When I was looking for homes in my neighborhood I saw many of them.  Just like the rest of you, what makes one house perfect for some makes it a definite “no” for others. Many of them were very nice homes and there was one that I looked at that seemed perfect except for one thing…the smell. I distinctly remember the smell of wet dog as soon as I walked in the home. Needless to say, as I walked around the house instead of looking at how nice and open the great room was I was thinking about how I may have to pull up carpet or pull down plasterboard to get the smell out.  As I walked out I couldn’t help but think how different the experience would have been if the home didn’t have such a strong smell.

Having your home staged, everyone knows, is vital to success in selling your home but how your home smells can be a deal breaker as well. I’ve often walked into a home and smelled the faint yet distinctive odor of cigarette smoke and wondered if I was the only one. The truth is that those who have lived with such scents for so long, no longer smell it.  That is why it becomes so important to have your realtor or other unbiased person give their opinion.

Pet Odor:  Thankfully there are remedies for these odors.  That being said, the more offensive the odor the more work it will take to remove it.  First and foremost you’ve got to remove the source of the problem so as not to introduce new odors. This may mean keeping your pet in non-carpeted areas of the home until the house is sold.  Doing a good deep cleaning of all furniture, including washing couch covers is your first step.  Having the carpet cleaned professionally is second.  Airing out is always a must as well.

Odors like cat urine are among the worst and can seep into carpet fibers, carpet padding, concrete and wood floors, upholstery fabrics, and furniture cushions and pillows.  In particularly bad instances, you may have to remove the carpet, remove the pad and seal the floor, and then replace the carpet and the pad. Cleaning the carpet might help but humidity will raise the odor from the padding or floor beneath.

SmokeCigarette smoke can cling to furnishings, drapes and other window coverings and work its way inside walls. Some topically applied solutions can help to reduce the stench, but an ozone generator, hydroxyl generator or air scrubber should be more effective. These approaches are very effective in absorbing odors though there is no guarantee that an odor can be eliminated.

Get an Unbiased Assessment: The best way to find out whether a house smells or not is to have someone who doesn’t live there to come inside and give an opinion. The obvious person should be your realtor. Unfortunately not all brokers will point out that a house smells bad for fear of offending.

If you have pets or are a smoker, you may need to ask your realtor to be honest with you knowing now that these smells may be in your home despite that fact that you do not smell them.  Having your realtor help in these seemingly small ways is really the best and most effective way of getting your home ready for selling.