5 Tips Your Realtor May Be Afraid to Mention
March 25, 2013 § 4 Comments
I’ll be blunt. The first thing a prospective buyer will notice upon entering your home is … (drumroll please)… the smell. If any peculiar odor is detected, it can kill a deal in the first minute. Or at least knock thousands off the price. So if you have carpets and plan to keep them and if you have pets, here’s my Number 1 tip:
Hire a professional carpet and floor cleaner. It will make a huge difference. Not only will it rid your house of much of the odor, it will make one of the biggest selling features (your floors) look ready for buyers. Some other important tips:
Don’t burn fragrant candles or use air fresheners. A dead giveaway that you’re trying to mask some mysterious odors in the house. The best way to combat the smell is to clean from top to bottom and inside out, freshen the rooms with paint, and remove old carpets if possible.
Dehumidify your basement. Unless you have a completely dry basement with windows and doors that walk out into the yard, your basement will smell musty. Even if you’re not featuring a Man Cave, the basement needs to show itself to best advantage. Make sure it smells neutral.
Find a pet sitter for your animals. Whether it’s a litter box or a giant dog crate, the animal equipment detracts from the selling features of the house. And some people are actually allergic to cats. (Pet owners will not like this tip — but I’m just telling it like it is.) Move the animals to a friend’s house while you’re on the market — or at least for the Open House and the week following it.
Get rid of the dirty old furniture. This is a tough one for realtors as homeowners can take offense. But listen. Would you buy a house with a living room full of ragged recliners and tray tables? No. Remove the old furniture and let a home stager set up your living room to attract the most number of buyers. Your house will sell quicker if you stage it properly.
Tough love means a quick sale. You heard it here.
We purchased our home from my husband’s grandparents. I feel that the house has a ‘smell’. It isn’t a smell that I like. It smells of moth balls and of a house that is musty. We have an unfinished basement thanks to a mold remediation. We change our air filters often, have two dehumidifiers, and try to stay on top of cleaning, to no avail. I am coming to terms with the fact that the old house just has an old house smell. Hopefully fully finishing the basement will remedy some of that.
I assume you’ve ripped up all the old carpeting throughout? And have you primed all the rooms with a stain sealer primer and then painted? Those two things should help a lot. Sometimes the smell is actually in the wood — like wood cabinets in the kitchen or any old furniture that stayed in the house. Everything that’s not attached needs to go. You can also paint over old cabinets — that will help in the kitchen.
The moth balls may have been in the closets for years. Check there — you may want to paint the closet interiors. That may help with that moth ball smell.
Finishing the basement will help, but my guess is the smell is actually upstairs. Keep at it. Ionizers can help when you’re having guests and want the house to smell fresh. They really do help to exchange the air in a particular room. But they don’t attack the source of the problem.
Hope some of these ideas help you track down the root of the smell and get rid of it for good. Thanks for posting!
Your Home & Color Coach
I’ve heard lots of stories from friends who have toured, and in some cases bought, a home from someone who smokes. Any tips? L.
The first thing is to jettison all the carpet. That does soak up a lot of yucky stuff. They’ve probably done that already. The next thing is to wash everything down — floor to ceiling — to remove any smoke dust. (A professional cleaner at this stage wouldn’t be a bad idea if the smell is really bad — a company that deals with smoke-damaged homes. But it’s expensive.) Barring that, try priming the walls with a heavy-duty primer that will not only cover stains but freshen the walls. I’ve tried the fragrance additives available for paint, but I wasn’t thrilled with the smell. Kind of like an old air freshener…
Then repaint the rooms. One at a time. It should make a huge difference.
Hope that works.
Your Home & Color Coach