This isn't the most fun topic to address, it's a little stinky. Okay really I had to say that! :) But seriously, when you are selling your home you need to address any odors that may be present.
This is a tough one because many of us don't smell an odor in our own home. Or we smell it when we first walk in the door but it seems to goes away after a few minutes so we forget about it. If you are selling your home you need to bring in an independent person that will be brutally honest with you. A close friend that will be truthful or better yet a professional Home Stager that will not only kindly address the situation but be able to offer some advice.
In my experience there seems to be 3 most common types of odors:
1) Food Odors
These are easy to address and usually a quick fix. If you enjoy cooking and using a lot of spices a home can have a lingering smell for days. Especially if you are cooking fish or seafood of any kind. Salmon may be one of the worst.
If these are occasional things that you cook, getting rid of the odor will probably be as simple as airing out the house and refraining from cooking these items while your house is for sale. Grilling outdoors is a perfect solution if you can.
If you have cooked with strong spices for years it is going to be tougher to get rid of the smell so skip to #3 below for suggestions.
2) Pet Odors
These can be a bit trickier than food odors in that usually you can't get rid of the pet while you are selling your home, not that you would want to anyway! Doggy odors can linger in the house so carpets may need to be shampooed, new doggy beds purchased etc. Old toys may need to by thrown or banished to the garage in the short term. A more constant grooming of your pet may be needed as well while your home is for sale.
I don't want to give a bad rap just to pup as hamsters, ferrets and any dirty cages or litter boxes fall into this category as well.
3) Musty Odors or Smoke Odors
These are some of the toughest smells to get rid of and usually the ones that will really turn a buyer off as they know it is a tough smell and they may be highly sensitive to smoke. Usually with these odors they have been around for a while and have permeated into carpet, drapes, furniture, woodwork, drywall and even the duct work.
Of course first any smoking in the house needs to stop and if a musty smell is from antiques in the home those have to be removed. If the musty odor is from previous water damage and continued humidity that has to be addressed first and hopefully the problem has been fixed.
After that a certified odor removal company may need to be brought in. They will have the best recommendations for you which may include large machines placed in your home for a period of time, cleaning carpets, drapes and furniture, or it more probably will mean new carpet, new paint, a treatment on woodwork, duct work cleaned and even new furniture. Many times all of the above unfortunately.
Just know odors are a tough one for buyers to get past and the sooner you address them the better. I will say good luck and be patient.