BOB UPTON, Realtor®, CBR's Blog
Once you’re ready to sell your home, you want to be sure that your home is smelling fresh. There’s a few sneaky odors that can creep into your home for various reasons. The consequences of horrible smells when you’re selling your home are really not good. Read on to prevent funky odors from turning off buyers from your home.
Food That’s Past Fresh
Whether your garbage disposal is a bit clogged and could use a cleaning or your fridge hasn’t been purged in awhile, these things could be causing a stink. Make sure you stay on top of leftovers and take care of anything that may be in the refrigerator for too long.
Clean your garbage disposal often. It’s simple to make a “volcano” by throwing some baking soda down there and then pouring vinegar over it, allowing everything in the disposal to bubble up. You can even put a lemon or lemon juice in the disposal in order keep a good smell going.
That Wet Dog Smell
Any kind of animal will leave some sort of odor in your home. Whether you have a dog, a hamster, birds, or cats, you’re going to need to freshen up your space. Keep the litter box changed and add some baking soda for a bit of freshness. Make sure to remove any stains on your carpets or floors as well. If a piece of furniture or a carpet is to blame for the strong odors, you may need to remove that piece from your home completely to get the stench out.
Your Air Conditioning Smells Bad
Since water can build up inside of your air conditioning unit, sometimes, a bit of maintenance is necessary. AC units must be cleaned regularly in order to keep strange smells away.
Something Smells Musty
A musty smell usually spells a water leak. Whether it’s in your basement or under your sink, you need to correct leaks in order to get to the root cause of musty smells.
Clean A Carpet With Vodka
You can put some cheap vodka in a spray bottle in order to clean a carpet. This technique can be used for more troublesome areas of the rug. As the alcohol evaporates, so won’t the odors that are filling your home.
The Air In Your Home Is Stagnant
When the air in your home smells kind of stale, you’ll need to get the air circulation back in the house again. This can be easily remedied just by opening the windows. Even if it’s cold outside, it’s good to get the air circulating in your house again. This simple action effectively changes the air in your home without any fancy chemicals or techniques.
If your house is already on the market, you're probably familiar with the hectic process of getting it in presentable condition for the next showing.
Since there are so many things to remember, it can be helpful to create a "pre-showing checklist" you can refer to whenever you need it. Your reliance on the list will probably diminish over time, but it can be a good way to become more organized, focused, and efficient.
Even the simple action of writing down your priorities will make an impression on your mind and help reinforce your memory of what needs to be done prior to a showing or open house. Here are a few tips for staying on track, simplifying the process, and remembering important tasks that are all-too-easy to forget.
Stay One Step Ahead of Dust
Ideally, every room in your house should be dusted at least once a week, but that chore often tends to get postponed, overlooked, or just plain avoided! The problem with not dusting on a regular basis is that it tends to accumulate and get worse. What often occurs to home sellers is the sudden realization -- typically, just before walking out the door prior to a scheduled house showing -- that there's a thick layer of dust on your window blinds, baseboards, or book shelves.
If you're literally minutes away from a real estate agent showing up at your front door with clients, it's generally too late to do anything about the dust accumulations. However, if you've tackled those issues a day or two before they're walking up your front pathway, you can put your mind at ease that you've conquered the "grunge factor"! If you happen to have a housekeeper handling those details, it might pay to casually remind them to do an extra-thorough job on those dusty, grungy areas.
If you have kids (and even if you don't), dirt, finger prints, and hand smudges can often be found around light switches, cabinets, and door areas. While that might be the last thing you think about when preparing your home for a showing, it could be one of the first things potential buyers notice. Although perfection is an unrealistic standard to aspire to, "the devil is in the details!" In other words, it can be the small, easily overlooked details that undermine your chances for making a great impression on prospective buyers.
A Word About Mouse Traps
Whether you live in a mansion or a bungalow, nearly all homeowners occasionally have problems with mice sneaking into their basement, garage, or attic. Sometimes the little critters even find their way into your main living area (eek!). That's why it makes sense to set up a few mouse traps in areas where mice are most likely to enter. Mouse traps come in a variety of designs, some of which are better for homes with pets, children, or squeamish adults!
When it comes to preparing for a house showing, it's always a good idea to check mousetraps for "victims" that may have sprung your devices. Ideally, mousetraps shouldn't be placed in conspicuous spots, but you definitely don't want buyers to see dead mice anywhere in your house. Granted, live ones are worse, but -- in either case -- any infestation (or the perception of one) could be a deal breaker!
While it's not always possible for conditions to be "perfect" when a real estate agent is showing a home for sale, things usually go more smoothly when homeowners are not present.
There are several reasons for this, including the fact that the family's presence at a real estate showing may make the prospect feel self conscious and uncomfortable.
Among other things, the potential buyer may feel like they're intruding and being an imposition. Some buyers also find it harder to concentrate on the many details they need to focus on to evaluate the home.
The ideal scenario happens when house hunters are able to picture themselves as the future owners of your home -- perhaps imagining what it would feel like to cook dinner in your kitchen, entertain guests in your living room, and relax on the back porch. However, when you and your family are there, it makes it more difficult for them to conjure up those images in their mind. So, to the extent that it's possible, it's often a good idea to take the kids out for ice cream or go on a short trip to the mall when a showing of your home is scheduled.
Granted, it may be a little inconvenient -- especially if the visit was set up at the last minute -- but you don't want to unintentionally dissuade someone from making an offer on your house. You never know what might "upset the apple cart!" There's a lot at stake and every prospect is a potential buyer.
Ideally, prospects should feel unpressured, unhurried, and free to express their opinions about what they're seeing. If they feel like they have to weigh their words carefully and be discreet about every reaction, then their discomfort may spill over into their feelings about the house, itself. Since buying a home is often an emotional decision, any negative feelings in the prospect could potentially derail the chances of a purchase offer being made.
Real estate agents not only serve as knowledgeable "tour guides" and objective sources of information for house hunters, but they're also there to accentuate the positive and minimize the negative aspects of a property. One of their main objectives is to put prospects at ease and help them appreciate all the desirable aspects of your home.
There are dozens of details, property features, unique attributes, and flaws that potential buyers are trying to assimilate and remember, so the fewer distractions there are, the better! That's why it makes sense to keep the atmosphere as uncomplicated as possible. It can be a bit of a delicate balance for real estate agents to maintain, but most have the training, experience, and finesse to keep things on an even keel and moving forward!