One of the top turn-offs for home buyers is smoke odor and pet odor. Unfortunately, those are often the most difficult odors to remove. From AllerAir, the odor control experts, here’s an action plan to tackle odors for your open house:
1. Forget the air fresheners.
Surprised? Cat, dog and smoke odors can’t be effectively masked with air freshening plug-ins, gels and oils. The only thing you’ll do is draw attention to the fact that you’re desperately trying to cover-up an odor problem. These fragrances are also laced with chemicals which are unhealthy to breathe and may trigger allergies in your prospective home-buyers.
2. Bring in a friend for a sniff test
Ask a friend to come in and smell your home – and don’t be offended by their feedback. It’s a neat trick of biology that we quickly become accustom to strong odors in our own environment – so chances are you can’t even smell the full extent of your odor problem.
3. Tackle the odor issue head on
If you smoke – stop smoking in your home and make sure you’ve emptied and removed your ashtrays. If you have pets, change cage linings and litter boxes frequently and consider isolating pets to one room in the house. It’s easier to tackle one stinky room than an entire stinky home.
3. Increasing air circulation is only a start
Leaving windows open for a few hours prior to your showing can remove that stale lived-in smell, but is not enough to remove pet odors and long-term smoke-smell. Start by doing a top to bottom clean – wash down walls, bedding, curtains, pet toys and blankets and consider hiring a cleaning service that specializes in cleaning carpets and upholstery. In the case of smoke, you may also want to consider re-painting as the smoke will have penetrated deep into your dry-wall.
4. Buy an air purifier (or several) with the deepest-bed activated carbon filter you can afford
Most air purifiers only have a HEPA filter for particles or a tiny carbon filter which is completely ineffective on tough pet odors and smoke odors. A deep-bed activated carbon filter will actually absorb odors and smoke. It’s important to keep these units running 24/7 as it may take time to remove odors that are embedded in furniture, draperies, carpeting, clothing and anything else soft and porous in your home that can hold on to odor. Try a 5000 D or a smoke unit like the 5000 DS with an extra tar-trapping filter.
Once you’ve taken steps to properly control your odor problem – concentrate on creating an inviting atmosphere. It may sound crazy, but people respond to the smell of freshly baked cookies or bread. If you don’t have time to bake, boil some orange peel, cinnamon, vanilla and cloves on the stove top. Real estate agents swear by it.