What’s that smell?
If that is the first question out of potential buyer’s mouths when they enter your listing, things are not off to a good start. Even if the home is beautiful and priced to sell, it’s likely that the prospective buyers will not be able to get over that odor. Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to combat the problem and make it a non-issue for future house showings.
The Possible Culprits
To deal with an offensive odor, or even just a strong smell which could be off-putting for some buyers, you need to first figure out where it is coming from. What in or around the house could be leading to this smell? Let’s look at a few common sources of unwelcome smells.
- This is the big one, of course. If someone who has been living in the home is a smoker, there is almost certain to be a strong cigarette smell hanging in the air. Unfortunately, this can be tough to deal with. The actions that you may need to take here are likely to be more dramatic than with some of the other smell possibilities. If the carpet stinks, for example, it might need to be replaced. A thorough washing of all surfaces is in order, as well, and new paint could be helpful.
- Dirty laundry. When dirty laundry is allowed to sit in a hamper too long, the smell can start to work its way around the house. Fortunately, this one is typically not as bad as cigarette smoke. For starters, you’ll obviously want to have the clothes cleaned and put away. From there, even a basic air freshener and some open windows (if the weather allows) may be enough to do the job.
- One of the tricky things with pet odor is the fact that many people who live with pets get so used to the smell that they don’t even notice its presence. As the real estate agent coming into the home, it will be up to you to notice the smell and take action, so it doesn’t put off potential buyers. It is often carpeting and rugs which hold onto the pet smell, so treat those areas appropriately.
The Power of Fresh Air
We mentioned this earlier, but it bears repeating that opening some windows can do wonders for the way a house smells – as long as the weather is cooperative. If you are lucky enough to be selling the home during a time which features moderate temperatures and a nice breeze, opening the house up for a few hours during the day could really help reduce the odors. Of course, you’ll still want to do what you can to treat the underlying problem, so the smell doesn’t come back once the windows are closed.
It would be a shame to have an otherwise great listing sit on the market simply because of a bad smell. Of course, this is not something you can expect buyers to just ‘get over’, so you’ll need to come up with a plan to remedy the situation as quickly as possible.