Smell can be our strongest sense.  Think about: hot apple pie, fresh baked cookies, clean linens… they all evoke a warm fuzzy feeling and memory and make you feel good.  As such, it can set an immediate tone for a buyer walking in the door.

As a seller, homes with a perceived unpleasant odor will affect resale.  A 2013 study done by Pfizer Canada found that smoking in a home reduced the value at time of resale by 29%.  That’s huge!  And I totally believe it. Future buyers tend to spend less minutes in a home with a perceived smell, and the buyer pool is limited because they are turned off at dealing with the offending odor. In many’s eyes, the home has become “work” and it will take special buyers who can see beyond that.  Because of the reduced buyer pool, they tend to sit on the market longer. And longer time on market means the risk of becoming stale and doing price reductions.So take a brutally honest look around your home.  Is there something that could put off a smell?  Some typical culprits can include pets, smoking, strong food smells, mold, dirty laundry, or air vents.

Chelsea Robinson | Encino and Sherman Oaks Real Estate Agent and Houses for Sale

Image courtesy of DB2R @Flickr

If you’ve determined you might have a problem, don’t mask it: resolve it.  If you try to mask it, the problem will just return quickly – and inevitibly at the worst possible time.  Also, when people smell strong air freshners they wonder if there is something the seller is hiding – and if so, what else is being hidden. Odors are caused by bacteria that can attach itself to porous surfaces like ceilings, walls, carpet, furniture, and soft goods.

Things that can be done to treat the problem include professional deep cleaning or do-it-yourself foggers that are available.  Cleaning the carpets and doing a full paint are also helpful.  Also consider changing things like air filters, soft goods like throw pillows, bedding, and curtains, and having your furniture professionally cleaned.

During the sales process, try to live meticulously.  Be sure to avoid cooking odiferous foods prior to showings (i.e. broccoli, garlic, fish, and some spices like curry can put off a perceived smell), keep the garbage can, litter boxes, and laundry areas clean and up to date.

And for those of you on the opposite end, the buyers: if you do happen to come to a home that gives off a particularly offending whiff, have hope!  Treatment of the offender is not terribly expensive, and you could get a better deal for it!


If you’d like more information on the San Fernando Valley or Los Angeles, or to have help looking for your next home, please feel free to reach out! I’m happy to help, no obligation.

Find Your New Home!
Contact Me Today!