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REAL ESTATE TIPS: Be proactive, don’t lose sale over smell

After two months of owning a puppy, I have come to a realization. He stinks. He gets regular weekly baths ‑ the amount suggested by the vet ‑ but between fighting diarrhea for a month and playing in our mud pit yard, it has been really tough to stay on top of the smell. When we got the dog, Andy told his mom that she was supposed to tell us if our house smells like dog ‑ something that we are both paranoid of. We know that people get used to the smells from their own home and may have no idea how good or bad those some smells come across to others.

In real estate, smells translate into dollar signs. Buyers realize that to get rid of certain smells will mean a minimum of new paint and carpet ‑ and the dollar signs add up quickly. By knowing in advance what to be aware of, you can control the situation rather than be reactive. For example, maybe you decide to buy new carpet before listing your home rather than to lose potential buyers during the time your house is for sale.

So today I am going to give you some real-life examples of what can make a house smell amazing to some and not so amazing to others. Because the last thing a seller wants is to lose a sale over a smell.

*Oils.  Essential oils and other similar products are extremely popular and help many people that I personally know with a variety of health issues. The oils come in a variety of scents that are used for multiple purposes — everything from helping with sickness to making a house smell good. Sometimes, however, you run into someone like a particular relative of mine. He does not like the smell of the oils. At all. If he were house shopping and he walked into a house that utilized oils, he would walk back out. While I realize that he is the exception and not the rule, it is something to be aware that you might not think about because most people love the oil smells.

*Air fresheners/candles.  Same idea. I have never smelled an air freshener or candle that I didn’t like. This isn’t like the game “Beanboozled” where the jelly bean looks good but might taste like grass. Candles and air fresheners are designed to smell amazing. Your best bet is to stay away from unique smells and just stick with the very basic ones related to baking.   know that this sounds strange but think about it for a minute. Have you ever smelled a chocolate chip cookie and thought “this smells horrible?” Probably not. There is something about baked goods that makes most people smile.

*Cigarette or cigar smoke.  When I was pregnant with our oldest son, I had a weird craving. The smell of a fresh cigarette that someone was smoking would make my nose perk up. While I had zero desire to smoke, there was just something about that smell. I remember being in the infield of the Charlotte Motor Speedway with Andy, my father-in-law and our dear family friend Butch Berg. I was following “the smell” and Butch lovingly reprimanded me. ”You need to stay away from that! It isn’t good for the baby!” After my son was born, the desire to sniff out the smell was completely gone. The smell of smoke is something that can be a comfort to others and a deterrent for someone else. I remember showing a house to a friend of mine that had a very heavy smoke smell. She said, “This house smells way too much like cigarette smoke and I am a smoker!” So just be aware that the smell can be great or not, depending on your buyer.

*Food.  Sometimes a smell might be amazing to one person and awful to someone else. Food is the perfect example of this. When I was pregnant with my oldest son, I had multiple food cravings. Shocker, I know. One day, I had a craving so intense, I couldn’t stand it. So I fried a pound of bacon and made a 13×9 strawberry cake with strawberry frosting and happily ate to my little heart’s content. It felt like heaven. My husband did not share my enthusiasm. While I used the word “fried” to describe my cooked bacon skills, he would say burned. And because our house had no exhaust fan at the stove, the smell lingered for hours. To this day, I love the smell of burned bacon and to this day he can’t stand it. The same food item, an item we both like to eat, and our perception of the smell is completely different.

*Pets. I love my smelly dog! We all love our pets! Some people have allergies that make buying a house with animals problematic. Others are able to sniff any odors a mile away. Just be aware that pets can be problematic to some buyers but don’t stress about it.

*Teen boys.  While it may sound humorous, I am absolutely serious. When I walk into a teenage girl’s bedroom, there might be crazy colors on the wall but there are rarely negative smells. I have lost track of how many teen boy rooms I have walked into in my career that I can’t wait to walk out of. I don’t know how to explain the smell other than to say that it is a mix of dirty clothes covered up with cologne. Not pleasant. So if you have teenagers, it might not be a bad idea to do a thorough cleaning, find a new place to keep dirty clothes (maybe the garage? just kidding!), and use cologne as air fresheners, not as cover up. By the way, there is no judgement coming from me. I have four boys.

No matter what smells are coming from your house, good or bad, I hope that you have a great week and enjoy some sunshine and fresh air!


Esta Ryder, Realtor

President’s Club
Ryder Realty, LLC


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