Does Your House Pass the “Smell Test?”


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

1. Pets

Dirty cat litter boxes and old “accident” stains are the culprits here. Keep your litter box meticulously clean at all times.  You may also want to consider having your carpet professionally cleaned by someone who is experienced with pet stains. Don’t forget that many people are allergic to cats and dogs, so it’s good to make sure your furniture and carpet are vacuumed frequently. If possible, perhaps keep 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 new pet, wait until AFTER you’ve moved.

2. Cooking.

We’ve all been told to eat more fish, but until your house sells, eat that fish at a restaurant. Strong odors from cooking fish will permeate the house. Cabbage, onions and garlic are also some notorious offenders. Throwing a couple lemon slices in some boiling water or running a lemon peel through the garbage disposal can help clean up the air. Also, try to remember to take out your kitchen garbage as often as you can.

3. Cigarettes.

Smoking easily drops the value of a house by 30% or more! Smoke from cigarettes and cigars gets into the drywall, carpets, furniture, and drapes, and it is very difficult to remove. If you or a family member do smoke you should stop smoking inside the house as soon as you decide to sell. Paint the interior, and either shampoo the carpets or replace them. If weather permits, keep the windows open to help air out the house.

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


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