Every week, we have an office sales meeting and then go out to tour the newest listings on the market. Almost without fail, there seems to be that one house that makes agents look at each other and ask “what’s that smell?”…and they aren’t talking about the lovely potpourri sitting on the coffee table. They are having a negative reaction to the variety of home odors we encounter every day.
This is not how you want your house to be remembered.
Some people have a more sensitive sense of smell than others, so it’s important to make your home as odor-free as possible before putting it on the market. I say odor-free because not everyone loves your favorite candle (I personally dislike the smell of hazelnut) and there are folks out there that have violent reactions to particular scents.
Some of the culprits that can cause odors in a home
While Fluffy and Fido are probably considered a part of the family, they are the most likely cause of odors in a house. Whether it’s the litter box, an accident on the carpet, or just a general pet odor, this can be one of the biggest turn-offs for buyers. Carpets should be cleaned to get rid of any lingering smells, pets should be bathed regularly, crates scrubbed at least weekly, and litter boxes should be cleaned daily. Remember, not everyone loves animals and some people even are highly allergic and won’t consider a home with even a hint of a pet in it.
Besides cleaning and deodorizing, the only way to eliminate a stale, smoke smell out of your home is to take it outside. Don’t smoke in your house – ever. Enough said?
Cooking odors are so personal. I love the smell of bacon and consider it welcoming since it makes me think of Sunday morning breakfast with my family. If I hated bacon, it might not get that same reaction from me. While your house is on the market, avoid cooking anything with a strong odor, especially fish, cabbage, and some ethnic foods. Have to have it? Try reworking that recipe to use your outdoor grill instead.
Start out by scrubbing and cleaning the garbage cans themselves. Then, empty your inside cans every day and your wastebaskets as needed. If you have kids in the house, there is no telling what they might be putting in there! Do a sniff test on the outside cans as well. There’s not much of a bigger turn-off than to take a walk around a house and catch a whiff of stinky receptacles filled with crawfish heads.
Don’t laugh. Almost every teenager I know has been the source of some funky smell in a house at least once. Whether it’s a wet towel left on the carpet, dirty gym socks shoved under the bed, or the remnants of a snack stashed out of sight, teens can be…well, less than clean sometimes. Offer a reward to your teenager if they keep everything spic and span during the sale process. Sometimes, the promise of movie passes or a new video game can be just the ticket to keep them motivated.