House Not Selling? Eliminate Bad Odors

House Not Selling? Eliminate Bad Odors

 July 13, 2016

Even the cleanest of homes can have an unusual smell. The odors and stenches of everyday life are simply unavoidable. Home-cleaning experts say that people who are exposed to bad smells for a long period of time stop recognizing the smells and adapt to the environment. The good news is that bad odors can be eliminated. Buyers avoid homes that stink like the plague so it is important to make sure your listings don’t smell. Help sellers get rid of foul odors with these excellent tips.

Have a Checklist

Most homeowners will never admit that their homes smell. It is up to you to point that out. Every time you visit a new listing, have a checklist to help you detect the sources of bad smells. Ask the sellers these questions:

  1. Do you smoke or live with smokers? If yes, do they smoke indoors or outdoors?
  2. Do you own pets or have friends that do? Do they often visit your home with their pets?
  3. Is your basement or crawlspace damp? Has your home ever had mold or water-related problems?
  4. Do you have daily, weekly, and monthly cleaning chores?

Get Rid of Cigarette Smoke

This can attach itself to window treatments, furniture, and even walls. Advise homeowners to clean their properties with solutions that absorb odors like air scrubbers, hydroxyl generators, or ozone generators. Once the house is clean, they should not smoke indoors or allow others to do so. They should also get rid of ashtrays which may put off some buyers. If they must smoke, they should do it away from the house and ensure their exterior is clean during showings.

Eradicate Pet Odors

Pets are cute but messy. Tell sellers to take their pets to their friends’ or neighbors’ places for the entire period their homes are on sale. While this may sound a bit cruel, it is sometimes necessary. Pets bring new odors to a home every day and your sellers’ efforts to clean their homes will be futile if they keep on living with their pets. Advise them to replace rugs or furniture with pet odors as cleaning them might make the smells worse. No matter how much your sellers love their pets, they should ensure their homes don’t smell like them.

Clean the Garbage Disposal and Trash Cans

A garbage disposal can give off a bad smell when left neglected. To eliminate this smell, sellers should drop chunks of lemon into their garbage disposals as the citrus clears most bad odors. If the smell lingers, they can mix cold water with half a cup of vinegar and pour the mixture in the disposals.

Indoor and outdoor trash cans should be washed with hot soapy water to eradicate debris and smelly bits. If the sellers are still living in the home, they can place old newspapers in their trash bags to trap food juices. They can also use fabric softener sheets in their trash cans to absorb odors.

There is nothing as annoying as walking into a home with a bad smell. Most buyers will put up with a lot but not foul odors. The air inside a home is usually more polluted than the outdoor air. Add bad odors to that and you might just have a disaster waiting to happen. Tell your clients to avoid using chemical air fresheners as they only make the situation worse. They should get rid of bad odors in healthy ways. If the smells linger, they should consult cleaning experts. Afterwards, they can make their homes smell great with scented candles, burning cinnamon, or appetizing cookies.


Ronique Gibson

By Ronique Gibson

Ronique Gibson is an Associate Architect and a LEED Accredited Professional, who has been in the design industry for over 13 years. She started her design blog in 2009 and today it has become a premier destination for helping homeowners with everyday lifestyle challenges. Her readers check in daily for help with their homes, DIY project ideas, recipes, crafts, and inspiration to beautify and enjoy their homes.