When visitors enter a household, they know

Sometimes you’re not conscious of it, while other times it can overwhelm you.  But when you enter someone else’s home, you are immediately affected by its characteristic smell.

Do the owners have poor hygiene?  Do they own a cat or a badly behaved dog? Do they smoke. . . anything?  Is there an air of mustiness?  Do they wear cheap perfume?  I doubt that I have to go on since you undoubtedly know what I mean.

In my real estate career, I recall numerous times when a smell turned off a buyer, whether the buyer realized it or not.  If a home reminds someone of terminally ill kin, you can imagine how that prospect might well flee.  Or ethnic cooking can discourage a buyer who is not a racist but who happens to hate, say, curried food.  The lingering smell of grilled hotdogs would not please a vegetarian.

One broker has written how she and her clients used to classify smells in categories under the umbrella of  “funk.”  There were “paint funk,” the quasi-toxic but cleanliness-implying smell of freshly painted walls; “cat pee funk;” “cigarette funk;” and “bio funk,” the description of which I will spare you. Continue reading