*Home Staging in Edmonton, Alberta and surrounding Areas*


Putrid Properties do Not Sell!

Posted on August 23, 2012 at 3:05 AM

No matter how great a property is or how competitively priced it is, if it stinks, it will not sell....PERIOD!

This is an issue I tackle at least once a week with my clients. Bad smells in a property leave a bad taste in buyers' mouths (both figuratively and literally).

You may be asking, "But, wait, don't Professional Home Stagers just work with/deal with pretty surface things, and don't they just decorate homes? Why is she talking about the odor of  a property?"

The answer to that is a big fat, NO!

Home Stagers focus on all surface issues and underlying issues that could, in any way, affect the overall presentation of a property. We work with marketing a property in its best light. And because fould smells in a property have such a huge negative impact on buyers, we do run into this all the time.


Rather than discuss this VERY important issue to death, I thought I would share the exact email I had to send to a client yesterday.  


Hello ___________!


So the house was destaged yesterday, and I wanted to discuss a couple of things with you.


My ultimate goal as a home stager is to do everything in my power to create a successful sale for you.


So when staging and the right pricing don't work, I have to search for and find other reasons a property is not selling.


I mentioned this to you briefly in one of my last emails to you, but am unsure if you know the severity of the following issue. Your realtor, Marcia did convince me she had also spoken to you about it.


Way back on initial staging day, when we entered the house, we were all hit with a very strong fishy smell. Marcia then told us the story of you swapping fridges with your new home, and stated she had already discussed with you the fact that the smell from the fridge would be problematic.


Upon further investigation, we realized the fridge had no power going to it. For some reason, the outlet it was plugged in to had no power. So we ran the cord to another outlet and, voila, it started running. A fridge, in all of my experience, when sitting closed with no power, turns into a pool of harsh smell.


So we opened the door on it, and 3 of us literally were dry-heaving from the smell. We noticed there was baking soda in there, but it can only absorb so much before it is completely saturated and no longer effective.


By this time, this fridge smell had spread through and permeated the whole house. It has saturated your carpets and walls, and it only gets worse as the house is closed up.


I had not noticed any smell in the house at all on the evening of our first consultation, or I would have addressed this first and foremost. In the past when I have gone out to do a consultation, and there are fouls odors In a house, I always insist that this is remedied PRIOR to thinking about staging.


When a prospective buyer enters a property, no matter how it is furnished or how many great features/upgrades there are, if there is an unpleasant smell of any sort, they will likely not even entertain ever putting in an offer. The smell gives them the first, all important, impression that the whole house has to be filthy, and that it hasn't been maintained. A bad smell also tells a buyer there is work to do before they could even think about moving in.


And I have to tell you, for example purposes, now that we have removed the furnishings from the house, and the inventory is now sitting back in the warehouse, that smell has now permeated all of it. The smell has followed it back to the warehouse. This just goes to show how strong the smell is.


This is also, obviously, problematic, as we are now faced with having to do some pretty serious maintenance to the furniture before we can even dare to take it into the next property we stage.


So, again, great property, great price point, great staging, but that smell is killing any chance of a sale. The smell is the last detail, which, if not remedied, that is stopping buyers from making an offer.


When we entered the home yesterday to de-stage it, the smell was even stronger, but it is now heavily laced with the pungent smell of at least 5 differing heavy duty air fresheners.


When we entered yesterday, especially with the heat this summer, and the house being closed up, we could all literally taste the fish smell and the air fresheners. Very strong.


I knew, in my mind, immediately what the overall smell reminded me of, but wanted to hear it from the others. So I asked. My partner's first response was, "the inside of a camper porta-potty on a hot day". This alarmed me, as that was my initial impression as well.


I have collected all the air fresheners that I could find (they had all been placed out in plain view, and one could even be clearly seen from the front entry), and have placed them on the kitchen counter. I did this because these absolutely have to be removed from the house.


The air fresheners do not fix the issue. They simply add a new flavor layer to the already existing fish smell.


There are also many people with scent sensitivities out there who have allergic reactions to any scented product that is not 100% natural.


But most importantly, when a buyer enters the house, their first impression and automatic assumption is that the seller is trying to hide something, cover something up, and be deceitful with this product being marketed for sale.


So now that the staging is removed from the house, whether you decide to keep it on the market or rent it out, I have a couple of strong recommendations for you if you would like to see results.


First thing I strongly suggest is that you replace the fridge. The smell that has developed in there is now permanent.


But doing that alone will not solve the problem.


You will absolutely have to have all carpets professionally steam-cleaned.


I also suggest finding and renting a large fresh air exchanger unit and running it for at least 24 hours. This should be done after the carpets are cleaned.


The absolute first thing that should be done is that all air fresheners need to be removed from the house.


I apologize if any of the above sounds harsh at all. I just do sincerely care about your success here.


Thank you for reading this email in its entirety, and I wish you the best!

Take good care!



Rhonda Wilson CSP™

Owner- Revealing Assets

Home Staging Services




Categories: Powerful Over-looked Home Staging Techniques, Real Estate Tips from an Edmonton Home Stager