Does Your House Pass the “Smell Test?”

By Andrew John Cocks | Selling

When potential buyers come to look at your house, they’re not only LOOKING, but they’re also SNIFFING, either consciously or unconsciously. When we live in a house, we tend to get used to the way it smells and don’t always notice when something is a little…stinky. But any obnoxious odors will be immediately apparent to a first-time visitor. So before you show your house, take a sniff or two, and then take these steps to de-odorize.

1. Pets. Dirty litter boxes and old “accident” stains are the obvious culprits here. Keep Kitty’s litter box scrupulously clean at all times, and consider having your carpet professionally cleaned by someone who is experienced with pet stains. Don’t forget that many people are allergic to cats, so make sure your furniture and carpet are vacuumed frequently. If possible, think about keeping your cat or other pets confined to a certain area of the house while your house is listed. If you’re thinking of getting a cat or other pet, wait until AFTER you’ve moved.

2. Cooking. We’ve all been told that we should eat more fish, but until your house sells, eat that fish at a restaurant. Strong odors from cooking fish hang around and permeate the house. Cabbage, onions and garlic are notorious offenders, too. Throwing a few lemon slices in some boiling water or running lemon peel through the garbage disposal can help clear the air. And remember to take out your kitchen garbage as often as possible.

3. Cigarettes. Smoking easily drops the value of a house by 15-30% — possibly even more. Smoke gets into the drywall, carpets, furniture, and drapes, and it is very difficult to remove. If you or a family member smokes, stop smoking inside the house as soon as you decide to sell. Paint the interior, and either shampoo the rugs or replace them. If weather permits, keep the windows open to help air out the house.

Follow the above steps, and your home will not only LOOK good, it will SMELL good. A fresh-smelling, odor-free house is much more appealing than a stinky one, and much more likely to sell at the price you want.

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