WHAT is that SMELL?

(Things you DON’T want potential buyers to be asking when they are touring your home)

Any guesses? I bet you guys know….it’s not a secret….

PETS! (Or cooking odors, or kid messes, or mold/mildew, etc.)


As I was researching to write this blog post, I came upon a website that I didn’t know existed: American Cleaning Institute. I don’t know if that says something about it, or about me, but whatever the case may be, it exists, it’s a thing, and it’s surprisingly informative, helpful, and easy to read.

According to the Institute, “When a house is for sale, the goal is to make it as attractive as possible to potential buyers. The most cost-efficient way to spruce up the home is to clean it thoroughly.”

Well, duh. Right? However, in reality, most of us are busy people! We have lives to live, things to do, and over time we become blind to our own homes potential issues. For example, it is well documented that pet owners frequently become immune to any smells that may be present as a result of their fur babies; but buyers sure aren’t! One of the first impressions when you walk into a home is the smell. The goal is for the home to smell fresh and clean, not pet odor-ey, or artificially perfumed. As for Glade, Renuzit, and all the other “Air fresheners” out there, many people are actually ALLERGIC to such scents, and can be off put by smelling them. Or it may make people wonder what you are hiding. Either way, not a good first impression to make.

So what to do?

1. The BEST scenario (although possibly the most difficult) is to temporarily re-home Fido or Fluffy while the home is for sale. Get rid of all pet paraphernalia too.

2. Second option, is to either crate the pet while there is a showing, or take the pet for a ride with you while the house is being shown. You don’t really want to put the dog in the back yard while there is a showing, because people will want to look outside, and some people are afraid of animals, no matter how friendly they may be. Be sure you open the windows to the home for at least 15 minutes, once or twice per day to air out any potential odors and freshen the home naturally. The more you can leave them open, the better.

3. Another good, well known trick to combat unwanted odors is to have freshly baked cookies just out of the oven. Nothing screams “home” better than a plate of warm cookies. During the holidays, it can be nice to have a pot of water with cinnamon sticks and cloves simmering on the stove. That’s a great natural, comforting scent as well that shouldn’t bother any allergy sufferers.

4. Clean the home thoroughly. This should go without saying, and if you don’t have time, hire someone else to do it! A sparkling clean home is crucial in making potential buyers feel welcome and confident that your home is ready to become their home, without a lot of added work on their part. Of course, that is unless you want to potentially reduce your asking price by thousands, which no one wants to do. This should take care of any smells, as well.


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