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                      iSucceed Press Release
The Nose Knows
THE NOSE KNOWS

 

Aliso Viejo, CA – October 11, 2008 You know I’ve always been told that there are far fewer buyers looking around during the fall and winter than in the spring and summer.  It got me to thinking if that’s true then how much more important those buyers are.  Yes, I realize that was a rather simplistic thought but it really means that you have to pull out all the stops to make sure your listing is on the top of their short list.

 

Think about it.  In the spring you have all the flowers beginning to bloom and the foliage is turning green everywhere.  The lawn chairs are out on the patio and the smell of freshly mown grass fills the air.  Inside there is the aroma of a fresh vase of flowers and a bowl of fresh fruit sits on the table with a little note …Please Help Yourself.   

 

Let’s face it – coming up to that same house in the fall and winter is a whole other ballgame.  Bare trees, snow, rain, mud, wind … well we’ve all been there.  But on the other hand it’s a great time to show off the house’s “home”.

 

Let the weather get a little nasty out and we all want to search out a nice warm spot somewhere.  That really gives us an opportunity to focus on the interior of our listing.  Without the distractions of all the outside features we can get the prospective buyers to really focus on interior.  And rather than being a limiting factor, the time of year can be a real plus because there are so many things that you can do to display that “homey feeling” that invites the buyers to stick around.  On the other hand there is one thing that can blow that great opportunity.

 

I was talking with Andy Capelluto, creator of The Power of Staging and author of The Accredited Home-Staging Specialist course, and I asked her about just how big a role do odors play in staging a home.  I wasn’t referring to those odors that emanate from the un-emptied trash basket or the kitty litter.  I was asking about those smells that seem so normal to the owners but are real head turners to outsiders.

 

As you would expect, her first response was to make the home “smell neutral.”  The elimination of all odors would completely solve the problem but attaining that goal outside of creating a sterile environment is impossible.  What Andy felt the biggest mistake people make is a failure to remove the subtle odors that are a part of the home and simply try and cover them up with every sort of fragrance known to man.  The problem being that to cover them up most folks compound the problem by using something too strong.  At the end of the day you have undoubtedly used an odor that someone finds overpowering and the first thing they want to know is “what is it covering up.”  Here is what Andy suggested.

 

First and foremost you need to focus on those hidden odors that the seller is so used to that they never smell them.  The most obvious ones are those generated by smokers and the seller’s diet.  For smoking odor she recommends the use of “green products” wherever possible as they don’t contain the chemicals that can make the result worse than the cause.  I have even found a couple I like that work quite well - Approach Biological Odor Eliminator and Pure Air Odor Eliminator – but there are many on the market and trial and error is really the only way to find out what works for you.

 

One solution she likes is companies like Stanley Steamer as their approach is good old fashioned soap and water as opposed to some of the chemical based treatments.  Along this line its critical to not only think of the upholstery but all those other areas that absorb smoke like curtains and walls. For houses with heavy smokers you will have to treat the walls with at least some elbow grease.  You might want to try mixing one gallon of warm water, one half cup of ammonia, one quarter cup of vinegar and one quarter cup of washing soda.  And this is going to take a lot of work as it’s not only the walls, it’s on the ceilings.  Or, you can bring in an outside contractor that specializes in removing the odor. But be ware – in some homes it’s so bad that it has penetrated the sheet rock and just washing an painting may not get the job done.  These are best left to the professionals and the seller’s budget.

 

Now the other place that causes problems is the kitchen. But here Andy isn’t referring to setting out fresh baked cookies or some potent potpourri.  She is referring to the lifestyle of the homeowners.  Many times the seasonings and oils that folks use, while totally normal to the homeowners, are repulsive to visitors.  Often these traces take the form of the oils that were used to prepare some foods or the aromas that hang around in the cupboards and the spices that are stored there.  So, when staging a kitchen with strong aromas you may have to consider what spices may be stored in open containers in the cupboards, what oils may be lingering in the spaces under the cooking layer of the stove and where oils may also have worked their way into the grout over time.

 

The only way to tackle these is with deep cleaning and sometimes the removal of the ingredients from the cupboards.  Using air fresheners like Glade plug-ins are just as ineffective here as they are with smoking odors.  But even after deep cleaning you may still need to use something and Andy suggests going neutral like natural air fresheners with citrus essential oils. 

 

Suffice it to say that when the weather is nasty outside and one of those “limited number of buyers” comes calling, you can’t afford to lose them.  And don’t forget that it all does start with their first look at the exterior of the home.  So take some time and make that entrance inviting and in keeping with the season of the year.  Then once they are inside let “freshness” rule … don’t forget to leave the windows open a crack even if you have to turn the heat up a bit.  It will be worth the extra electric bill.

 

If you would like to get all of Andy’s tips you can do so by taking the Accredited Home-Staging Specialist (AHS) course by visiting their website … Click Here

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