November 6, 2017

Does Your Home Smell? What To Do If It Does.

It's always a great day for a realtor when we sign up a new listing.  The creativity in marketing the property to other real estate agents, the excitement of finding the perfect buyer for the home, and the delight on the seller's faces as you present the purchase contract to them.  But what does a realtor do when they're on the initial listing appointment and the house smells?  When I mean smell, I don't mean the warm and cozy smell of chocolate chip cookies baking in the oven.  What I'm talking about are the not-so-pleasant-might-have-to-breathe-through-my-mouth-instead-of-my-nose smells.  So you might ask, if the home smelled that offensive, wouldn't the home owner know and get rid of it?  Well, not necessarily.  I grew up with my parents smoking in the home and whenever I complained about it, they didn't know what I was talking about.  Or, have you ever been on an elevator with a person who has a heavy dose of perfume or cologne on and it gives you a headache?  Well, homes are no different.  The people who live there may be aware but don't think it's a problem or they don't smell it at all.  

Odor is caused by bacteria that attaches to ceilings, walls, furniture, clothing, carpets, and draperies.  So the question is, do offensive odors affect the value of the home?  Absolutely!  According to the Chicago Tribune, smoking can reduce a home's resale value by 20%. I've seen articles that stated figures higher than that.   

According to a survey done by the housekeeping channel, the top five worst odors in a home are led by the smell of pet smells, tobacco, rotting garbage, mold, and body odor.  Thinking of selling your home and worried about odors?  Here's a list on how to remove odors and smells from your property:
  • Pet smells - Bathe pets regularly and clean bedding, toys, and litter boxes often.  If you have cats, there's no worse feeling than buyers taking off their shoes to respect your home during a showing and then stepping on loose kitty litter on the floors.  If there are excessive pet stains in the carpet, you may need to hire a professional to replace the padding underneath the carpet as well as to treat or replace the subfloors.
  • Tobacco- Upholstery cleaning, carpet cleaning, using hepa filters when vacuuming are  great options.  Don't forget the walls, it may help to repaint over the interiors as well as renting an ozone machine.  
  • Garbage-Take out the trash more frequently and if the container smells, you may need to flex your muscles and scrub them.
  • Mold-There is no word in the home selling business that kills real estate transactions faster than the word "Mold".  Actually, words like foundation problem and drainage issues are right up there but you get my point.  Moisture problems are very difficult as there may be different ways to remediate and get down to the source of the problem.  I recommend contacting mold remediations companies as well as structural engineers to find out your options for great solutions.  
  • Body odor- Body odor is not easy to talk about but it can definitely be offensive to prospective buyers.  These rooms should be deep cleaned, shoe odor absorbers used, and dirty laundry removed and cleaned more often.  Don't forget your bedding, sofa's, and flooring.  Body odors could get trapped there as well.  
  • Clean refrigerators often.
  • Change air filters regularly.
  • Do laundry regularly to avoid dirty clothing pileups.
  • Use the fan over the stove when cooking.
  • Avoid cooking strong-smelling foods like fish, broccoli, and garlic before showings.

Thinking of moving within this next year? Call now for a free home marketing consultation at 402-318-SOLD (7653)

By: Heeran Workman, MBA, Realtor - REMAX PLATINUM Omaha NE Real Estate

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