Have you seen the commercial for Febreze?
It warns of going “nose-blind” to smells in your home.
That’s a great description of what happens when you live with odors in your home that you just don’t notice any longer.
But if your home is listed for sale, your buyers are not “nose-blind” to those unpleasant odors and they’re keeping you from getting good offers.
If you’re nose-blind, you won’t even know that you have stinky reasons your home isn’t selling.
You need to take a critical eye – or in this case – a critical nose to your home and eliminate the smells that keep buyers from seeing your home as a place they could live.
7 Stinky Reasons Your Home Isn’t Selling
1. Cigarette Smoke
This is the worst offender.
It’s very hard to sell a home that reeks of cigarette smoke.
The smell permeates throughout the home and into the walls and paint.
Even smokers who go outside to smoke can allow the trace to enter the home and linger.
If you are serious about selling for top dollar, you have to address the smell of smoke.
Often this is not easy, nor cheap.
The first step might be to remove all the furnishing from the home.
Cigarette smoke is not just in the house, it’s lodged in the furniture.
Remove everything from the house and then clean thoroughly.
The best option is to replace the carpet and repaint, but if that’s not possible, then you need to bring in specialists.
Mold remediation companies are adept at this type of work and can talk with you about your options.
They can clean the air and scrub surfaces for you.
Pet smells are second in line to the most often heard complaints from buyers about a home.
Urine odors caused by house training dogs or misbehaving cats are almost impossible to remove.
Buyers will immediately realize they have to replace the flooring and they think “too expensive.”
The best option for eliminating this objection is to treat any affected areas.
Carpet cleaners can help with mistakes on carpet and upholstery and a solid scrubbing of hard surfaces is a must before opening your home for showings.
Keep the litter box clean and use a pet smell cleaner around the area for spills.
Don’t neglect the garage either.
A closed garage gets stuffy and if the pets have been allowed to use that area as their bathroom, the smell is liable to hit buyers as they enter the garage like a brick wall.
Clean garage floors with a mixture of soap and baking soda and give it a good scrub and wash.
3. Last Night’s Dinner
That delicious salmon filet you made last night for dinner could be creating unpleasant scents the next day.
Your chef’s kitchen should look and smell inviting and clean.
While you have the home for sale, it’s best to put away the strong spices and food; no more curry, garlic, fish or deep fryers.
Feel free to make those mouthwatering cookies that smell like grandma’s home though.
Leave a few out for your friendly agent and her buyers.
4. Did You Shower After That Workout?
There is no easy way to say this…. your home has people smells.
A dirty bathroom or a laundry hamper of dirty clothes gives off an unpleasant stink.
Buyers are often willing to overlook dirt in many areas of the home but disgusting bathrooms can really turn them off.
Closets are also big culprits of the body odors when dirty clothes and stinky shoes live on the floor of the closet.
The best solution is to clean.
Clean often and thoroughly.
If your home is listed for sale, consider hiring a professional house cleaner to come in each week and keep the home sparkling.
If that’s not reasonable, then you have to do it yourself.
Don’t allow laundry to pile up. Wash bathroom towels and bedding regularly.
Use an odor absorber in the closet.
These are beads which soak up smells with little to no fragrance.
An old tip from grandma is to make shoe sachets by putting a small amount of baking soda into cheesecloth and then tying the ends to make a small bundle.
Put sachets into offending shoes to absorb odors.
5. Air Fresheners
Keep an editing nose for air fresheners and candles.
One aromatic candle in the living room is welcoming while one in each room can be nauseating.
The scent choice is also important.
The scent should be incidental to the home, not the star.
In the summer months, a nice citrus smell is fresh and bright.
For winter months you can go a little stronger with cranberry or apple.
Less is more with artificial fragrances.
If you do need to use more than one candle to permeate the home, use the same fragrance throughout.
Home buyers will become accustomed to the scent as they move through the house and it becomes a nice extra bonus.
When you vary the scents, buyers notice the new scent in each room before seeing the room itself and it’s distracting.
Garbage cans are found in many locations in the home.
Waste cans in bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchen, and garage can all harbor unpleasant smells.
Home buyers might not even recognize the source, but the odor will reach them.
The simple fix is to empty trash often and move any receptacles to an outdoor location if possible.
Wash trash cans to remove any spills and stay on top of the process while your home is on the market.
If you keep kitchen trash in a cupboard, move it if possible.
If that’s not convenient, then look at some of the odor absorbing trash liners as a solution and empty often.
7. Mold and Mildew
Mold is a hot topic in real estate right now.
While not all mold is dangerous, there is no way to tell without having a professional mold inspection.
Certainly, you do not want to hide any serious problems, but sometimes musty smells are simply due to lack of circulation or living near water.
If you find actual mold growth in your home, you must act.
Your buyers will not want to assume this kind of problem and even if it’s remediated in the escrow process, many buyers will just pass.
Call in a professional mold inspector and get the facts.
You might find that the remediation cost is covered by your home owner’s insurance, so do your homework.
Do not use bleach to remove mold spores!
This can cause them to enter the air stream and create a very dangerous living environment.
If you see growth, contact a professional before doing anything.
If the issue is simply a musty smell caused by normal moisture in the air, using a dehumidifier could solve the issue.
You can also find moisture absorbing pouches to hang in closets and other small spaces.
Nothing substitutes for good air circulation, so wherever possible, open windows and doors and air out the area.
You never want potential home buyers to refer to your home as “That Stinky House.”
Fortunately, most odors are easy enough to remove.
Selling your home is a big financial transaction and even if the smells require professional attention, the effort to remediate them could be well worth it, resulting in thousands of additional dollars in your pocket at closing.
One response to “7 Stinky Reasons Your Home Isn’t Selling”
Great blog and thanks for sharing this useful information. It is definitely important to clean and prepare your home before you list in the market.