Last year, I was called out to a home by a would-be Long Beach home seller who warned me ahead of time: “This home stinks.” He was right. His mom, who had recently passed away, and his sister, who had been caring for her, had had dozens of cats who’d had the run of the place and the odor was overwhelming.
You may be thinking you wouldn’t have wanted to walk into that home. And neither would buyers looking for a Long Beach home for sale! I like cats (and have several) and the smell almost knocked me over!
But that Long Beach seller was smart. He listened to our recommendations to eliminate the odor and he followed every one. In that case, it took considerable measures– removing parquet flooring, treating & sealing concrete floors, replacing drywall and painting. But at the end of it all, the home was fresh looking – and clean smelling. It sold above asking price with multiple offers.
Many potential home sellers know that what their home LOOKS like impacts its selling time and the price. But some overlook the fact that the sense of smell affects the dollars and cents of the sale.
It’s critical to make the best impression on potential buyers as soon as they arrive.
Here’s some things you can do that will make a difference:
- Clean your house thoroughly, top to bottom. Vacuum floors as well as furniture. Make sure the garbage cans are empty and clean. Keep all pet areas clean, especially litter boxes. Pet odors are not appealing, even to people who love pets. And sometimes people become used to their pets’ odors. If you’re unsure whether there are odors, ask a very honest friend to come over and give you a second opinion. Or ask your Realtor for an honest opinion.
- Air your home out and keep it aired out – especially the kitchen and bathrooms. Don’t cook any strong-smelling food, like fish or curry or strong garlicky dishes. (I love garlic & onions but some people don’t.)
- If you smoke, don’t do it inside. Especially if you’re a smoker, consider getting your drapes or curtains washed or dry cleaned and steam clean any upholstered furniture. Smoke has a way of lingering and for non-smokers, it’s a big turn-off. They wonder if the smell will still be there after you move out and whether they’ll be able to get rid of it. Eliminate that concern by getting rid of the odor before they walk in the door.
- Introduce pleasant smells that make people feel at home. Bake fresh bread or something with cinnamon or chocolate just before the house is shown to leave a homey aroma. Or heat up some apple cider on the stove with apple and citrus slices, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Potpourri, plug-ins and candles are also good options, but try to choose a scent that isn’t overwhelming or cloying.
- Fresh flowers not only improve the way your home looks but also the way it smells. Carnations have a fresh spicy scent while roses, stock or lily have strong floral sweetness.
The first impression buyers have of your home will either draw them in or drive them away. If they go away, it makes it much more difficult for you to get top dollar offers. If you’re interested in finding out what your home is worth or you’d like additional information on getting your home ready for sale, give us a call at 562-896-2456 or email [email protected].