Dear Seller: If your home smells it will not sell!!
Dear Seller: If your home smells it will not sell! In case you haven't heard we are in a buyer's market. That means there is a large of supply of crappy looking, overpriced homes for sale and a small supply of very nit picky, discriminating buyers who are in no hurry to make a decision or write an offer and when they do, you most likely will become nauseous and light headed at how low the offer is when your agent presents it to you.
All joking aside, the market is tough and my job as your listing agent is to be honest with you, tell you what you need to hear and develop an aggressive strategy for marketing your home that will ensure a sale and get you to the closing table. You may not like what I tell you, you most likely will disagree with me but the success of the transaction hinders on your trust in me and my advice along with your willingness to do exactly as I say. Not 30%, not 50% but 100% because in this market EVERYTHING matters. That includes the subject of smells. You can do everything else right but if you get this wrong, Dear Seller: If your home smells it will not sell!!
Home smells can be as varied as the homes themselves and I have never encountered any one thing that has as much emotional impact as a smell. Smells can kill a deal and in this market no one can afford that. Some of the most challenging smells to deal with in selling a home are listed below:
1. Smoking - This smell will send buyers running for the hills, they will not even give your home a second look. They assume the smell has permeated everything and the home will require a complete gut job to eradicate the odor. It is estimated that 80% of the population does not smoke. If your home smells like smoke you have narrowed your buyer pool to the remaining 20% that do and even those folks aren't always willing to buy a smoker's home. The clean up is intensive and requires commitment from the seller and you must not smoke inside once the home has been cleaned.
2. Cooking - Not everyone enjoys Italian food laden with garlic and onions or the smell of Fish. Be mindful of what you cook while your home is on the market and be sure to clean all kitchen surfaces and air the room out every few days if you are an avid cook.
3. Dogs and Cats (and other pets)- I know that those of us that have them are very partial to their pets and consider them one of the family. However, not all buyers have the same affinity we do.
Some buyers may even be allergic to pet dander, fleas and the like. When getting ready to list your home, have your carpets and furniture professionally cleaned and deodorized. Keep cat litter clean or in the garage so the smell does not permeate the home. If you have big dogs that may frighten people remove them for showings.
And please clean up the poo. There is nothing worse than the poo smell. Big turn off.
4. Babies - I know those of us that have them are very partial to them as well. It is hard to comprehend that such little beings can give off such horrendous smells but as a mom myself I can testify to some of the odoriferous smells my child has created. I don't know who invented the diaper genie (it is supposed to contain the odor from stinky diapers) but if you don't empty that thing constantly your house will smell like baby poo. Another big turn off.
5. Dirty Laundry - Obviously since it is dirty it has a smell, keep clothes laundered and put away while your home is on the market. And no, shoving them under the bed or in a closet is not acceptable while your home is on the market.
The take away from this list, Dear Seller: If your home smells it will not sell. I know you must realize there are some smells in your home by the number of plug ins and the smell of recently spritzed air freshener that overtook me as I came in. But masking odors does not solve the problem, buyers are not fooled by it either. So please take your listing agent seriously when they address this issue, if you do not you will be embarrassed by the feedback that comes from the showings and frustrated by the drop in showings once word gets out that your home smells.
If you would like more information on how to increase the saleability of your home give us a call on 250-550-2125 anytime!