Would you put an offer on "the stinky" house?

Real Estate Agent with Thompson Company, REALTORS® MD594797

What nickname would your house get? Would you put an offer on the stinky one?

When I go on home tours with buyers something funny usually happens in the process. Unless your house is on a street with a sweet or funny name, it will get a nickname. It makes sense if you think about, looking at 10, 20 … 50 homes many do not remember the house on 1234 Hanover Parkway or 5678 Old Columbia Pike.

What they will remember, however, is the one thing that really stuck out. That can be something flattering in reference to a wonderful feature, something not-so-nice referring to that one flaw that stuck out like a sore thumb or just describing the overall condition.

I can’t possibly recall all the nicknames my buyers and I came up with over the last 8 years but here are a few examples:


Typically, the buyer will choose a home from the left column. Depending on their budget and whether or not they are okay with a project, a house from the middle column may also be an option. Most definitely though, will they not choose a house from the right column.

There are some very basic things that need to be done before you put your house on the market. No, these should not be optional unless you plan to price it accordingly. A thorough cleaning from top-to-bottom, decluttering and neutralizing for example may cost you some time but not much money. Please note that neutral does not mean boring, it just means that the purple wall with the lime-green stripes will not appeal to the masses.

If your budget allows try to bring it up-to-date a bit: vertical dentist blinds come to mind or shiny brassy light fixtures or popcorn ceilings. Make sure everything is in good repair and try, try, try to emphasize the assets. If you have a great fireplace, don’t block it with stuff. If you have a fantastic deck, please don’t hide it by closing all the curtains. If you have some nice counters, show them off. Don’t make us guess what’s under the clutter!

When you get ready to put your house on the market, take a moment and think about how it looks, smells and feels and what a buyer would be most likely to remember.

Would you put an offer on the stinky house? I didn’t think so.

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Thompson Company, REALTORS

16910 Oak Hill Rd, Silver Spring, MD 20905
o: (301) 384-9177 c: (240)593-2860


Andrea is a REALTOR® based in Silver Spring, MD, who has enjoyed assisting buyers and sellers in Montgomery and Howard County, MD (and beyond) for 16+ years now. She always answers the phone with a smile, enjoys running, hiking, and traveling, speaks German, reads a lot, blogs a little, and drinks too much coffee. 


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 Andrea Bedard, Thompson Company, REALTORS: from Just Listed to Just SOLD


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Re-Blogged 1 time:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Winston Heverly 04/28/2012 11:25 PM
Home Selling
1st Time Buyers
Advice for Buyers
Advice for Sellers
selling my maryland home
preparing my home for sale
nicknames for homes

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Lindsey Hasford
Edina Realty - Elk River, MN
Bringing you home...

This is really funny. Even as a Realtor it's hard to remember all the street names for homes one sees. :) And nicknames work so well. Like the house where the seller's Realtor met us at the door became the one where the Realtor lived. Impressions leave a great mark and what buyers come up with remains most of the time.

Feb 21, 2012 11:20 AM #9
Cindy Westfall
Premiere Property Group,LLC Portland Metro & Suburbs Oregon - Tualatin, OR
ABR,GRI Your Tualatin & Portland Metro Real Estate

Hi Andrea, this is so true! If the sellers have any control over the matter, they want to be the "let's make an offer" house.

Feb 21, 2012 11:22 AM #10
Susan Neal
RE/MAX Gold, Fair Oaks - Fair Oaks, CA
Fair Oaks CA & Sacramento Area Real Estate Broker

Pretty funny, but sadly, all too true.  The stinkiest home I was ever in was so strong of cigar and cigarette smoke that I couldn't even tour the whole house.  It made our eyes water and our noses burn to be inside. I had to get outside.  It was on a broker tour and we all told the listing agent that it should be pulled off the market until the smell could be dealt with, but he said they simply refused to stop smoking in the house.  I told him I was sorry but I wouldn't be showing it.  There was no way of telling if it could ever be cleaned up enough to get rid of the strong odor.  It sat for 2 years without selling and finally went into foreclosure.

Feb 21, 2012 11:26 AM #11
Andrea Bedard
Thompson Company, REALTORS® - Silver Spring, MD
M.A.; REALTOR® Silver Spring, MD and beyond

Hi Jerry: Ugly typically falls right into the what were they thinking category! I actually bought a cat house and didn't know it until we deep cleaned the carpets and the water reacted with the pee ... had to tear out all the carpet and delay move-in by a good week. Not fun!

Hi Dagny: Hubby suggested to carry a mask with me when showing homes - some are so bad, one can barely breath!

Hi Benjamin Realty: That is a big concern. Some kind of smells can easily be removed and others not so much - the question is would a buyer even want to have to deal with it? It got to be a very special house otherwise!

Hi Kathleen: There always seems to be one, from pet odor to food to trash to no-idea-what-that-is! We nicknamed one the dead-body house once, it smelled so bad and we couldn't figure it out. It just had a bad vibe overall so it got that nickname ... needless to say, no offer!

Hi Pat: Ok, that one is good and totally beat out my dead-body house! Sad, but funny! (why does it not surprise me that you said B-More?)

Hi Jamie: The pink palace sounds cute - not everyone's taste of course but my daughter would love it!

Hi Fred: I've had one of those! We barely made it into the kitchen and had to flee - fuzzy mold all over.

Hi Winston: I don't know about that! We had to tear out all the carpet in our house after we deep cleaned it and the water reacted with the ammonia in cat pee.. we had no idea that cats had lived there. That was a whole lot more work than just painting...

Feb 21, 2012 11:29 AM #12
Tammy Lankford,
Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668 - Eatonton, GA
Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville

I am cracking up at some the names you mentioned.  And giggling because I once had some "Clemson" fans who hate hate hated the "Georgia" house.

Feb 21, 2012 11:42 AM #13
Andrea Bedard
Thompson Company, REALTORS® - Silver Spring, MD
M.A.; REALTOR® Silver Spring, MD and beyond

Hi Lindsey: I know :-) It ends up being easier if you refer to them by a nickname vs. looking through the stack of listings which one was the house on ...

Hi Cindy: Now that would be the best nickname of all!

Hi Susan: That is a sad story with a sad ending. Smoke is a hard one to get rid off, it sits in everything - even if they had stopped smoking inside the house I could imagine that it wouldn't have been enough. I heard of a company once in my area which was supposed to take care of smells like these ... I need to check into that again.

Hi Tammy: There are so many more but these ones came to mind first! Glad you got a good laugh out of it! I'd rather not remember some of them but the was-there-even-a-kitchen house was a funny episode (yes, there was, it was just so very bland and boring that we all couldn't remember looking at it).

Feb 21, 2012 12:57 PM #14
Kasey & John Boles
Jon Gosche Real Estate, LLC - BoiseMeridianRealEstate.com - Boise, ID
Boise & Meridian, ID Ada/Canyon/Gem/Boise Counties

Haha, yep.  We definitely do that.  And I've sold some of those "bad" and "ugly" houses. -Kasey

Feb 22, 2012 06:45 AM #15
Andrea Bedard
Thompson Company, REALTORS® - Silver Spring, MD
M.A.; REALTOR® Silver Spring, MD and beyond

Hi Kasey, sometimes it's because it is easier and other times because it's funny! I've shown plenty of ugly or smelly houses but don't think ever had a client who wanted to purchase one. I don't work with investors much though .. that may not matter to them.

Feb 22, 2012 12:24 PM #16
Brenda Mullen
RE/MAX Access - Schertz, TX
Your San Antonio TX Real Estate Agent!!

The stinky and the what were they thinking homes have got to be the best :)!  We stay like 30 seconds in those babies...I feel sorry for the listing agent that needs to pass on that news to the seller.  Great post Andrea :)!

Feb 22, 2012 11:56 PM #17
Bridget "Mortgage Mama" McGee
SWBC Mortgage 410-960-2061 - Baltimore, MD
Maryland Mortgage Mama NMLS#196068

A while back there was a property for sale on Craigslist dubbed "Party House".  The basement not only had a slew of animal print (a zoo's worth) furniture, but a pool table, a "dance floor" complete with a MIRROR Ball!!!  The owner's included pictures of themselves enjoying their home..at the barbque, in the pool, hanging out on the deck...I called it FSBO from Hell!  I wish I would have saved that ad!

Maryland Mortgage Mama

Feb 23, 2012 12:41 PM #18
Andrea Bedard
Thompson Company, REALTORS® - Silver Spring, MD
M.A.; REALTOR® Silver Spring, MD and beyond

Hi Brenda: Thank you! I've seen some pretty funky homes. A couple that totally creeped me out and one that we had to flee! I just don't understand how anyone could expect to sell like that, of course the price didn't reflect the condition. One of my fav's is the paradise house - typically an oasis of a back-yard!

Hi Bridget: It sounds familiar! One could argue that it was targeted advertising ;-)

Feb 23, 2012 12:58 PM #19
Kimm Cloutier
Agawam, MA
Realtor - Agawam, MA

I just showed a house the other day that reeked horribly of cigarettes and cigars.  The smell hit you as soon as you opened the door.  I didn't want to even step foot in the house, but I certainly couldn't let the buyers tour the place by themselves.  Thankfully, they couldn't tolerate the smell for too long and we were out of there pretty quickly.  Needless to say, they're not even thinking about putting an offer in.  

Feb 26, 2012 01:44 AM #20
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Andrea -- Pat Kennedy's post featuring your "Stinky House" refererence brought me here.   Very clever and you are so right, my buyers almost always "name" the properties they see -- cigarette smell, ugly green shag carpeting --- I love you chart!

Feb 26, 2012 01:50 AM #21
Patricia Kennedy
RLAH Real Estate - Washington, DC
Home in the Capital

I included this post in Last Week's Favorites.  Have a great week.

Feb 26, 2012 02:02 AM #22
Andrea Bedard
Thompson Company, REALTORS® - Silver Spring, MD
M.A.; REALTOR® Silver Spring, MD and beyond

Hi Kimm, that's one of the worst smells and so hard to get rid off - it sits in everything, the carpet, the walls, the furniture, just airing it out wont do but it needs to get done. Even smokers don't want to buy a house that has the smoke smell in every nook and cranny.

Hi Michael: Thank you & I'm glad you stopped by! A lot of buyers seem to do that - the one thing they remember about it (or not) typically determines the nickname - it's a quick and easy reference: So have you thought about the wow-house? Or, I'm guessing the stinky house is off the list?!

Hi Patricia: Thank you very much for the added exposure. I appreciate that. Have a wonderful week!

Feb 26, 2012 05:55 AM #23
William Johnson
Retired - La Jolla, CA
Retired Real Estate Professional

Hi Andrea, I think most of us have associated our experiences with your list. Pat did us proud in selecting your post to feature for the week. It was informative,entertaiining and right on point. Well done! 

Feb 26, 2012 07:05 AM #24
Andrea Bedard
Thompson Company, REALTORS® - Silver Spring, MD
M.A.; REALTOR® Silver Spring, MD and beyond

Thank you very much William, with thousands of posts on AR daily, it's quite the honor to be picked as one of Pat's fav's of the week!

Feb 26, 2012 11:49 AM #25
Kay Van Kampen
RE/MAX Broker, RE/MAX - Springfield, MO
Realtor®, Springfield Mo Real Estate

Great way to remember one home from another.  We sold one that was full of fleas....had to keep waiting on the inspection to get rid of the little critters.

Feb 26, 2012 12:05 PM #26
Jill Sackler
Charles Rutenberg Realty Inc. 516-575-7500 - Long Beach, NY
LI South Shore Real Estate - Broker Associate

I really like the way you categorized your list. It's easier to remember with a name. When I was searching for my own home, I came across one that I dubbed the Anne Frank house. For some strange reason, all the windows in the kitchen had been boarded up and you couldn't see out. It was not a vacant house and it scared me.

Mar 04, 2012 10:10 AM #27
Andrea Bedard
Thompson Company, REALTORS® - Silver Spring, MD
M.A.; REALTOR® Silver Spring, MD and beyond

Hi Kay: A flea house! Thankfully I have never shown one of those ... I think! That would be on the ugly list for sure. Your buyers were brave to take that on, it must have been a very special house otherwise!

Hi Jill: Thank you! It is a lot easier than a bunch of streetnames and numbers, especially if you are looking at 20, 30.. 50 homes. I've shown a number of homes that just didn't have a good vibe but I remember 2 in particular that just gave me the creeps.. we were so uncomfortable and couldn't wait to get out.

Mar 04, 2012 12:43 PM #28
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Andrea Bedard

M.A.; REALTOR® Silver Spring, MD and beyond
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