Selling September 21, 2015

The Invisible Deterrent To Selling A Home

There are many reasons why a house will not sell. As a Realtor, I go through that long list with my clients regularly. I talk with my clients about price first and foremost, but after that we discuss curb appeal, staging, carpeting, cleaning, fluctuating interest rates, and the dreaded slow market. While most sellers are a bit blind to the flaws of their own house because they have learned to live with them, one hinderance is often completely invisible yet right under their nose.

What is it? The smells in their home.

I liken it to a person not being able to smell her own breath or body odor. Home owners get so used to the smells of their home that they don’t really smell them anymore.

And what are those smells?

  1. Pets – Our furry friends – Cats and Dogs – bring their on unique aromas that can be masked, but will usually re-emerge over time.
  2. Mildew – Vacant homes can quickly start smelling mildewy without regular traffic throughout the home.  It is not always a sign that something is particularly wrong with the home, but it can scare a buyer away pretty quickly.
  3. Cooking – While the smell of fresh bread or cookies right out of the oven can be very enticing and a great lure for buyers to make an offer, the smells of curry, garlic, or onions can be a big turn off when you’re not the invited guest to a dinner party.
  4. Candles – Too much of a good thing can often be a bad thing.  The saying, “All things in moderation,” also applies to adding sweet smells throughout your home.  First, some buyers don’t love vanilla or pumpkin spice wafting throughout a home.  Second, too much flower power can make the buyer think the seller is hiding something (such as items 1-3).
  5. Other – Mothballs, sweat adolescents, toxic cleaners, cigarettes, etc.

The smells of a home are perfectly fine while the home owner lives in the home, but as soon as it goes up for sale, the sellers has to change his ways.  This may mean changing the carpets and curtains that have absorbed the smells from years of home activities.  Steam cleaning may work, but usually those deeply imbedded smells will rise back up to the surface.

While the real estate agent should let the buyer know about the smells, many agents will be afraid to be honest and offend the buyer and risk losing the listing.  As a double measure, the buyer should invite a friend or two over and get a straight forward opinion.

Eliminating home odors can quickly lead to the wonderful smell of money.