“Ooooh that smell
Can’t you smell that smell
Ooooh that smell
The smell of death surrounds you” – from “That Smell” by Lynyrd Skynyrd
The southern rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd weren’t talking about home smells, but the chorus works for it. Many home owners who are trying to sell their home may have an uphill battle if their home has unpleasant smells. There is nothing that will turn off a potential buyer more than an odor that draws attention to itself. It can be the death of any possible sale—or at least result in a lower purchase price. Even in this competitive market with low inventory, a smell can make a difference.
By the same token, a scent that is pleasant may have a positive impact on a potential home buyer.
Some popular unpleasant scents include pet odors, cigarette smells, lingering smell of bacon grease, garlic, and fish to name a few. Most times the home owner who has been living with the smell doesn’t notice it as much as a potential home buyer will.
How do you determine pleasant scents? That is in the eye…or rather nose…of the beholder.
Some people will make the mistake of covering up a bad smell with something that is so strong that it can trigger a gag reflex. It also makes people wonder, “What are they hiding?”
If you know you will have people going through your home and you have a cat, make sure that the litter box has been scooped and changed. Maybe it’s time for your dog to have another bath. You also probably don’t want to have fast food in your home just before an open house.
If you have the ability to vacate your home for half a day (and that includes your pets) you can also try using an ozone generator to neutralize any odor. An ozone generator causes a molecular change by generating ozone (O3) and causing an actual change in the smell. They are often available for rent at equipment rental stores. I purchased one to use on vacant homes if needed. After using an ozone generator, the air may smell like lightning just came through. However, as noted, you need to vacate the home during an ozone treatment as it can cause respiratory problems. However, within an hour after an ozone treatment, the ozone dissipates. If you have the chance to air out the home after treatment, that would be best.
When it comes to good smells for open houses—try baking cookies or an apple pie just before an open house may be a way to get buyers thinking about “home”…as long as you don’t burn either and you can clean up the mess well before your open house starts. If you have enough time, take a stroll through the house with the freshly baked item to really spread the scent.
If your home has a garden or you want to splurge a bit, consider using some fresh cut flowers or purchase flowers for a pleasant smell and for added décor.
Keep in mind that creating a home environment with pleasant aromas means that you have a much better chance of sniffing out a sale in the near future.