Homes that haven’t been lived in for a while can develop a musty, stale odor that home buyers can find unpleasant. While this may not stop a home from selling, unpleasant odors can reduce the sale price or make the home harder to sell. Fortunately, there are many ways to air out a house and make it smell more appealing to home buyers.
Carpeting and upholstery can absorb odors over time, so, while you can deep clean and shampoo your carpeting, removing carpeting in the home can quickly cut back on odors. Some homes will have hardwood floor boards under the carpet, which makes removing the carpet a relatively easy task. In homes where the carpet covers a sub-floor, new carpeting or flooring must be installed.
Repaint the Walls
Like carpeting, walls can absorb odors as well. To block the smells, paint the walls with a coat of odor-blocking primer, then paint over the primer with two coats of fresh paint.
Clean from Top to Bottom
Deep cleaning the walls, floors, cabinets, counters and closets of the home can help remove smells. When appropriate, use bleach-based products to scour surfaces and remove grease. Focus on parts of the house where odors may be strongest, like around the fireplace, in the kitchen, basement and bathroom.
Open the Windows and Doors
Opening the windows and doors in the home can promote good air flow, which can remove odors. Open all doors, including doors to closets and other parts of the house. While the home is airing out, run the home’s HVAC system to get air moving through the vents.
Run the Dehumidifier
Humidity can lead to mold growth, and mold can cause musty odors in the home. Running a dehumidifier on a regular basis can help reduce the moisture in the air, which may help reduce presence of mold and mildew in the home.
Pour Water Down the Drains
The curved part of a drain, called the P trap, contains water that forms an airtight seal between the home and the sewer. This water is constantly refreshed as drains get used. In a house that hasn’t been lived in for a long time, water may evaporate out of the P traps, thus allowing sewer gas to escape into the room. Pour water down all drains and flush all toilets to restore water to the P traps.
Work with a Professional
If you’re selling a currently vacant home, work with a staging professional and a real estate agent to air out your house and prepare it for sale. These professionals can help you eliminate odors and take other steps to make your home more attractive for home buyers.