Lingering Odors: Should They Stop You From Buying That New House?

Did you finally find your dream home only to find out that it smells more like a nightmare? Don’t give up on it just yet! It’s important to understand what may be causing those unpleasant smells.

Trust Your Instincts

When house hunting, it’s important to remember not to ignore unpleasant odors. After all, you wouldn’t pour sour smelling milk into your cereal, would you (we hope not 😊)?

People with finely-tuned sniffers can often detect mold or mildew, or, at least discern that something is “off.” Follow your instincts and look into it further. It may be a harmless smell, but it could also be indicative of a larger problem: mold growth, gas leaks, or other issues that go far beyond smell. These problems could become quite costly or even dangerous if they go undetected prior to purchasing the home.

Always have a certified professional conduct a thorough inspection before signing on any dotted line. He or she can figure out the cause of any foul odors and tell you whether they are cause for concern – or simply cause for some heavy-duty cleaning.

Don’t Let Bad Smells Derail Your Home Purchase

If the inspector finds that everything is in order and the house is structurally sound, then unpleasant scents don’t have to detract you from buying the home. Pet urine and cigarette smoke are the two biggest, and most stubborn odors you’ll find in a home. If you can remove them, you can remove anything (yes, with our help you can remove them 😊).

Here are a few tips for removing the pesky scent of pet urine and cigarette smoke.

  • Remove carpeting, furniture, and other fabrics. Pet urine and cigarette smoke cling tenaciously to the fibers on these types of surfaces. It’s often not worth trying to save these items and better to start with a clean slate.
  • Invest in some good cleaning products – and plan on using them everywhere. You don’t want to replace unpleasant smells with the heavy, caustic scent of chemical cleaners (YUCK). For a fresh, deep clean, choose a nontoxic, biodegradable enzymatic cleaner with Ordenone, like our Instant All-Purpose Stain and Odor Remover.

These cleaners contain enzymes which digest stains. And not just the visible components. They work to completely eliminate messes from pets, smoke, and other organic sources. In addition, the Ordenone traps malodors. This combination renders the stain powerless as the enzymes get to work on the smells too.

To attack smoke:

  • Clean the walls and floors. These surfaces are most affected by smoke and simply painting over it will not clean them. In fact, tar and nicotine will break through, creating a “streaking” effect, and the smell will come back to haunt you. Spray enzymatic cleaner on the walls and floors, leave for up to 30 minutes and then wipe them down. It does take some time, but it will help eliminate both the stains and the smells left behind by smoking.
  • Prime the walls and other paintable surfaces. Combined with a thorough cleaning using an enzymatic cleaner, the right primer is a one-two punch against stains and odor. Options like Killz help ensure your house smells as though no one ever lit up in it.

To eliminate pet smells:

  • Attack visible stains. Your inspector can tell you if pet urine has gone through carpeting or flooring and damaged the subflooring. If this is the case, you have to replace the entire floor (which should play a role in your decision to purchase the house). If the stain is not indicative of deeper damage, saturate the area with enzymatic cleaner. Let it sit for up to 30 minutes and wipe clean.
  • Clean all floors and baseboards. Use an all-purpose floor solution and get to work (or have the kids do it 😊).
  • Prime the walls. It should look and smell much better by now, but why not have fresh surfaces while you’re at it?

Smells don’t need to keep you from the house of your dreams. They do require some time and patience to eliminate, but if there is no underlying damage – and you get a great deal – then they don’t need to keep you from making a house into your home.