There are some houses that just have a funk to them. Whether the previous owner was a smoker or had indoor pets, those smells build up and can be hard to get rid of. Odors such as animal urine, smoke, or mold are a major turn-off for buyers. Here’s how to go about eliminating odors from your fix and flip properties.
Rather than try to convince the buyer who is holding their nose that they can get rid of the odors, do what you can to eliminate them before you put the property on the market. Then, when your potential home buyers come along, all they will be able to smell is their new opportunity! The majority of your buyers will be owner-occupants, so you want to make sure your products meets their needs.
Eliminating Odor From Animal Smells
Sometimes, pet smells can remain in the home even if the carpet is pulled out and replaced. Use some cleaner on the slab under your carpet even if you’re tearing the carpet out. If you’re dealing with urine, the floor underlayment will need replaced. Concrete under the floor might need to be sealed to keep the smell from wafting out. Seal floors with an oil-based sealer, such as Kilz.
You’ll want to check and see what shape the baseboards are in. If animal feces and urine has seeped into the baseboards, they may have swelled and will need to be replaced.
Depending on how bad the stench is, you may need to run a commercial ionizer for a few days, clean out the duct system, and sanitize the HVAC, and clean the HVAC coil.
Some animals are in the habit of using certain patches of soil outside of the home as a bathroom. If this happens, the smell could drift into the home. Some simple landscaping such as mulch, sod or rock can help with the smell.
Some pet odors will dissipate in time when the pet is removed. A qualified pet odor inspection or remediation service can help to advise you on removing odors.
Eliminating Odor From A Smoker House
You’re going to need to seal the floors and walls with an oil-based sealant (we like Sherwin Williams ProBlock Interior Oil Based Primer), run a commercial ionizer for a couple of days, have both the duct system and HVAC system cleaned and sanitized, and clean the HVAC coil.
TSP (Trisodium Phosphate) is another option for smoke stains on walls and ceilings – it will take the stains away, but is very labor intensive as you have to scrub all the walls and ceilings.
You’ll need to clean everything. When cleaning, wash all items in the home, from floor to ceiling, including fixtures. Wash all fabrics that aren’t being replaced. Work in one room at a time and don’t move things from one room to the next if they haven’t all been cleaned.
Eliminating Odor From Mildew/Mold
Everyone can recognize that “old house” smell. It smells musty, damp and dusty. This can happen even if a home doesn’t appear to have mold or mildew growth. Odor-causing microbes are small enough that they can’t be seen with the naked eye.
This can happen if there’s not enough air movement through the house. Or moisture can be moving through the crawl space. Air movement is crucial to removing this odor. Make sure the bathroom fan works, and the vent over the stove, and run them. A bathroom fan can be attached to a timer so it can run even when you’re not there.
Depending on the age of the house, you may be looking at a project that includes removing sheetrock and any other affected materials, such as framing and flooring. You’ll then need to treat all surrounding areas with bleach. Install new sheetrock, paint all coverings, use sealant/primer, clean out the duct system, etc, just like you would in a “smoker house”.
Install a good heat source. Humidity and moisture can be trapped in the wall and ceiling cavities and insulation. If there is any moisture in the home, it may need some heat to drive it out.