Marsha, We’re getting ready to sell our home. We’ve been working with our realtor and following her directions. We’ve put a lot of time, energy and money into the preparation. Now she tells us that our pets are causing the home to smell and we need to deal with the pet odors. We’ve had two cats and two dogs for years and no one has ever mentioned an odor. We think she’s too picky and going overboard.
No one’s ever mentioned it? Then I will. Your house reeks of Fido and Fluffy and that’s not a selling point. The fact you’re no longer aware of the stench is not surprising. You have grown acclimatized to the dreadful odor. The fact your friends don’t tell you speaks highly of your friends’ politeness. You are not paying your realtor to be your friend; you are paying her to sell your home. She’s telling it like it is because your animal companions can cost you lots of money when selling your home.
The odor of a home is a subtle yet important aspect of staging the home for sale. When there are neutral or, even better, pleasant smells in a home the buyer feels comfortable, calm and receptive. But a less-than-pleasing odor assaults the buyers’ sense of smell; they will run gasping for the door. There is a reason the mouth is right below the nose. “Don’t put that piece of meat in your mouth,” the nose screams out. If you do the results won’t be pretty.
You don’t want buyers to walk into your beautifully landscaped and staged home and have their noses yell “Back out, back out!” This can happen for any number of odiferous reasons. Let’s start with the worst. The number one offensive odor is the wretched foulness of cigarettes and tobacco. This is a really difficult smell to remove. Smoke can penetrate so deeply that it even discolors the walls. The only way to remove severe smoke odor is to remove all carpeting, drapes and have the painters work their magic to kill and cover up the stink.
Next on the list of smells to avoid are pet odors, followed by dirty laundry, fried foods, rotting food, incense and even the chemicals meant to cover up bad odors. Luckily these aromas can be cleaned up without too much work.
Our basic reaction to smells is primordial and emotional. We experience the odor and react. We gag and retch at a horrible stench; we linger and enjoy wonderful aromas. Smells can evoke a pleasant feeling of nostalgia. It’s only after the primordial reaction that we intellectually analyze the smell. “Oh they have a kitty box, two furry dogs, rabbits and a teenage boy! Get me out of here!”
So listen to your realtor when she gives you the nasal appraisal, and go the extra mile to make the staging of your home perfect.