Wednesday, September 2, 2009
If You Can Smell It...You Can't Sell It!
Putting the Cart Before the Horse
I recently toured a home that is up for sale by a house flipper. He had been having trouble selling it. He told me on the phone some of the reasons he believed it wasn't selling: the home's location (across from a fairly busy LIRR train station) might be the problem - or the fact that the home has no furniture and lacks some warmth.
When I arrived to do a walk-through staging consultation, I first noticed that the home's exterior could use some sprucing. Not a big deal - easy to do. But - then I walked into the home. I had just put my foot into the entry and I was overwhelmed by a mildew/moldy smell. It was really pungent...and very obvious. But - apparently not to the flipper. Very proudly (and rightly so), he took me on a tour of how he renovated the kitchen and all the bathrooms. He and his team did a magnificent job. The paint job on the home was well done - nice neutral colors that will go with anyone's furniture and decor. The closet were poorly done - but this was a minor issue.
When we went down into the basement, I felt like we were in a different house. It was unfinished, dank and this is where the smell was coming from. This basement should have been the first thing that the flipper should have attended to. I told him that the first thing he needed to do was to contact a company like Healthy Basements - and have the mold/mildew removed. Then the entire place would need a great paint job - at minimum. Adding a new washer/dryer would be a plus...and something that all homebuyers would want to see. The basement was plumbed but there was a faulty-looking electrical hookup - and I couldn't see where there would be a vent for a dryer. Taking care of this toxic mold, painting and add a washer/dryer would have been the first things I would have done.
The flipper originally wanted me to give him an idea of the costs of staging the kitchen, bathrooms, living room, dining room, the master bedroom and an office. I told him that the basement had to be attended to first before I could ever put furniture in the home.I will know this week whether or not he has accomplished what I suggested he do.
The Moral of the Story
Most homeowners are unaware of smells in their homes. When we live in our homes we become accustomed to the ways things look and the way our home smells. But these very "homey" things/smells can be off-putting to a potential homebuyer.
The adage "If you can smell it - you can't sell it" is so true when it comes to successfully selling your home. Please be aware of some of the chief offenders such as...pets/pet urine, cigarettes/cigars, cooking smells, air condition filters that needs to be changed, heavy perfumes, oil-based paints/stains...and mold/mildew smells. Having a fresh and natural smelling home will be very welcoming to a potential buyer. It's advisable to have an independent person to assess your home for any potential offensive odors. Professional home stagers have access to various professional ways to rid your home of smells - so always ask their advice. If you have mold and mildew problems in your home - this is not only offensive but it's toxic and hazardous to your health. Removing it as quickly as possible will not only keep you healthy...but it will sell your house quickly too.