As you live in your home, you get nose-blind to odors that can hit your buyers on the honker harder than a right cross. We're not talking about forgetting to change the cat box. Some smells are so pervasive that they could signal real trouble to a buyer. And that means no sale for you.
Here are five smells that could turn your home into a stinker.
Stuffiness. To make our homes more energy-efficient, we've caulked, blown insulation, weather-stripped and sealed our way to greener utility bills. But for every action, there's a reaction. The result of making your home airtight is that you lock all odors in.
Homes are more comfortable when they breathe. Open a window and reintroduce yourself to the aromatic delights of fresh-mown grass and flowers and the light undulating touch of natural breezes.
Dusty, musty odors linger in rooms that aren't used much or aren't updated like old tile bathrooms. Sniff out culprits like guest bedspreads, long curtains that are rarely opened, and old carpets that could use a good cleaning.
Pets. Poop and pee are part of the deal when you have pets. From goldfish to iguanas, you have to deal with feeding and cleaning up after pets. When you're selling your home, you have to really keep on top of it.
And if you have pets with fur, you have to groom them. Dogs need baths, and most need brushing. If you let them get on the furniture, they slobber on their toys, scratch themselves, shed piles of fur, and so on. Febreeze is one idea, but you might have to do a thorough steam cleaning of all fabric surfaces in your home.
Food, smoke and grease odors. If you have a preference for stinky foods like cabbage and fish, you may need to go on a different diet while you're marketing your home. And if you cook a lot, it's a good idea to clean your oven, burners, and any other equipment that may have burned on food or spills.
Dampness, mold and mildew. Over the years, pipes leak, tubs overflow, and gutters clog. If you can smell moisture, it won't be long before you smell rot. Damp spaces can grow mold anywhere that contains cellulose, poor light, and little to no air circulation. So if your bathroom always smells like a wet, dirty dog and you don't have a dog, you've probably got a leak or mold in the walls or under the floor.
Your raging hormones. We saved the best for last because who doesn't like to talk about sex? Like all animals, humans have secretions that make them attractive to sex partners, but those same aromas can be offensive if they're too strong. The biggest trouble spots are bathrooms, bedrooms and laundry rooms.
As a seller, you may have to lay down the law for household members who let their bedrooms smell like locker rooms or who use so many hair and body products their rooms smell like a 900 call center.
You may also have do a little more laundry than you're used to. Wash towels frequently, especially the love towel. Change bed linens at least once a week. Don't leave dirty gym clothes in the bag or on top of the washing machine. Bag up feminine disposables, baby diapers, and adult diapers and get them out of the house as fast as possible.
You could really get OCD with this and wash or throw out dirty hair and make-up brushes. A good rule of thumb is -- if you can't remember when you washed it last, wash it now.