It’s right under your nose, and every Lethbridge real estate agent knows it: your house smells. It might smell like a bed of roses. Or it might smell like cookies in the oven. But what if it smells of something less pleasant? From cigarettes to cat litter to wet laundry and more, nothing turns up a buyer’s nose faster than a smelly house. It’s even worse if the smell is hard to identify.
According to Science of Us, we actually become desensitized to smells in our environment, in as quickly as two breaths. Conversely, we are extremely sensitive to newly detected odours:
Scientists aren’t exactly sure why our noses adapt to smells, but it seems to be because it helps us to very quickly detect even the subtlest change in the scent of our environment. For our ancestors, this function might’ve helped them notice a change in smell in some animal they’d killed, signifying that the corpse was rotting and not safe to eat, Dalton explained. “Whatever is new in your environment, that huge signal rises above the rest,” she said.
Why Can’t You Smell Your Own Home?, Science of Us
So, when marketing your home for sale, be scent sensitive. Think about the odours that you may have become used to but others are likely to notice. Even odours you think are pleasant, like the strong scent given off by some house plants, may not be pleasing to everyone.
An odour can easily distract a buyer from appreciating the good qualities of your property. Pay particular attention to garbage bins (which can smell even when empty), pets, kitty litter (even when fresh and unused), the kitchen (especially after cooking), perfumes, and closets.
The smell of cigarette smoke is particularly unpleasant to many people. Its odour can linger
even on an outside deck or patio. I’ve personally seen buyers walk only a few feet into a home, note the smell of smoke, and walk right out of the house again. They refused to even consider a property that smelled like smoke.
Ask your REALTOR® to be brutally honest with you about odours in your home. Try to identify the source and remedy the problem. Let fresh air in regularly. And ask for honest feedback after showings. We all may be a little nose blind, but it doesn’t have to cost you a sale!