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 Hey, Your Basement Smells Like Urine!
By: Darin "Sid" Cameron, CRS
Sun, Feb 13th, 2005 11:44 pm

Kimberly had a client recommend this as a blog subject after they looked at a home today…

The condition I find homes in when I am showing them to clients never ceases to amaze me.

Although you want your home as clean and neat as possible when showing it, most potential buyers will overlook a dirty dish in the sink, a magazine on the coffee table, or a dirty outfit on the floor of the closet knowing that you may not have had a lot of time to do last minute cleaning before they arrived. However a sink overflowing with dirty dishes, three foot high stacks of old magazines in the middle of the living room, and a pile of dirty clothes on top of an unmade bed are a totally different subject.

If cleanliness isn’t your strong point, hire a cleaning service to come in and clean your home prior to listing. The $100-150 you will pay will generally be cheaper than paying your mortgage, utilities, and insurance an extra 2-3 months if potential buyers are turned off by your house keeping.

If your home has problems- like stained carpets, water damaged basements, or strong pet odors- address these problems before you list.

It’s easy to ignore problems you’ve lived with for years or say, “it’ll be the next guy’s problem.” However most buyers will avoid buying homes they perceive as having significant work that needs done, and it’s not uncommon for tours to be cut short by foul smells or superficial problems that could have been easily addressed prior to listing.

To put it in other terms, it’s not the “next guys problem” if you can’t find a next guy to buy your home!

In regards to carpeting, if you have carpeting that is worn out, out of date, stained or has “pet smells,” consider replacing it before you list your home. I have a carpeting supplier that I have worked with which jokingly refers to one of their carpets as “relocation tan”- i.e. it looks good, is a neutral color, and is cheap to install- making it ideal for the person trying to sell their home. (I used it when I was selling my own home!)

If you are worried that the new carpeting could get damaged or destroyed before you move out- because of messy movers, clumsy children, or a problem pet, offer a carpet allowance to replace the carpeting after close.

Then have the existing carpeting professionally cleaned and deodorized to minimize the problem as much as possible. Air the room out if weather permits, and spend the $5 on an air freshener to mask any lingering smells (but make sure the new smell isn’t more overpowering than the one you are trying to mask).

By addressing your home’s problems upfront, you can minimize the damage they do to you in the eyes of potential buyers.

More on this subject tomorrow

Thinking about selling your St Louis area home? Contact Kimberly at (314) 267-2691. She'd be happy to evaluate your home (for free and without obligation) and make recommendations on how to prepare your home for a successful showing.

[ Next Article: Your Basement Smells (Part II) ]
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Darin "Sid" Cameron spent 15 years working in the technology industry which in 1998 relocated him to St. Louis. In 2004 he took over web development tasks for Kimberly's real estate team and later became the full-time Marketing and Operations Director in 2005. In 2011 Sid launched two brokerages, The Realty Store, Inc. and Realty Referral Partners, Inc, while continuing to perform marketing and operations for Kimberly's team. Sid holds a real estate broker's license in Missouri, CRS certification and was the first CyberStar in the St. Louis area.
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