We all know how important first impressions are in life. Sometimes a bad first impression can ruin your chance for a second.
If the first thing out a potential buyer’s mouth is “What’s that smell?”, things are not off to a good start. For some buyers, they won’t be able to get around a bad odor.
Many people are accustomed the smells of their own home or don’t have a good sniffer. It might be a good idea to ask a neighbor, friend or your realtor to step inside your home and let you know the state of its smell.
Let’s look at a few common culprits of unwelcome smells:
- Smoke: This can be a tough one to remediate and may require a more dramatic effort to conquer than most other smells. Begin by airing out the house. Clean fabrics with a white vinegar solution, use baking soda on carpets and furniture and clean nicotine on walls with an ammonia solution. If odor still lingers, rent an ozone machine. You may need to replace the carpet and paint the walls to conquer the smell for good.
- Dirty laundry. If dirty laundry sits for too long, it can sour, and the smell can permeate into other areas of your home. This one is as easy as keeping up on the laundry and using a basic air freshener or open the windows to air out your home.
- Pet odor. Litter boxes and carpet that has been urinated on are crude smells that hit buyers the moment they walk in the door. Keep litter boxes clean and place in an out-of-the-way location. Depending on how bad the urine problem has been, carpets either need to be cleaned and deodorized or replaced. Clean pet kennels and bedding to freshen them up.
- Hidden mold. If your home has a musty or “wet cardboard” smell, or maybe that “old home” smell, it could be that you have a mold problem. Some molds can be toxic, so the EPA suggests bringing in a professional if it covers more than 10 square-feet. Get more information by visiting https://www.epa.gov/mold .
- Aged carpets and walls. Carpets and walls absorb smells over time and can emit those odors back into the house. Cleaning ceilings, walls and baseboards with a white vinegar solution followed by a coat of paint can go a long way toward freshening things up. Carpet may only need a sprinkling of baking soda left overnight and vacuumed in the morning. If the odors are too strong, they may need to be shampooed or even replaced.
- Filthy dishwasher. Once a month, run your dishwasher empty with a cup of vinegar or a sprinkling of baking soda. If it still emits an odor, deep clean it beginning with the seals and filter trap. If the dishwasher is old, you may need to replace the drain hose.
- Sewage gas. If you notice a rotten egg smell throughout your house, exit the house without turning on any lights and call your gas company to check for a dangerous gas leak. However, if the odor is limited to one area, such as your bathroom, your P-traps are probably dry. Simply flush your toilet and run some water in the sinks and tub.
- Water heater needs maintenance. If there is an odor when you run hot water, it could be an indication that the anode rod in your water heater needs to be replaced. Experts suggest that you replace it every five years.
Here are a few bonus tips when preparing for home showings:
- Don’t cook fish.
- Empty the trash.
- Empty the diaper pail.
- Use lightly scented oil sticks or an essential oil diffuser.
Dealing with bad odors in your home sometimes requires a little bit of investigation, but it is certainly worth any effort and money if you want potential home buyers to have a good first impression and to make an offer. Freshen things up and they can focus on the true value of your home.