It’s amazing how important the sense of smell is to many people. If you’re selling your home, and this applies across the board to houses, townhouses, condos, apartments, or whatever, you need to be aware of the power of odors. An odor like cigarette smoke can cause potential buyers to leave quickly without ever really considering purchasing your home. On the other hand, an odor like that of bread baking can conjure up all sorts of homey feelings and cause the same potential buyer to linger.
Do You Have “Deal Killer” Odors?
The two most common offenders are cigarettes and pet odors. Sadly, most people who smoke or have pets don’t realize this. Often, they don’t notice the smells themselves, so they think this isn’t a problem. Well, it is. A surprising number of people will have a swift, strong, negative reaction. Would you like to smack every second or third prospective buyer in the face when they come through your door?
Anything cloyingly sweet like “room deodorizers” which really just cover up other scents by overwhelming them is likely to be an offender. The same thing is true of other strong, funky smells. Unwashed gym clothes and shoes, cooking smells from foods such as cabbage, fish or more than a little garlic or curry will probably be offensive to many people.
So is it really necessary to stop smoking (or only smoke outdoors), ban the dog to the garden and basement, wash the laundry, and stop cooking strong smelling foods until your home is sold?
Beyond that, it’s necessary to “clean up your act” if you’re really desirous of selling your home. You’ve probably cleaned it up visually already, but what to do about lingering odors? Anything made of cloth holds odors for a long time. Carpets, upholstery, curtains and draperies, table skirts and the like will smell for months or forever. What on earth do you do about them?
If it’s bad enough, carpets need to be replaced and upholstered furniture put into storage. However, it’s often adequate to shampoo carpets and the upholstery in the most intense areas (your favorite smoking chair and the pieces nearby) and launder the curtains. Keep fans going while things are drying; you don’t want to end up with mold and mildew smells. Your goal is to clean up the cause of the smell, not to cover it up.
Attractive Odors Attract
Odors people find attractive are very personal, but there are general smells that are pleasant and cause good emotional responses in most people. We’ve already mentioned baking bread. Almost anything that smells sweet when tends to be in this category – cookies, apple pie, cinnamon buns, etc. Of course, it’s not practical to bake the whole time your house is on the market, but one thing each week-end might be possible.
In cool weather, apple cider simmering with a cinnamon stick or two and a few cloves has much the same effect and is definitely easier to do. A vase or two of flowers with mildly scented flowers is another possibility.
Of the two, cleaning out offending scents is much more important than adding pleasant ones. If you can successfully do both, you’re way ahead of much of your competition and it will help your home sell faster.
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