6 Smells That Will Turn Home Buyers Away

Have you ever caught a particular scent in the air, and instantly remembered the last time you encountered it? Maybe cotton candy takes you back to days at the fair when you were young, or cinnamon reminds you of all the baking you do over the holiday.

This happens because our olfactory sense is connected to the part of our brain that stores memory, which means that we’re going to remember the positives (or the negatives) attached to that smell.

Why does this matter? Well, if you’re trying to sell your home, one scent could be the difference between an offer and someone walking away.

While some smells may be normal for you, newcomers won’t share the same view. This is one of the first tips a real estate agent will give you.

These are some of the smells in your house that you should get rid of and avoid while your home is on the market. Windsor Home Cleaning can help you with these.

1. Strong Cooking Smells

There is no getting around it – some foods have extremely strong smells when you cook them. Things like fish, eggs, garlic, and onions are some that immediately come to mind. Even the cook can’t help but notice those lingering scents!

The best way to keep your home smelling fresh is to avoid particularly pungent aromas that could turn someone’s stomach. Since food smells take a few days to completely disappear, we recommend adjusting your cooking about a week before you plan to have buyers in.

If you can’t tell if your home has cooking smells, ask a friend or your realtor for a second opinion. It’s easier to detect smells if you haven’t been living with them.

2. Pet Odors

Just because you’re in love with your fluffy, scaly, or feathery friend does not mean prospective buyers are going to ignore the strong pet odors you’ve become used to. From shaving-lined cages to litter boxes to that wet dog smell, your animals come with their own eau du cologne that you need to eliminate.

Make sure that anything associated with your pet is cleaned frequently and thoroughly, including tanks, cages, and even toys.

This isn’t just about odor removal; it’s also about allergies! One of your buyers may be allergic to the pet you just happen to have, and you don’t want them to see your home through watery eyes and frequent sneezes.

3. Too Many Cleaning Scents

Naturally, Windsor Home Cleaning are big advocates of having a clean home that shines from top to bottom. It’s what we do every day. But there’s a difference between the scent of a fresh, well-cared for home, and a home that reeks of bleach and ammonia.

If there is too much of these smells in the house, your buyers may become overwhelmed by it. They’ll also wondering what you’re trying to hide with such strong chemical smells. Even if you aren’t hiding anything, you don’t want to add fuel to the fire.

Stick with simple, lightly scented or unscented cleaning products. Things that are clean will smell clean, even if you may not notice the difference.

4. Smoke

Any type of smoke is a big no-no when you list your house on the market. Smoke smells in your house will linger, and some people are more sensitive to it than others.

Whether it’s from your fireplace, the BBQ on the back deck, or a family member’s tobacco products, buyers will notice it clinging to the curtains.

Avoid using anything that will create smoke, and encourage smokers who live in the home to do so outside once the house goes on the market. To get rid of existing smells, it is important to frequently clean and run some sort of air filtration machine.

Remember, buyers are trying to see themselves in your home. They don’t want to see a house that smells like someone else’s.

5. Stale, Musty Smells

When you go away on vacation, and come back home, do you notice that the air in your home seems a little stale? So one of the first things you do is throw open the windows and try to get some freshness back.

We don’t want people to think of your house as stale or musty. That’s why at Windsor Home Cleaning we recommend the top to bottom clean. And we do mean top to bottom. For example, if one of the features of your home is a basement that you rarely use, you’ll need to give it some TLC. Just because it may end up being someone else’s musty basement doesn’t mean you should present it that way.

Another thing to watch out for? Mould. Not only is mould hazardous to your health, but it carries a strong odor that buyers will be able to identify. And no one wants to buy a house with mould. If you live in a damp climate, or if there’s been a lot of rain, like Ottawa, do a thorough check for mould before listing your home.

6. Too Much Sugar, Spice and Everything Nice

It’s hard to believe, but there really can be too much of a good thing! This includes all those smells that people swear by in the world of selling houses.

Windsor Home Cleaning understands that it can be easy to go a little overboard when it comes to making the smells in your house good ones. Candles, air freshener sprays, and diffusers in so many delicious scents can make anyone excited! But not everyone will feel the same way about a house bursting at the seams with the scent of lavender and vanilla.

According to a study by the dean of the University of California – Irvine Paul Merage School of Business, Eric Spangenberg, complex smells like chocolate chip cookies or multiple candles of different scents can actually subconsciously distract people from their actual task because they are trying to identify the individual scents. And that’s the last thing you want when you’re trying to sell your house!

Stick with simple scents to make your home smell as inviting as it looks. A clean home with one or two scents similar in nature will make a much more favourable impression than a home with too many smells, which can be distracting.

Some scents that have proved popular in the past include:

  • Light florals
  • Citrus, like orange or lemon
  • Vanilla
  • Natural wood scents, like pine or cedar
  • Cinnamon
  • Natural herbs like basil or thyme

Remember, use these scents sparingly! The best step to a clean smell is still a clean home.

Hire a Professional Cleaning Service for Your Home

There’s a lot you have to do to get your home ready to sell, and cleaning can quickly become an overwhelming task. Let Windsor Home Cleaning tackle that mountain of work for you. Our team of cleaning technicians will have your house looking (and smelling) like new in no time. We can even make minor repairs!

There is no shortage of things Windsor Home Cleaning can do to make getting your home ready to sell as smooth as possible.

Learn More About Our Services >