Claudia Jacobs – House Odors May Hinder Selling - Daily Hudson Valley News

Claudia Jacobs – House Odors May Hinder Selling

Jun 19th, 2012 | By | Category: Lifestyle

If you can smell it you can’t sell it

The nose knows. I’m talking about house odors. Stinky house syndrome is a tough topic because the people that live in the house are so used to the smell that they don’t realize there is a problem. Try to sell that stinky house in this competitive market is a deal breaker. There is a staging saying, “If you can smell it you can’t sell it”.

Funky food smells, pets, cigarette smoke, any smoke are all offensive. Many smokers don’t even care for the scent. The truth is that cigarette smoke permeates our furniture, carpets, walls, windows, every nook and cranny.

Recently a Realtor contacted me about a client selling her home whose house possesses a horrendous animal odor. The seller removed the carpeting, painted the wood sub-flooring but the smell knocks you over when you go in there. It is evident that the house is clean, but the odors seem trapped in certain rooms.

My thought was that the pet odor was still in the soft furnishings or her home: upholstered furniture, drapes, and wherever the pets sleep whether it is a pet bed or the homeowner’s bed. After asking a few questions I found out several dogs still live in the home.

The 4 principles to odor control:

1. Remove source.

2. Clean contaminated area (source)

3. Penetration of odor counteracting into all surfaces and spaces

4. Sealing


Professional carpet cleaning, when done right, adds tremendous value to a home. Home restoration services can tackle tough jobs.


People get acclimated to their house odor. Surfaces adsorb and hold odors because they are porous. Some odors may be remedied by just one technique and others may require multiple procedures.

An honest realtor or stager will be able to point out the obvious. They have a fresh nose. Or call a friend. The best scent is no scent at all. What has no scent? Clean. That’s right; a clean house does not have a scent. Masking an offensive smell is not the answer. By masking it with another scent, you have created a more offensive scent.

The realty is that many people have allergies. Your favorite scent can be repulsive to another person. I am a big fan of unscented products, especially candles.  Anything with a floral note sets my sinuses off. The best strategy when selling a house: make it look, feel and smell clean.


Have a decorating question? Send it to Claudia.

Claudia Jacobs DesignsClaudia Jacobs is a decorator, professional stager, columnist, mom, friend & not in that order. Living life with joy & owner of Claudia Jacobs Designs in Goshen, NY. Voted 2011 RESA Professional Stager of the Year in the Northeast. Claudia can be seen each Tuesday on Hudson Valley Insider. Visit or call 845-294-8993. Send questions and photos to Follow her on Facebook & Twitter.


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