Most real estate professionals will agree that their buyers will usually make a decision about liking or not liking a home within 10 seconds of entering the house. There can be many things that will make them rapidly form an opinion about a property.
Today I will discuss SMELLS. Often we become accustomed to the smell of our own homes and do not notice anything wrong. However, when others enter the house, they may readily note its ambient scent, whether good or bad.
When marketing your home, how it smells can make all the difference in the world. A home that smells fresh and clean will create positive feelings, while a musty home that reeks of animals, cooking residue, or smoke will have potential buyers running for the door. Some people are allergic to certain irritants, and for them even entering the home could make them sick. Here are some things you can do to minimize the effects of bad smells in your home and make it more attractive to buyers:
- Have carpets, curtains, and upholstery cleaned, preferrably with a steam cleaner that will not just mask smells, but will remove the causes of the smells.
- Frequent spraying with an upholstery freshener like Febreeze cannot hurt.
- If your home is vacant and you are going to turn your refrigerator off for any reason, please prop the doors open. You cannot imagine the smells that can build up within a warm refrigerator. My customers tell me that it may help to place crumpled newspapers inside it. These apparently help absorb bad smells. In the end, it may be best to leave the refrigerator running, but at a higher setting. In this way smells will not develop and buyers will be able to see that the unit is working well.
- If you smoke, for the duration of the marketing period try to smoke outside, on a porch, in a Florida room, a garage, or at least open the doors and windows so the smoke will not linger in the air and in the furnishings. I know firsthand that this can be a hassle for you, but you have no idea how negatively buyers view a home that smells of tobacco smoke. They hate it.
- Consider painting some or all of your walls. The faint smell of new latex paint (not oil based paints that can drive buyers out of your home) gives the house a "new home" smell. You probably know people who love the smell of a new car. It works the same way for a home. If you cannot paint, at least consider washing the walls down with a mild detergent that can eliminate odors. If you have "extreme colors" on your walls, painting them a more neutral shade will help with visual appeal, as well as eliminate bad odors.
- If you have a cat, empty the litterbox VERY frequently. Smells from it can make or break a deal. If you have a male cat that has "marked his territory", clean these areas vigorously to remove the smell. Sometimes it is even necessary to seal the area if the urine has penetrated into the wood or concrete of the structure. If you do not do this, expect thousands of dollars to come off the price of your home and plan on it spending a much longer time on the market.
- If your home is a vacation residence and will be vacant when it is shown, please do not put moth balls around the home. Their strong smell is unpleasant and could trigger allergic reactions. It is better to spray the perimeter of your home with insecticide or put out pest baits.
- If the home is not currently lived in, leave the air-conditioning on at a high setting like 85 degrees so that it comes on a couple of times a day. In this way the humidity will be kept low and the air will seem fresher.
- Change the filters in your AC system frequently. This will help eliminate stale smells and will also stop the formation of black streaks and cobwebs near your AC vents.
- While it is not a bad idea to leave a few air fresheners in your home, check out their potency. I was in one home that had one of those plug-in devices. The home smelled like someone had tossed gallons of cheap perfume everywhere. It was so bad my eyes watered! Not a very welcoming thing. In fact that home ended up selling for $52,000 instead of the $69,900 asking price. Still think things like bad smells do not matter? They do!
- If you have mold growing in the bathroom, get rid of it with a little water and bleach or with a commercial product. There has been so much said about mold in homes lately, that you do not want people starting down the wrong road and begin worrying about mold in other areas where it does not exist.
- If you will be around the home when potential buyers will be touring it, you can try boiling cinnamon on the stove or cut an apple in two pieces, sprinkle it with cinnamon & nutmeg and bake it in your oven. Your house will have the homey smell of apple pie which can create a familiar atmosphere for buyers. Scented candles can also help create pleasant smelling surroundings, without overpowering your visitors' nasal passages.
- If the weather is pleasant, consider opening the windows and doors prior to a visit to let the stale air out and the fresh outside air fill the home.
Hope these suggestions help you. They can make your home sell more quickly and literally put hundreds of dollars in your pockets. Feel free to call me at 813-783-4444 or e-mail me at: firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions concerning this topic or other ways to make your home more appealing to buyers. You can also visit my webpage at: https://www.jelwell.century21bnr.com
Image: US GOVERNMENT