Homeowners often overlook the smallest of details with their Windsor house for sale. Right away, sellers will panic about the larger, more expensive repairs, but totally ignore or not think about the things that buyers notice immediately! And usually, these are simple to correct!
What is the first thing buyers notice when walking into your home? Before they glance around they have already picked up on something that can make or break the deal. Give up? Buyers notice odors first! Their feet are barely in the door and already they have picked up the scent of your home and gathered their first impression. All homes have individual odors and many of these are big turn-offs. I have seen buyers struggle through a couple of rooms before they turn and walk out the door, all because they didn’t like the smell of a home.
The most offensive odors are pets, smoke, dirt, bathroom and kitchen odors. Surprisingly, the majority of buyers aren’t crazy about rooms overly scented with candles and room fragrances either as often they will wonder what a seller is trying to hide. Yes, buyers are usually suspicious about anything that stands out of the ordinary.
Before listing your property, thoroughly clean your home from top to bottom. If smoke or pets are an issue, you may need to get your carpets and upholstery, including drapes, professionally cleaned. It’s not uncommon for sellers to wash down walls as well if the odors are particularly offensive. Once this is done, have a trusted friend or your real estate agent walk around your home to see if the offending odors are gone. Pick only someone who will tell you the truth and not what you want to hear.
Here are some simple yet effective ways to getting rid of bad odors in your home so buyers will notice the good things about your property and not how it smells:
1. First, identify and get rid of what is creating the bad odor.
If you have a household where a member smokes, now is the time to make the home off-limits and allow smoking only outside. This includes no smoking in the garage or other outdoor rooms. And no, keeping the windows open won’t help. If pets are the problem, and this is where it gets tricky, it is important that there is a place elsewhere where pets can stay when you are selling your home. Sound drastic? Many sellers understand that this will only help their home sell faster. If this is impossible, at the very least, make arrangements for your pet to stay with a neighbour or pet day care for days when there are showings. Keep in mind that many buyers are allergic to animals. Just one whiff can send some buyers flying out the door. Unfortunately, there is no magic solution with pet and animal smells other than a deep heavy cleaning and again, removing the source until escrow has closed.
2. Common kitchen smells:
Buyers are turned off by the heavy, spicy dinner you cooked the night before. Nor do they want to smell odors coming out of your garbage disposal. I urge all of my clients to cease cooking any meals that will leave a lingering odor such as fish, curry and meals loaded in garlic. However, if it can’t be helped, many clients recommend boiling a cup of vinegar on the stove. But that leaves your kitchen smelling of vinegar! With garbage disposals that smell like, well, garbage, cut up a lemon or other citrus, add several ice cubes, turn on the faucet and let the disposal run for about a minute. This works quickly and eliminates most odors.
3. Bathroom odors:
This can be a sensitive subject, but one that a homeowner may need to address. The best thing to do to keep a bathroom smelling fresh, is to keep windows open! If weather is bad, then leave it open just a crack if necessary. Buyers do spend the least amount of time looking at bathrooms, but fresh air may make them stay a little longer. Also, remove any dirty clothes or towels daily. Prior to a showing, make sure you have fluffy, hotel worthy and clean white towels hanging. Add a scent that isn’t offensive, like a candle that smells like fresh linen or flowers. Ignore vanilla, cinnamon or any other scents that can be over powering. Make sure the shower curtains are new and above all else, that the bathroom is cleaned throughly each and every day, maybe a few times a day if you have several scheduled showings.
Before each showing:
Take out the trash
Remove all evidence of pets, such as food and kitty litter
Throw any dirty laundry into the washing machine.
Run Garbage Disposal With Lemons/Ice
Vacuum and sweep and do one final dusting.