Don’t let home suffer humiliation of bad breath

If prospective buyers entering your home end up looking like this, you’ll have to admit you’ve got a problem. (Flickr photo by db2r)

Do you know whether your home smells?

Homeowners sometimes are unaware how offensive to others can be the pungency of Fluffy’s litter box.

In co-operatives, condominiums and rental buildings, the odors of cabbage or ethnic spices assaulting hallways and insinuating themselves through vents not only may irritate neighbors but also drive away prospective buyers as surely as Fluffy’s transgressions.

The mere sautéing of garlic, which is bound to linger in a cook’s apartment, easily penetrates public spaces and the disapproving nasal passages of anyone who traverses them.  And never mind what some perceive as the stench of tobacco smoke, especially from pipes and cigars, as a powerful disincentive to making an offer.

As for marijuana, I imagine approval or disgust may vary considerably according to the individual.

Well, Febreeze isn’t always the best, or even a good, answer.  Nor are other fragrances — those from room deodorizers, candles or incense — a great solution to smells in a dwelling.

The way to approach odors is to be specific, and taking action could not be more important to a seller’s success.

For cooking odors that cling, scrub every kitchen surface.  Repainting should not be out of the question.

For a pet who misses appropriate receptacles (as my late Sophie kept doing), you may need thorough cleaning, use of products that are pet-specific, vacuuming and washing.  If necessary, as it was when I sold my house in Washington (at a handsome price), the only recourse was to remove carpeting and replace part of the hardwood flooring.

Tobacco smoke is another bane of those homeowners who adhere to life-threatening habits.  Having professionals wash all the walls, windows and floors may itself not be enough.  Wholesale repainting, recarpeting or refinishing may be indicated.

As for heaps of dirty laundry crammed into closets and the unmistakable reminders of pan-roasted salmon, think!

The key is not to trust just your nose, which probably has become numb to the smells of your own home.  Ask a trusted friend to have a whiff.

If the friend is a type who is close and caring enough to whisper to you about your own breath, that’s the person who could let you know that your house has bad breath as well.

Tomorrow: Misconceptions

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Malcolm Carter
Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker
Charles Rutenberg Realty
127 E. 56th Street
New York, NY 10022

M: 347-886-0248
F: 347-438-3201
Web site

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