Bad Odors: A Homebuyer’s Biggest Pet Peeve

House with Bad OdorSelling a home is a tricky business. That is why most people choose to have a real estate agent by their side. But, if you’re trying to sell your home without an agent, you need extra effort to make the property presentable. Many things can be done when it comes to staging a home. But, here’s the deal: you can do whatever you want, but you won’t be selling any time soon if your home reeks of specific odors.

Homebuyers Are “Following Their Noses”

Dr. Avery Gilbert is a psychologist which specializes in human responses to scents. In his research, he found that tobacco and pet urine are two of the scents that’ll leave a bad impression every time. These odors are the most difficult ones to cover up. When sniffed, homebuyers are highly likely to move on to another home. The same thing goes for pastry smells (scents of biscuits or brownies).

Dr. Gilbert says a clean, fresh floral scent is your best bet, or at least any natural scent. A highly pleasant smell makes people’s moods a lot better upon exposure. Bad smells do the exact opposite; most of the time, it wouldn’t even matter if the property is a higher-end one.

The General Public’s Perspective

Experienced property finder Sophia Mose-van Woensel believes that bad smells trigger the strongest negative reaction in buyers. People might try to concentrate on the home’s overall state or its layout, but pungent smells that linger can be very distracting.

A survey conducted in the U.K. sheds further light on the matter. Smoking and other bad smells are the biggest turnoffs for 55 percent of potential home owners. Other reasons like clutter and bad neighbors are miles behind (22 and 11 percent). It’s easy to understand why people would think this way: what’s a fancy-looking home if it reeks of everything that’s revolting to the nose?

New York-based home stylist and Complete Idiot’s Guide To Staging Your Home To Sell author Julie Dana puts a considerable emphasis on kitchen odors. Dana always advises her clients to not fry food like fish, as well as prepare greasy food while the house is on the market.