First impressions can make or break a home sale. Within 20 seconds of walking through a home a buyer has already made up their mind if the home is not what they want. As a buyer walks through a door at least 3 of their senses are engaged: what they hear, see, and smell.
From all my years of showing property, I can walk into many homes blindfolded and tell you who or what is living there. Babies, teenagers, smokers, and pets all have a smell.
Here are my secrets for great showing:
- Be Q-tip clean. A home that is that clean is usually a home that smells like it is clean!
- Take out the kitchen trash before a showing. There may be something in there that your nose has grown accustomed to which is offensive to others.
- Smoking? Take it outside. An ionizer can help remove some of the smoke smells.
- Empty litter boxes at the last minute before you leave and take the box outside or the garage. Also remove your pets from the home during a showing. Regularly clean pet bedding clean as dander can leave smells that you may be accustomed but are noticible to others.
- Don't cook smelly foods while your home is on the market. Several years ago at a showing, I was greeted by the homeowner as I went to the door. They wanted to explain that they had just cooked “blood sausage” and that the home might have an odor. Really?! It's been several years and I STILL remember that smell!
What about air fresheners? You have to be very careful about the plug-ins, candles, or sprays. Masking a problem only makes it worse. Personally, I like many of the plug-in smells, but many folks absolutely do not like them. Remember that smell is one of the most powerful memory triggers--you need potential buyers to have good memories of the showing!
Some good smells that usually cannot go wrong:
- Fresh baked bread like pumpkin or another sweet bread
- Fresh baked cookies--especially if leave a few out with a “please take one” note attached!
- Cinnamon sticks in the kitchen. You can also run a lemon through the garbage disposal. Most folks do like citrus and it can smell very good and clean.
- And of course the very best idea: clean, clean and then clean again!