When you are preparing your home for sale, don’t overlook the sniff test.
You may be accustomed to the odors of your own home, whether from pets or people. So ask a friend who won’t hesitate to give you honest feedback to let you know what hits her nose as soon as she steps inside. Then track down the source of the odors and eradicate accordingly.
Start by determining if the source of the odor doesn’t indicate a deeper problem. A whiff of gas could alert you to a faulty connection with a stove or furnace. Have that inspected immediately.
Slow water leaks encourage mold and may rot wood. Damp basements send out a musty odor that will bring a closer look by a seasoned inspector. If you suspect a leaky faucet, pipe or roof, get an expert in right away.
Simply painting over damp areas won’t fool anyone: fresh paint attracts attention — it has a distinct smell, too. Hire a specialist to fix the problem for good. Then you can prove the subsequent paint job is the finishing touch to a genuine fix, not a cosmetic patch on a serious problem.
If the source of odors is from everyday life, you can tackle your ”scents staging” room by room.
Think about how you would expect each room to smell: citrus in the kitchen, pine near the fireplace. While stagers don’t recommend using overly sweet artificial air scents, consider blending in aromatic natural materials that complement the look of each room. For instance, sprays of eucalyptus are classic for entryways and powder rooms, and bowls of oranges look right at home on a kitchen counter.
To infuse your house with a pleasant atmosphere, remove or eradicate strong odors that are a byproduct of daily living:
- Relocate pet care areas and litter boxes. Clean around those areas thoroughly and replace carpet if needed.
- Remove same for dirty-diaper containers.
- Stow strong-smelling spices and pantry staples in plastic-lid containers.
- Thoroughly scrub bathroom fixtures and other dirt magnets such as the back closets and entryways.
- Either tuck moisture and smell-absorbing materials in closets, especially near shoes, or hang bags of cedar shavings. Both are available at home centers.
- Run white vinegar or baking soda through the washing machine and leave the lid open so it dries between loads. Clean the oven and the refrigerator. Serious buyers will examine appliances.
- Replace air filters for the furnace and stove fan.
- Wipe down upholstered furniture with an odor-neutralizing cleanser.
Right before showing the house:
- Don’t cook foods that create clinging, strong odors including fish, onions, eggs and garlic.
- Open all windows to air out odors from the most recent meals. If it’s winter, close them again, but if possible leave windows open at least a crack to keep the house well ventilated.
- Run half a lemon through the garbage disposal.
- Take out kitchen garbage and the bathroom trash.
- Flush swab all toilets.
Baking cookies right before showing a house and lighting candles to neutralize odors aren’t techniques that impress. Instead, ensure your house is clean and reinforce that impression with small vases of fresh flowers in the bathrooms.