Sep 29, 2017
For humans, the right aroma can trigger anything from feelings of nostalgia over the holiday season to happy childhood memories of Mom’s famous pumpkin pie.
But for homebuyers, they can also be a potential deal-breaker. We’ve grown so accustomed to the normal scents in our own homes that we often don’t realize they are there. As a recent article in Boston.com by broker Marjorie Youngren notes, these odors sometimes sneak under the radar.
“In this highly emotional industry,” she writes, “one of our more sensitive jobs is to have a ‘nothing personal’ conversation with our sellers. There are a number of things that can deter a buyer from purchasing your home, and it’s our job to address them with you…”
A few tips:
• Clean it. Even good housekeepers generally have a certain level of dirt accumulation over time caused simply by the normal processes of living in a home. Don’t just hit the counters with a splash of Windex and a wipe down. Call in the pros and get a thorough top-to-bottom cleaning.
• Keep Fido at bay. We’re used to the smell of our pets but the strangers who tour your home will not be. Worse, they could have an allergy and a sneezing buyer is an unhappy buyer. Be extra careful to police the house for pet smells including food and litter boxes. Pets and their paraphernalia should be kept out of olfactory range during visits from others.
• Have less fragrant meals. It isn’t just the universally unpleasant odors that cause problems. Aromas that please supper palates at your house may seem out of place at a home showing and cooking smells can linger for hours – or longer. You may not notice but someone walking in from the outside will. Dial back on “smelly” ingredients like garlic, particularly if your house is scheduled for a tour.
• Don’t freshen up. It may surprise a lot of people but scented candles and artificial air fresheners aren’t the answer. First of all, one person’s pleasing aroma is another’s rank odor so while the wafting fragrance of apple spice fragrance may put you in seventh heaven, your buyer may be gagging and wondering what that awful stench is. Moreover, added scent can make potential purchasers feel like the seller is trying to compensate for or hide something. Neutrality is the safest strategy. The best thing for a buyer for a buyer to smell entering your home is nothing at all.
• Don’t smoke. It should go without saying but cigarette smoke is an obvious problem. If you have to puff on a cigarette while your home is on the market, it is best to do so outdoors.