Monday, June 11, 2007

Sell your home by getting rid of pet smells

Have you had trouble selling your home? Well maybe there is a bit of a smell problem. Try getting rid of that smell with these tips.

It has been well established that when people are house shopping they buy what they see. What you may not have been told however, they also buy what they smell!

As a professional home stager, my primary job is to meet with Realtors and home sellers, go room by room with a critical eye, and tell them honestly and exactly what needs to be done to best prepare their home for a quick, profitable sale.

I have written many articles on the art of home staging . . . addressing demographics, and how to use them to target your broadest spectrum of buyers . . . outlining the importance of creating warm, inviting environments with emotional connections strategically positioned . . . I have talked about preparing your home as a 'product to be sold', depersonalizing and decluttering each room, as well as updating both interiors and exteriors . . . and stressed the importance of creating memory points and WOW factors. Above all I have stressed the fact that . . . there are no second chances to make a 'great' first impression!

The following are a few suggestions to help you combat offensive odors:

1. Have your carpets professionally cleaned. For extreme cases when this does not eliminate the problem, replace the carpeting, INCLUDING the padding! This is where most pet odor is absorbed. Note: Before replacing the carpeting make sure you heavily treat the affected bare cement with baking soda or the odor can reappear.

2. Bathe your pets, and change litter boxes often! Because you are desensitized to the odors in your home, you should always go the extra mile 'just in case'. You may not smell anything, but your buyer might . . . a chance you can't afford to take! And when showing your home don't forget to send the cat to grandma's house if at all possible. When people see pets, they will immediately start looking for the smells! The same rule applies for all pet dishes, toys, beds etc. Remove them. Remember the old saying, "Out of sight, out of mind . . . !"

3. Place open boxes of baking soda (inconspicuously of course) in smell-prone areas. Good old fashioned baking soda is still considered one of the best 'odor absorbers' on the market. Use in kitchens, baths, under beds, inside trash cans etc.

4. Open it up . . . Air it out! This one is a tactic that is centuries old and pretty self explanatory. Fresh air can do wonders for any home, especially one that has been closed up for the season. I am aware this is not always a possibility, but when you can . . . do!

5. Introduce pleasant smells . . . naturally! Before you show your home bring in fresh flowers, potpourri, bake a batch of chocolate chip cookies to leave for your guests, or have a large vase of eucalyptus leaves attractively displayed. I don't recommend the use of scented oils or deodorizers to mask offensive odors. First of all they don't cover them up, and secondly, many people have allergies and are sensitive to perfumes and artificial fresheners. (This is also an area where many have mistakenly applied the "more-the-merrier" rule instead of "less-is-more". Then scented deodorizers take center stage and are as offensive as the odors they were trying to mask!)

Having once again addressed all of these very important steps that will lead you to a quicker, more profitable sale . . . let me now discuss the issue that will make all of the above "to-do's" obsolete, and keep your house on the market long after the buyers have bought elsewhere. If your home SMELLS . . . nothing else you do will really matter! This is a problem that, unfortunately, rears it's ugly head . . . or should I say nose, more than I would like to admit. I am called into homes in all price categories, beautifully decorated, well manicured and maintained . . . but, they SMELL! What do I do? I tell them. Because this is a sensitive issue, (especially if it involves "Felix" or "Fido"), I am as tactful as possible, but they must be told. Usually odors caused by family pets, or just everyday family use, are not detected by family members. They have become desensitized, and are unaware of the problem. But to outsiders walking in, this is the first impression they will form, and it will linger in their mind, (and nose), long after they leave the home!

You know there are no second chances to make a great first impression, so make your first chance count by remembering . . . people not only buy what they see, they buy what they 'smell'!

Jeannene Edwards, owner of Interiors Defined, Inc. is a professional home stager and licensed interior designer in Orlando, Florida. Please contact Jeannene Edwards or David Edwards at:

If you are still having trouble getting rid of those smells there is always the opportunity to paint or change carpets. The problem of course is that the future buyers of your home may not like your choice of paint and carpet so try to make sure that you pick very generic colors that no owner would have a problem with.

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