Many years ago when I was working is Sales Promotion Marketing, I had a boss that would often say in a staff meeting: "It is difficult to tell the client that their pet cat is really a skunk." Of course what he meant was that telling the client any kind of negative feedback about their brand was not going to be easy--but it may have to be done. After all that is what we were hired to do.
Fast forward twenty years later and I find myself in a new industry but still working with clients. However, now the brand I am hired to market is their home. And guess what? I still have days that I have to tell them that their pet cat is really a skunk. Although this time the expression may be a bit more literal.
Pet odors, cooking odors, stale smoke and damp/mold odors are some of the most offensive to buyers. Just like furniture staging, a neutral smelling home is critical as part of the "first impression" and should be addressed before bringing the home to the marketplace. Yes, giving the seller this smelly bad news may startle them. The likelihood is that they don't smell a thing. But remember, you have to be the nose of reason! Be polite but direct and factually state that it would be in their best interest to eliminate it sooner rather than later. Most importantly, offer suggestions on how this can be addressed. Consider some of the following tactics:
- Professionally clean carpets, upholstry and draperies
- Wash/ all bedding including pet beds/crates
- For severe smoke odors consider repainting --let the pprofessionals advise if an Ionic paint additive should be used as well.
- Run dehumidifier(s) in basements, crawl spaces and damp areas with poor ventilation
- Wash and degrease kitchen cabinets and appliances
- Clean and empty liter boxes frequently
- Smoking should be limited to outside the home and away from opened/screened windows/sliders
Lastly, I am not suggesting to the seller that Fluffy needs to live at Aunt Ethel's for the next few weeks. However, if they suggest that as an option, repeat after me: That's a great idea!
Seldom in my 19 years of selling real estate have I worked with a buyer willing to loop back to a property that they originally ruled-out after their first visit. Don't let offensive odors be that lingering dark cloud hovering over an otherwise lovely home.