• Monica Danaher

6 smells homebuyers hate!

Updated: Dec 19, 2020

Would you be surprised to know that over 50% of home buyers are put off by strong odors in a home? And no, that’s not just bad smells, that is any strong odor. As your realtor, it is my job to tell you all the things in your home that could potentially connect or disconnect a buyer to your home, and how it smells is, one of the most important.


We have all heard the old wives’ tale of agents who bake cookies in the home before an open house, but do not think that this is the trick to making your home sell fast. Even good smells (like cookies) can distract buyers and affect their decision-making skills. They could also think that the strong smell of baked goods is your way of covering up a problem.


1. Food: It is no surprise that food, whether you cooked it or not, can create lingering odors throughout the home. When your home is on the market, it is best to try and avoid cooking foods with fish, strong spices, or ethnic foods with potent smells. If you are craving certain flavors, go out to eat and enjoy them at a restaurant instead! After all, you will need to start making a list of places to go to when you home is being viewed by all the potential buyers! When cooking, be sure to use your stovetop fan and even open a window. Wipe down the surfaces, take out the trash, and wash the drapery and other fabrics regularly used in the kitchen. If you need a quick fix, leave a small bowl of ground coffee or vinegar exposed on the counter. This is a quick wat to absorb some of the smells that may turn a buyer away.


2. Clothing: Buyers will open your closets while they are viewing your home. (Organizational tips in another post soon to come!). Smelly socks, shoes, sports equipment, towels… anything with perspiration will eventually create a stink. Try and leave shoes outside to air out instead of in your entry way, wash bed sheets, throw blankets, decorative pillows etc. on a regular basis. For the items that cannot be washed, are not easily washed, or for a quick fix, use of an odor-eliminating product will suffice, but don’t overdo it!


3. Appliances: Buyers will also open your appliances, especially if you are planning on leaving them with the property. Make sure you remove all the smelly and rotten food from your fridge at least once a week. Clean the oven and be sure to wipe up spills in the oven and fridge asap.

Tip** Don’t forget to clean your dishwasher and washing machine too.


4. Smoke: Tobacco smoke is one of the hardest to get rid of and unless you are planning on painting the room, wiping down hard surfaces, removing all fabrics and carpets, and not smoking in the area again, it may always linger. If you are a smoker and are planning on selling your house, stop smoking in your home the minute you decide to list your property. If it is not in your budget to do the above, consider hiring a professional cleaner to help cover up the smell.



5. Air Vents: This is one that many homeowners do not think about. Changing the filters in all your ventilation systems is one of the easiest ways to prevent smells, otherwise, the odors are just circulating through the home. Regularly changing the filters in your systems also keeps your systems in good working order, and can help determine any outside odor sources, such as dead mouse in the air vent.


6. Pets: I know, my fur baby is my child too, but simply having a pet can cause odors throughout the home or can create an allergy flair up for buyers. Before putting your house on the market, try and budget in a professional carpet clean and steam clean of hardwood floors. When your house is on the market be sure you are bathing and brushing your pets regularly. If you have cats, make sure the liter box is cleaned on a regular basis, and check before you leave the property before any open houses or listing appointments.

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