Do you smell that? Something smells awful. I guess we shouldn’t have left those fish heads on this blog post, because that seems to be what’s stinking up the place. Of course, you can’t actually smell anything over the internet (yet), which is where the buyers are searching for homes these days. But once they find a home they’re interested in, they’re going to need to see it. If your house made the cut, you want to make sure that it’s not only showing great, but smells great too. Our sense of smell can quickly determine a lot of things for us and we’ve seen the effects of strong smells and odors on buyers as we open the door and take out first step in. Some people will walk right back out and never return, while others will still look, but those scents linger and make an impact on the brain and how we perceive homes.
Avoid These Smells to Sell Your Home
Fish and other foods. Real estate agents have been telling clients since time began to avoid cooking fish while their home is on the market. Even though more people eat fish these days, it still doesn’t sit well with buyers. And it’s not just fish that you should avoid. Any foods with strong smells should be avoided. Cabbage, sauerkraut, garlic and onions, curries, fish and shellfish…these are just some of the smells that will drive buyers away. Remember, what smells delicious to you, may smell terrible to someone else (and vice versa). Even smells that are considered safe can turn off some buyers. A good example? I absolutely hate the smell of cinnamon. If your house smells like you just baked 50 apple pies? No thank you. A smell that is commonly used to create feelings of warmth and home, but for me it turns my stomach.
Smoke. If you’re a non-smoker, you probably hate the smell of smoke. If you’re a smoker, you probably don’t notice it as much. Whether it’s from cigarettes, cigars, or your cousin from Colorado, smoke smells linger and many people can smell even the tiniest bit of it in the air. And it’s not just smoke from these items either. Any kind of smoke will linger – overcooked foods in a frying pan, your BBQ grill, fire in the house, or that tire fire a block from you house. If you smoke, do it outside while your home is on the market and make sure you wash and clean all the surfaces in your home to get rid of as much as the smell as possible. There are companies that specialize in the removal of these odors and if your house is smelling like smoke, you are going to lose buyers. It’s a guarantee.
Pet odors. In addition to some people just not liking the smell of pets in the house, remember, some people are allergic. Pet dander can cause allergic reactions in some people and nothing says “honey, this is the house” like a trip to the ER. We love our pets and we become used to the smells associated with them, but when a buyer walks into your home and is hit with a wall of pet odor, they’re starting off with a negative impression. Remember that our noses get accustomed to smells over time, so you may not even notice the scent of your pet. Pet odor doesn’t just come from dirty cat boxes either. Dogs, reptiles, birds, and even fish tanks all have particular smells associated with them, some of which are not pleasant to all buyers. Keep your house clean, vacuum often, change and wash bedding, keep cages and fish tanks clean, and definitely don’t forget to stay on top of the litter box.
Mold and must. You know that smell. The one you just can’t get out of your nose. The wet, damp smell of mold and musty conditions. Although San Antonio is a much drier climate than some other places, we still deal with mold. In fact, it can be even worse here because we typically get a lot of rain in short periods of time. Mold smells can come from drains as well, so keep your drains clear by flushing them with hot water on a regular basis. Keep bathrooms clean and use cleaning products known for their disinfection qualities.
Bleach and other chemicals. Although we just told you to keep bathrooms clean and disinfected, there are few scents stronger and more eye watering than an overdose of bleach. A slight bleach smell in a bathroom will usually not turn buyers away, but if your whole house smells of it, it can be quite tough to tour through the home. We’ve seen clients have to cover their nose and mouth because a home is so clean that it smells like a DuPont chemical factory. Bleach can knock out a lot of germs and keep items free of mold, but a little bit goes a long way.
Too many good smells. Here we are telling you about all the bad smells, but did you ever stop and think about the scents you willingly put into your home? The candles, plugins, sprays, and diffusers? There are a ton of products on the market designed to make your home smell beautiful, but be careful of overkill. Stick with one or two methods and try to stick with clean, simple scents. Watch out for competing scents as well – strong floral scents combined with cinnamon combined with ocean breezes combined with chocolate chip cookies combined with citrus – our noses hurt just thinking about it. Try to keep your scents in the same family and try to find scents that smell good, but are not overpowering (some of the floral scents in particular can be very strong). Too much of a good smell can also direct buyers attention away from the home and lead them down the path of thinking about what you might be covering up with all those scents.
Of course, we can’t please everyone all of the time, but avoiding these smells can certainly help. The most important smell you can leave buyers with is the smell of “clean.” Keep your home sparkling and free of dirt and dust and you will be rewarded. Go out to a restaurant for that salmon dish you’ve been craving, take a cigarette break in the back yard or down the block, take Fido to the groomers, and keep wet areas dry and clean. Don’t try to mask odors by dumping more scents on top of them and use scents that are clean and fresh. The better your home smells, the longer the buyers will stay and look around. Give them the time and opportunity to fall in love with your home and you will be rewarded.
image courtesy of darkbuffet