Agent Stacey: How Does Your Home Smell?
by Real Estate Sales Representative Stacey Wills
They say scent is the strongest of the senses; it has the ability to transport us back to a time and place and the memories they hold. Some smells might remind you of warm holidays with your family… your first love… or a wonderful vacation spot. But what about those smells that remind you of your nasty Great Aunt Martha’s awful Sunday dinners? Or that mean dog that used to chase you down the street? Nobody wants to be reminded of those!
Most people are “nose blind” to what their own home smells like — they’ve become so accustomed to how it smells on a daily basis, they don’t notice if there’s something that is disgusting to other people. When you’re selling your home, and there are going to be multiple people coming through for showings, you don’t want to be turning potential buyers off as soon as they walk through the front door. It can be overwhelmingly tempting to flood the home with air fresheners and perfumes to mask it. Don’t do it! (I’ll explain why later)
Let’s just have an honest chat, people. No holds barred. Let’s get right down to the stink of it.
“The house smells like wet dog/cat litter/hamster shavings….”
Hey, I love pets as much as anyone. They’re adorable, they’re furry, what’s not to love! But let’s be honest – they do have a smell to them. For some people, the smell of puppies and kittens is endearing. But for a lot of other folks, it’s just downright gross. Whether you notice a smell or not, if you’ve got a pet, it’s a good idea to go over the carpets on a regular basis with Arm and Hammer baking soda carpet freshener to draw out any smells lurking in there. Nothing flowery or perfumey — even plain ole’ baking soda works. And for the love of all things holy, please scoop out the kitty litter box every, single, day. Yes, it might not be your usual routine. But when a buyer walks into your house and is hit with the sting of ammonia from your kitty, they are likely to turn around and leave without a further thought. Your best bet is to assume that every buyer that comes through your home is Cruella De Vil (Google her!) and you don’t want her to be able to sense a pet in the home.
“The house smells like spicy/ethnic/burnt food…” – in other words, cooking smells.
Mmm… spicy food. I’m hungry just thinking about it right now. That chili you make for the football game is amazing. Those empinadas? Delish. But guess what? Not everyone that comes through your home wants to smell the salmon steaks you grilled 3 days ago. Food smells can bring memories rushing back to people, and you might be reminding them of that time they got food poisoning in Mexico. Obviously, you are going to cook what you want to eat, but keep it in the back of your mind. If you are going to be listing your home, maybe save the strong-scented foods for another time.
“The home smells like stale smoke…” – in other words, yuck.
We all know that smoking in your home is going to make it smell bad. Even fellow smokers agree that walking into a smokey home is pretty gross. If you’re still smoking in your place, I guarantee you’re going to have a hard time selling your home. It’s time to move that outdoors people! To get rid of the smell of smoke, you need to thoroughly wash your walls – nicotine sticks to them and turns surfaces yellow, not to mention the smell. Ceilings are often stained yellow too, so you might even consider repainting them. Upholstered furniture, carpets and drapes should be steam cleaned because you can pretty much guarantee they don’t smell fresh. It’s going to take some serious elbow-grease to get the smell of smoke out of a home — buyers know this and it will definitely turn them away. And no, spritzing a bit of Febreeze here and there is not gonna cut it.
“The home was overpowering with perfume…” – in other words, air freshener overload
If I haven’t made you paranoid about how your home smells already, there is the potential that you could go the other way and start dousing every room in air fresheners, sprays, and flowery scents! And believe it or not, that’s just as bad as all the other smells! So don’t do it! The best thing you can do is just keep your home clean and scent-free. On nice days, open the windows and let some fresh air in! Be conscious of what makes a smell in your home, and try to avoid it! Keep it NEUTRAL, kiddo. We want to appeal to as many potential buyers as possible!
So deep breath! Ask a trusted friend to come over and give you an honest opinion on your home’s Stink Status. Sometimes it takes an outsider to give it to you straight. Better that you know now than after several people have come through your house and been turned off!
For more information regarding Brantford and Brant County’s Real Estate market, please contact one of our REALTORS® on our CONTACT PAGE. We would love to be apart of your next real estate transaction, whether you’re looking to buy or sell!