real estate

10 surefire ways to scare off homebuyers

Odors from food, pets and smoking
Odors from food, pets and smoking © Nomad_Soul/

Odors from food, pets and smoking

Don't sell a stinky house. Buyers don't like to detect by smell what your favorite foods are and the types of pets you have.

"Odors are a big one, especially kitchen odors," Dana says. "I advise my clients not to cook fried food, fish or greasy food while the house is on the market."

Some pet owners mistakenly believe pet smells to which they've become accustomed help make their residence homey. Wrong.

Dana advises her clients to remove all traces of pets, not just pet odors. It's important to get rid of pet paraphernalia and have a "pet plan" to make sure the animals are not around when the house is shown.

"A lot of times, people will leave pet items out -- dog dishes, cat litter boxes, etc.," Dana says. "That immediately turns off a buyer because they wonder, 'What has that animal done in the house?' Also, some people really don't like dogs. The minute they walk in and see this big, old dog bowl, they immediately won't like the house."

The same rules hold true for smokers: Remove all ashtrays, clean all curtains and upholstery, and consider smoking outdoors while your house is on the market.

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