Selling a home is a joy all its own. From fixing up the yard to improve curb appeal to keeping the interior spotless so you’re ready at a moment’s notice for a showing. Selling your home can also be frustrating. If you have an older home, you might be dealing with more than keeping the lawn mowed. Older homes are notorious for musty odors that never seem to disappear. Here’s how to address old-home smells before you put your house on the market.
Determine the Smell and Source
The first thing you’ll want to do is figure out if you have any smells to begin with, and if you do, what’s causing them. Because homeowners have gotten used to the smells in their homes, they aren’t always aware of bad smells. If you’re not sure whether you have unpleasant odors, consider getting an outside opinion. Have a friend or family member visit and be frank about whether you have any odor problems.
If you do have an odor, you’ll want to find the source. The two most common smells that homeowners deal with are cigarette smoke and pets. These are the easiest smells to identify, but they aren’t always the easiest to get rid of.
Replace the Carpet
Image via Flickr by C Jill Reed
For odors that are entrenched in the house, replacing the carpet is a great way to get rid of most of the smell. That’s because carpet fibers hold on to things like cat urine and cigarette smoke, even when you get them professionally cleaned. If the cat urine smell is terrible, you’ll have to not only replace the carpet and padding underneath, but you’ll also have to seal the subfloor underneath.
Get Rid of Cigarette Smells
Getting rid of the stench of cigarettes can be more difficult because it will have seeped into more than the carpet. It gets into furniture, curtains, linens, walls, and more. The first thing you’ll want to do is to thoroughly wash all curtains, towels, sheets, and other fabrics. Next, wash all the surfaces of your home from ceilings to floors using diluted bleach.
It helps if you repaint all the walls and ceilings after you’re done sanitizing all the surfaces. Once you’ve done all this, it’s best to keep the cigarette smoke outside till after you move so the home stays odor-free.
If you have a pervasive smell you can’t get rid of, an ozone machine can do wonders. It cannot only get rid of the smell, but also get rid of any surface or airborne mold. However, this is an extreme solution, and you can only use it in unoccupied spaces. This is because it works by removing all oxygen from the room, so it damages anything living or once living (i.e., leather and suede items).
It might be a pain to get rid of any lingering odors, but you’ll be glad you did when you get better offers for your home.