Sellers, Don’t Have Stinky Houses

Sellers – try to avoid pungent odors (unless you’ve baked chocolate chip cookies – I love cookies) – smells matter.

Hey, Jim Duncan with Nest Realty and here.

I’ve been showing a lot of houses in Charlottesville recently and one thing I’ve noticed is that a lot of houses stink. I don’t mean their condition or the quality of construction, I mean their houses stink. The “dog” house, the “smoke” house, the “moldy” house, the “Renuzit air freshener in every room” house.

Recently the California Scents, the cherry coronado house. It was God awful and that’s not the impression that sellers should want buyers to take away.

When I’m working with buyers we tend to name houses; the cold house, the dark house, the stinky house. It’s not something you want. So you know what? Think about this: you can’t fake clean. It just can’t be done. So if you’re going to put your house on the market, clean it.

Get rid of the dog if you can. Stop smoking for goodness sakes. You probably could afford to stay in the house if you quit smoking. Think about what the buyers’ impression is going to be.

When they’re looking at 15 houses, how are they going to name your house? Do you want it to be the clean house with lots of light or do you want it to be the stinky house with the dog in the basement? Just a thought. You’ve got to be competitive in this market.

Give me a call or an e-mail: (434) 242-7140 or or instant message – JimDuncanCville.

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  2. Lonnie July 9, 2009 at 14:59

    I’ve probably got the best example ever… When we were looking for a house we went to one that had a reasonably nice yard with a stream out back. Unfortunately, not only did the house smell of smoke, but the owner was burning trash outside at the time of our visit. That’s not all… the yard decorations included a recently skinned dear hanging by it’s hind legs!

  3. Kate White July 9, 2009 at 21:52

    YOU are SO FUNNY. I did not watch the video but I could imagine you saying every word. Actually, there are smells that might help sell a house. think of that! Cinnamon buns, pumpkin pie, lemon just to name a few.

  4. Doug Francis July 10, 2009 at 07:39

    When it is a listing of mine then I’m a fanatic about smells, and I have walked out of homes with buyer clients laughing because we all feel like rushing home to take showers and wash our clothes… now that’s stinky.

    But here is an important sales tip, don’t let your negative impression spoil a potential sale because your clients may not think the smell is so catastrophic. In the past month, some clients settled on a smoker’s home and another client will settle on another smoker’s home. Their feelings were that with some deep cleaning, painting and new carpets that they could get a handle on the issue.

  5. Jim Duncan July 11, 2009 at 07:26

    Doug –

    Absolutely. Stinky houses, like those “marketed” with only five pictures or less, present opportunities for buyers.

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  8. Sean Carpenter September 3, 2009 at 17:30


    Great post (and the one that sent me here). One of our manager’s here in Ohio likes to say “For every ugly little house, there is an ugly little couple.”

    1. Jim Duncan September 4, 2009 at 07:06

      Thanks, Sean. It’s true – my former broker used his own version of that – “there’s a dog for every dog house” 🙂 . Both of which are applicable.

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