Yeesh! What’s That Smell? Did Someone Die?

Stinky businessWhen I got to the house to preview it, the seller opened the door and literally, a wall of stench hit me in the face and I am sure I took a step backwards.

I was trapped, I had to go in. Obviously, this woman was used to the smell, had to be, how could anyone live with this? It about made my eyes water.

The culprit was a really old dog that moped around with his overactive odor distribution mechanism.

The house itself was quite nice and in fact might work for one of my clients. We had looked at everything in Bellingham so when I called Joyce and told her I had a house to show her but that she had to get past the smell, God bless her, she was game.

As we stood on the front porch, I said “Here’s the plan. We’ll take a deep breath, look at the living room and dining room and then go out on the deck, where we can breathe. Then we’ll take another deep breath and see the kitchen, then out to the garage and breathe. Then another breath and on to the bedrooms.”

And that is how we saw the house.

So cut to the end of the story. Joyce and Brad bought the house and live there still. They had to rip out the flooring and seal the underlayment. What they couldn’t paint, they scrubbed and disinfected. They got rid of the smell and turned it into a beautiful home where they raised their son.

For the seller, it was a pretty poor experience. Her house took a long time to sell and she had to discount the price more than necessary.

People get used to their own house smells. Especially pet owners. Most buyers are sensitive to pet smells and they feel  they won’t be able to get rid of the smell without a lot of work and expense. And that can be the case. There are too many other houses that don’t smell, why deal with it at all. Your house gets passed up… again.

If you have pets and are planning to put your house on the market, do yourself and the future buyer a favor and deal with it now. First, get the carpets professionally cleaned and see if that works. Get an honest, non pet owning friend to give it the smell test. If that didn’t do the trick, I recommend you change the carpet. You wrecked it, you ought to fix it. Sorry if that is harsh. Don’t expect the buyer to “imagine” the house without the smell.

Then for the course of time it takes to sell, you have to keep Fido from re-stenching it. Is that a hardship for you? Yes, it is. When you are selling your home, it is a product on the market and you need to see it through the buyers eyes (and nose). It’s almost not your home, so start making that mental shift now. Don’t be offended just do what needs to be done.

In this buyer’s market you are required to please the purchaser. After all, there are only so many Joyces in the world.