bugs or it floods, something odd ball like that!

Redbecca
Redbecca
12 years ago

I am with the first poster – do not under any circumstances paint that ceiling. They are right – future owners will curse the day you were born as they are stripping that gorgeous wood.
As for the red wall…it is an accent wall, right? Not the whole frakkin room? I’d leave it, then. How hard is it for future owners to paint over one wall? Not very. And it gives your home personality when it is shown. Blank canvas, my ass. If they can’t see past what they don’t like, they don’t deserve your house, anyway.
Future buyers of our place will be appalled. The two bedrooms on the sunniest side of the house are dark blues! Our living room is two-tone yellow (faces north)! And we took out the wall-to-wall carpet to expose the pristine hardwood underneath!

Sarah C.
Sarah C.
12 years ago

I wonder why realtors don’t stop and think that maybe houses aren’t selling because they ALL LOOK THE SAME? We aren’t selling houses to robots, but to people – and hey, we’re people too, right? So if we like color and interesting features we can assume that other people might as well. Don’t paint anything is my advice.

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