Nine out of ten times, when I encounter wallpaper or paper borders during a staging consultation, the paper was installed more than 10 years ago, which means, the pattern/color/texture is outdated, according to todays standards. I know you love it, I know it took weeks or months to pick out the perfect paper for you, but that’s the point. The buyer who wants wallpaper, wants the paper of their choice, and in the rooms they choose; they want a similar, trendy paper they saw in the model home they toured last week, and probably just on one wall or in a powder room (and by the way, a Decorator or Stager picked that wallpaper based on who the target demographic was for that model home/development).
Most buyers don’t want wallpaper because there is a high probability that your paper won't be to their taste or style, and worse, they will only see it as a downside to buying your home. The tsunami of stress and emotion that happens in their mind is, 1) imaging the money it takes to remove it, 2) the fear/annoyance they feel at the concept of having to remove it themselves, 3) the added stress of having to figure out new paint colors for a house they haven't lived in yet, and, the worst thought running through their mind is, 4) “If they haven’t taken the wallpaper down, what else haven’t they done to keep the house maintained and up to date?”
The exceptions to wallpaper removal when selling are very few. If it’s a historic home and the paper is in good condition, is part of the “selling charm” of marketing this type of home, maybe it can stay. If it’s a solid color neutral color with no pattern in one non-priority room, or a Grasscloth in a neutral color, it may be able to stay, but it’s still risky. Newer wallpaper in a trendy pattern – sorry, it is a pattern you choose, and may not be the color/pattern/preference of the target buyer demographic who is likely to buy your house. Exceptions, there are few.
The bottom line, leaving your wallpaper is an unnecessary risk when selling. Leaving it is like consciously agreeing to price reductions down the road, so be prepared to make an adjustment in the sales price to compensate for leaving your wallpaper. Buyers want a “move-in” ready home according to their standards, not yours. If you are considering pricing your house “with the promise of paying for wallpaper removal,” it’s a good thought, but this strategy won’t work with the potential buyers who pass on scheduling a showing, based on the rooms of wallpaper they see of your house on the MLS. First impressions, they are lasting ones.