Tony Whiteside, GRI, MRP, e-PRO (VanderMorgan Realty)

Spam prevention
Annette Lawrence , Palm Harbor, FL 727-420-4041
ReMax Realtec Group - Palm Harbor, FL
Making FLORIDA Real Estate EZ

I use @Scott's approach by making inquiry.

Hopefully I don't have to ask. "Do you keep cattle in that closed bedroom?"

'Why do you ask?" they respond.

"The fragrances present are not compatible with the ambiance of a house at the value you want."

"What? You smell something?" responds the nose blind home owner.

"Yes I do. To be honest with you, these are not tears of joy."

Rarely does the owner FIX oder issues even when they can be led out of the house on a leash. 

One story of great success involved odor that drafted into the house from the attached garage where all the 'chemicals' were stashed. Moved the chemicals to the outside shed. value went up $15,000.

Owner actually said later..."That was what was making my eyes water. I blamed the oak pollen from the back yard tree!"  I was afraid they were going to close with, "Now we don't need to move."

Mar 03, 2016 01:54 AM
Susan Haughton
Long and Foster REALTORS (703) 470-4545 - Alexandria, VA
Susan & Mindy Team...Honesty. Integrity. Results.

I would not wait and let them hear it as feedback after it has gone on the market, because it needs to be dealt with long before it goes on the market. I also consider it my duty to them to be truthful, although as tactfully as possible.  

Mar 03, 2016 04:43 AM
Carol Williams
Although I'm retired, I love sharing my knowledge and learning from other real estate industry professionals. - Wenatchee, WA
Retired Agent / Broker / Property Manager

You've received some good answers here... and I would suggest going in with a solution, not just a statement.  There are some good air deodorizers units on the market.  Best to get rid of the odor than mask it.

Mar 03, 2016 02:57 AM
Praful Thakkar
LAER Realty Partners - Andover, MA
Andover, MA: Andover Luxury Homes For Sale

Tony Whiteside you can tell your client that it's those potential buyers who feel that way!

The way the home should 'smell' is what THEY want - and not what the sellers have.

Mar 03, 2016 03:19 PM
Michael Setunsky
Woodbridge, VA
Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA

Tony Whiteside Be honest with the seller. If you aren't a buyer will.

Mar 03, 2016 08:22 AM
Harry Norman, REALTORS® - Atlanta, GA
Associate Broker

I would include that information when providing feedback from showings. 

Mar 03, 2016 07:31 AM
Hella M. Rothwell, Broker/Realtor®
Carmel by the Sea, CA
Rothwell Realty Inc. CA#01968433 Carmel-by-the-Sea

Just be upfront with your clients. It's better to get the smell and other problems resolved rather than driving buyers away.

Mar 03, 2016 07:19 AM
Certified Mobile Notary Signing Agent - Smith Mountain Lake, VA
Highest Ranked Certified Mobile Notary in Virginia

I guess the ol' clothespin on the nostrils is out so my best answer would be, . . . . . delicately.

Mar 03, 2016 04:54 AM
Candice A. Donofrio
Next Wave RE Investments LLC Bullhead City AZ Commercial RE Broker - Fort Mohave, AZ
928-201-4BHC (4242) call/text

This Q has been posed before and answered by professionals, and all I can say now is I need an aspirin. LOL!
There is a saying among investors: "If the house smells, it smells like MONEY."

Translation: No one's gonna pay your asking -  and you'll end up letting us steal it.
This is one of the most important things a homeseller who wants a closing and a decent net needs to know.

Mar 03, 2016 03:00 AM
Jill Murty, Realtor - Orange County, CA
Movoto - Laguna Niguel, CA

Explain that there are smells that are normal and natural to the people living in the property, but they are not neutral to newcomers to the property.

You have to put your business hat on when you sell a property and that's what you should tell the sellers.

Mar 03, 2016 01:44 AM
Tony and Suzanne Marriott, Associate Brokers
Serving the Greater Phoenix and Scottsdale Metropolitan Area - Scottsdale, AZ
Haven Express @ Keller Williams Arizona Realty

Pinch your nose firmly, and collapse on the floor gasping for air??!! 

Mar 03, 2016 10:52 PM
Debbie Reynolds, C21 Platinum Properties
Platinum Properties- (931)771-9070 - Clarksville, TN
The Dedicated Clarksville TN Realtor-(931)320-6730

I use as much tact as I can muster but in the end some people don't get it and I have to use stronger words like your house has a pet odor or cigarette odor, and it will offend buyers and hurt the sale of your home, etc. 

Mar 03, 2016 09:06 AM
William Feela
Realtor, Whispering Pines Realty 651-674-5999 No.

I come right out and tell them nicely

Mar 03, 2016 07:18 AM
Noah Seidenberg
Coldwell Banker - Evanston, IL
Chicagoland and Suburbs (800) 858-7917

I would just be honest.

Mar 03, 2016 07:08 AM
Jack Lewitz
Exit Strategy Realty - Evanston, IL

Tony I have no sense of smell.. and probably am lucky that I cannot smell anything.. but I can understand that certain smells are offensive to some people.

Mar 03, 2016 04:37 AM
Gabe Sanders
Real Estate of Florida specializing in Martin County Residential Homes, Condos and Land Sales - Stuart, FL
Stuart Florida Real Estate

One good way is to report it as feedback from showings.

Mar 03, 2016 04:24 AM
Barbara Todaro
RE/MAX Executive Realty - Retired - Franklin, MA
Previously Affiliated with The Todaro Team

Mr. & Mrs. Seller, feedback has said that your home has a foul odor....can we do something about this and get the house sold ...

Mar 03, 2016 04:04 AM
Marco Giancola
Beachfront Realty - Miami Beach, FL
Realtor (305)608-1922, Miami Beach Florida

After previewing a home if there are bad smells I ask "do you have cats?" If they say yes I just say "I thought so". They usually get the message. If not press on!

Mar 03, 2016 03:31 AM
Raymond E. Camp
Ontario, NY
Licensed Real Estate Salesperson Greater Rochester

Sometimes it pays to be to the point and blunt.

What is that aroma I smell?

Mar 03, 2016 01:39 AM
Roy Kelley
Realty Group Referrals - Gaithersburg, MD

This is a good topic for discussion after they have signed the listing agreement and you are telling then what needs to be done.

Mar 03, 2016 09:57 PM
Scott Godzyk
Godzyk Real Estate Services - Manchester, NH
One of the Manchester NH's area Leading Agents

You have to know how your seller will react to know what type of words to use, you have to be honest, but soft and include a solution not just state their is a problem. Many times it is the buyer comments that saw the home that state it over and over that get the point across.

Mar 03, 2016 09:44 PM
Brenda J. Andrew
Professional Realtor in Corpus Christi, TX

There is not really an easy way to tell them, but you just have to be honest and let them know.  Otherwise, they will be looking at you and blaming you for their house not selling.  I usually give them a list of everything they can do to get their home sold quickly-this would be one of the items on the list.

Mar 03, 2016 09:17 PM
Joe Petrowsky
Mortgage Consultant, Right Trac Financial Group, Inc. NMLS # 2709 - Manchester, CT
Your Mortgage Consultant for Life

Good morning Tony. Never an easy answer, but the only way I know to handle situations like this is to be complete forthright, but it is not what you say, it is how you say what you say.

Mar 03, 2016 07:04 PM
Darin Henderson
Holland Realty Services - Kirksville, MO
Guiding You Home

I think the direct and tactful approach is best.  "excuse me, but I noticed an smell / odor as I walked in.....

Mar 03, 2016 12:40 PM
Fred Griffin Florida Real Estate
Fred Griffin Real Estate - Tallahassee, FL
Licensed Florida Real Estate Broker

     I listed a vacant townhouse recently.  It smells like cigarettes.  The owner and I stood in the kitchen discussing the Listing Agreement, and he took out a pack of cigarettes, and lit one!  

    It was time for a "Come to Jesus meeting".  He grumbled, but he agreed to step out into the back yard to finish the smoke.

Mar 03, 2016 12:31 PM
Larry Johnston
Broker, Friends & Neighbors Real Estate and Elkhart County Subdivisions, LLC - Elkhart, IN
Broker,Friends & Neighbors Real Estate, Elkhart,IN

Just tell them they need to do something about the (Smoke,pet,whatever) oder in their home.  The Buyers will notice it.

Mar 03, 2016 12:05 PM
Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
New Hampshire Home Stager

If there's a home staging consult prior to listing the issue will be dealt with.  Must be direct and honest. Source of smell removed not covered up.

Mar 03, 2016 11:47 AM
Carol Wilson
Your $imple Home - Toronto, ON

In my experience, when cats are involved, you have to wash the walls at least 3 feet high.  They spray their territory, so changing the carpets won't get the whole problem.  Washing is effective and easily done, if you don't have wallpaper.  

Mar 03, 2016 11:33 AM
Lise Howe
Keller Williams Capital Properties - Washington, DC
Assoc. Broker in DC, MD, VA and attorney in DC

I think you got some great answers here!

Mar 03, 2016 11:18 AM
Allie Angeloni
Long Realty - Oro Valley, AZ

I was just in this type of situation on Wednesday Tony Whiteside - Previewed a home that smelled.  I didn't know if it was animal urine or a food smell - HA!  Other realtors told me it was a food smell . . .  for that reason I did not give it 'high marks' in the Odor Category.  So, the realtor who represens the Seller would be the one to 'share' Home Preview Comments to the Seller.  Now, it sounds like this house has 'odor' year-round, or is this a combination of different homes?  Anyhow, I would ask them about it, because if they live in it daily, they are probably no longer 'smelling' any odor.  Hopefully, no critters passed away somewhere . . .

Mar 03, 2016 09:54 AM
Sandy Padula and Norm Padula, JD, GRI
HomeSmart Realty West - Carlsbad, CA
Presence, Persistence & Perseverance

"Your home smells"

Mar 03, 2016 06:21 AM
Michael Thacker - Re/Max Real Estate Center - Louisville
Re/Max Real Estate Center - The Thacker Group - Louisville, KY
Your best friend who just happens to be a Realtor

Clothespin on the nose? 

Mar 03, 2016 05:45 AM
Inna Ivchenko
Barcode Properties - Encino, CA
Realtor® • GRI • HAFA • PSC Calabasas CA

Surprisingly, many homeowners do not feel the odor of their houses. I know exactly what you mean, just be patient and delicately tell them ''the news''. I hope, it is not that bad...:) 

Mar 03, 2016 05:04 AM
Liz Wallace
Century 21 Sherlock Homes - Rockville Centre, NY
Broker C21 Sherlock Homes, Rockville Centre, LI, N

They need to check if they have a mold issue.  If so the smell is the least of their problems.

Mar 03, 2016 04:26 AM
Kevin J. May
Florida Supreme Realty - Hobe Sound, FL
Serving the Treasure & Paradise Coasts of Florida

Tony, I try to have a disinterested third party make the comment essentially that "Your home stinks!" Once that happens there will be discussion whether good, bad or indifferent!

Mar 03, 2016 04:15 AM
Richie Alan Naggar
people first...then business Ran Right Realty - Riverside, CA
agent & author

What is that odor?

Do you cook with exotic spices?

I love the smell of leftover good food

Not everyone can enjoy this type of scent

We need to pick a scent that is Universal

Do you do your own cooking? I can smell all your hard work

Mar 03, 2016 02:56 AM
Chrissi Chapman Topoleski
Coldwell Banker Realty - Woodbridge, VA
Passionate about helping others achieve success!

Some old clients had 2 cats that must have used the entire house for a litter box because the smell was the absolutely worst I have ever smelled. They told me they were replacing the carpet and I jumped in and told me they needed to Killz the floor. After the carpet was put down, it still had a slight odor, and I told them so. An agent commented on it, too. Thankfully it went under contract before I told them to have the carpet pulled up again and floor painted. (They kept their cats somewhere else while it was on the market!)

Mar 03, 2016 02:25 AM
Joan Dickie
Keller Williams Premier Realty - La Crosse, WI
Keller Williams Premier Realty

Tell them they may be used to the smells and don't smell them anymore.  But people who are new can smell them and it is costing them thousands of dollars in sales.

Mar 03, 2016 02:20 AM
Scott Lawson
America's Home loans - Santa Rosa, Petaluma Mortgage Broker - Santa Rosa, CA
Mortgage Broker FHA, VA, refinance or purchase

Ask: "Do you have pets?"


And hope they say yes..

Mar 03, 2016 01:43 AM
David Gibson CNE, 719-304-4684 ~ Colorado Springs Relocation
Colorado Real Estate Advisers LLC - Colorado Springs, CO
Relocation, Luxury & Lifestyle residential

That is one of the hardest of all. I try to bring in some disinterested 3rd parties and then pass along what they smelled. Best done by email not in person or by phone.

Mar 03, 2016 01:33 AM
Joan Cox
House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373 - Denver, CO
Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time

You have to be honest, buyers will be honest.     If they have pets, they may not notice, and I usually like to say this when I come in.   They then know it was soon as I walked in the door.

Mar 05, 2016 08:20 AM
Wayne Martin
Wayne M Martin - Chicago, IL
Real Estate Broker - Retired

Tell them up front that "we" may have a situation that needs attention!

Mar 03, 2016 08:52 PM
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Succinctly and before the home hits the market.  

Mar 03, 2016 06:56 PM
TeamCHI - Complete Home Inspections, Inc.
Complete Home Inspections, Inc. - Brentwood, TN
Home Inspectons - Nashville, TN area - 615.661.029

 Walk in with a can of air freshener. I have been in some real stinky houses. They do sell – eventually.

Mar 03, 2016 05:13 PM
Bob Crane
Woodland Management Service / Woodland Real Estate, EXP - Stevens Point, WI
Forestland Experts! 715-204-9671

"sniff, sniff, ... Whats that smell?"

Mar 03, 2016 04:50 PM
Sybil Campbell
Fernandina Beach, FL
Referral Agent Amelia Island Florida

I would suggest they try some plug in type air fresheners adding that we need to have a nostalgic smell to make buyers feel at home.

Mar 03, 2016 08:55 AM
Jeff Pearl
RE/MAX Distinctive / LIC in VA - Lovettsville, VA
Full Service Full Time Realtor

I just ask them " Did someone die in here"? Then explain that we'll need to work on neutralizing odors to help keep potential buyers looking at the house longer.

Mar 03, 2016 06:29 AM
Ryan Huggins - Thousand Oaks, CA - Thousand Oaks, CA
Residential Real Estate and Investment Properties

"The buyer liked the home, but didn't like the smell."

Mar 03, 2016 06:04 AM
Joe Pryor
The Virtual Real Estate Team - Oklahoma City, OK
REALTOR® - Oklahoma Investment Properties

In person.

Mar 03, 2016 04:03 AM
Ron and Alexandra Seigel
Napa Consultants - Carpinteria, CA
Luxury Real Estate Branding, Marketing & Strategy


I think this question has been answered really well.  A

Mar 03, 2016 03:17 AM