}

Monday, June 4, 2012

Stinky Homes Don't Sell!


As a professional home stager, I can give sellers oodles of tips, techniques and sage advice on making your homes attractive to buyers.  I can sweep in and make your house look like a model home. But after all the preparation, want to mess up the sale of your home?  

Don’t address the way it smells.

A client sold her home in three weeks. The home would have been sold the first day if it hadn’t smelled like smoke. She had lots in her favor, a great suburb to live in- it ranked in the top 100 in the country by CNNMoney.  The home was one of a few in the entire subdivision that backed into a spectacular park with country club like vistas.  A great floor plan, 3 bedrooms, an office, four levels of living space and a beautiful added sun room off the back. She de-cluttered, painted, cleaned the carpets, scrubbed and made smart, simple updates. The public areas were beautifully staged, a great Realtor was hired, and the house looked good!  

But there was one update, one big change that wasn’t made - Smoking in the house.  

The house hit the market and there was instant interest.  The 1st lookers surveyed the backyard as the Realtor fiddled with the lock box.  They were thrilled by the lovely views, they wanted to buy in this area, and they were so excited to see the home! They passed through the front door only to be hit with the stench of stale smoke. The excitement was gone, the criticism started... When the Realtor asked for feedback, the potential buyers said their clothes smelled.
All that excitement and in the end their take away comment was - “Smelly Clothing,” not “WOW what a view or this home is perfect for a family.”  In the end and three weeks later, those 1st lookers ended up buying the home at a negotiated lower price. Lots of lookers, lots of keeping the home tidy, clean and leaving for showings - They had so many lookers and they all said the same thing, great house but it smells like smoke.

Preparing your home for sale goes beyond making it look nice.  It has to smell nice too.  Odors suggest all sorts of feelings and conclusions about your home.  If your home has any aroma that evokes an unfavorable response by the potential buyer, you are sabotaging the sale of your home.   We smell it, you don’t, you’ve been desensitized.  So what can you do if you’ve got a home with halitosis? 

1.)    STOP the smell making behavior. If you smoke, don’t, if you love to cook, stop, if you have pets with issues, keep them away from carpet and have them groomed. 
2.)    Clean, clean, clean. From carpets to curtains, everything gets a good cleaning.   Use a vinegar and baking soda solution (Mix 1/2 cup vinegar and 1/4 cup baking soda  into 1/2 gallon (2 liters) water. ) lemon oil for woods.  
3.)    Have your carpets and upholstery professional cleaned and inform them of the issues.
4)    Open the windows - air the home out.
5.)    Replace or clean all ventilation filters.
6.)    Use an order neutralized such as Fresh Wave (www.fresh-wave.com).
7.)    Rent a special machine that removes odors.
8.)    If cleaning carpet and walls does not work, you may have to replace the carpet and paint the walls.  Many paint brands now carry odor eliminating formulas.
9.)    Remove window treatments if you can’t clean them.
 
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