So often, home owners and agents alike put all their focus on curb appeal, staging, and even the Feng shui of a home while forgetting to address what could be a major deal breaker for home buyers: the smell of the home.
Buying a home is often as much an emotional process as it as a financial one. The slightest, seemingly inoffensive smell can leave a buyer with a lasting negative impression that affects the likelihood of you receiving an offer on your home.
So what are the most common smell culprits? Not surprisingly, pets and smoke. Let me tell you how to handle these odors, and what the most-pleasing smells are to home buyers.
How to Get a Handle on Pet Odor
Cats and dogs may be fantastic to have around the home for companionship, but they definitely leave an odor. Because you live with your pets, you may have grown immune to the problem. However, you should be aware that potential buyers will notice right away, and that will affect the price of your home.
The best way to ensure your pets don’t harm your chance of achieving the price you want for your home is to remove all signs of them for viewings. This may sound like a horrible suggestion (don’t blame the messenger), but it is worth keeping in mind that most people don’t own house pets, so even the sight of animals may tarnish their first impression of your home.
If urine has gotten into the carpets, it can be extremely difficult to remove. There are some excellent enzyme-based cleaners on the market that can neutralize urine effectively, but hiring a professional cleaning company that specializes in pet odors is probably the safest course of action.
Smoking is Harmful in More Ways Than One
If all the warnings about your health haven’t motivated you to quit smoking, perhaps a jolt to the real estate pocketbook would do the trick. A study of real estate agents in Ontario, Canada, suggests smoking could reduce a home’s resale value by thousands of dollars. Real estate agents told pollsters commissioned by pharmaceutical manufacturer Pfizer Canada that having a regular smoker in a home can reduce its value by 20 percent, on average. That is a HUGE number.
Do you know what your home is worth? Let’s say it’s $300,000. If you smoke inside your home, it could be worth $60,000 less! And personally, I would be concerned that the home wouldn’t sell at all. It’s been my experience that often a buyer won’t walk past the entry when they smell smoke. Low inventory or not, there is always another home that doesn’t have that smoke smell.
So What Smells Attract Buyers?The best way to find out whether or not your home smells is to ask someone who doesn’t live there to give you the brutal truth. Your real estate agent is a great person to ask, but since it can be hard for anyone to give you such sensitive news, you may want to consider asking a few people for their opinions.
So, what are the best smells to have in your house when people are coming to view it?
Hands down, a clean smell is the way to go. Buyers want a house that is squeaky clean, so if your house smells clean then that is a big plus. This doesn’t mean going overboard with the Pine Sol. You don’t want people choking on fumes as they walk in. Dilute your cleaning products and give the house a nice, good cleaning.
Also, simple, fresh, and easily identified smells are preferred. Think oranges or lemons, but keep it simple. Don’t add things like mint or basil into the fold. Just cut up some citrus fruit before your realtor shows your home.
If you are going to do flowers, put them in a classic vase on the kitchen table and make sure they are fresh but also that they are not too strong. Some arrangements can be overbearing, and a really strong floral scent may trigger allergies—having the opposite effect of what you’re trying to accomplish.
The most important thing to remember when getting your house ready is that none of the above aromas should be used to mask other smells. You really do need to thoroughly clean your house from top to bottom and eradicate all bad smells as much as you can. Febreze and air plug fresheners can only do so much!