Smells That Homebuyers Hate
If you want to get the best price for your home when you sell, you’ve got to think beyond how pretty it looks. It’s true--stinky homes sell slowly and for less money. Even though this may seem like common sense, many sellers overlook it because they’re used to their home’s odors.
Smoke from cigarettes or a fireplace is the most common smell problem. You can get rid of it by wiping down surfaces with vinegar, steam-cleaning your carpets, washing all fabric material and, if necessary, installing an ozone generator.
Pet odors, from dogs to cats to birds, are next, especially litter boxes. Cleaning floors & upholstery and changing litter boxes daily will mitigate these. Cat & dog urine smells are ubiquitous and so universally irritating that they may require replacing carpets, pads and even subflooring.
Cooking smells are easy to address--avoid frying (especially fish) altogether while your home is on the market. Wiping down appliances and sanitizing all kitchen surfaces will reduce lingering cooking smells.
To some people, incense enhances relaxation or reminds them of a massage. To others, though, incense is noxious. Play it safe by putting away all the incense paraphernalia and airing out your home before going to the market.
It’s a good idea to avoid air fresheners, especially plug-ins. Too much of a good intention can be a bad thing. Instead, go for fresh mountain air from open windows. Hint: placing a drop of cinnamon on a piece of tin foil in a warm (not hot) oven suggests grandma & apple pie--if you must introduce something other than fresh air, this is as far as you should go.
If you can’t trust your own nose, ask a friend or your Realtor if they detect any unappealing odors. A good friend will gently let you know if they smell anything that needs to be addressed. And a good Realtor should be able to suggest ways to reduce smells--or direct you to a professional who can help.