Improving Indoor Air Quality for Better Smelling Houses

Dawn Griffin Posted by
Buying & Selling Tips Oct 2011

Not long ago, I showed a house to a set of clients. They loved it in an irrational way. Don’t get me wrong, it was a great house. I really liked to it too. But it was seriously over-priced in comparison to others of similar size in similar locations. But there was something intangible about this house. It was clean and well-kept. It had nice updates but not necessarily UPGRADES. The rooms were well-proportioned and being up on a hill it had exceptional natural light. But there was something about this house that made it stand out from the pack.

Eventually we came to believe it was the quality of the air. It didn’t smell. It wasn’t scented, it was just fresh. Upon further investigation we could tell that the owners were actually very concerned about the air quality and had gone so far as to install a  purification system. When we read their seller’s disclosure, we noticed that they had installed a UV air cleaner.

I’ve been doing a little research for myself this week about improving the air quality in a home. With the crazy weather we have had this year I feel like I haven’t had my windows open enough. (The wet, wet Spring turned into a super hot Summer and it seems like I went from heat to air condition and right back to heat). I am still in the very early stages of researching air purification systems. Is a whole house system better than a portable one? Then there’s the choice between the different technologies: HEPA filters, Ion and Ozone Generators, Charged Media filters or Activated Carbon filters. Yikes, way too overwhelming.

While I can say that there was something very special about the house I mentioned earlier, I am still not convinced that installing an air purification system would have that same effect for every house.  (If anyone wants to chime in here regarding their experience or research on the topic that would be much appreciated.)

I’ll just move on to make the point, that a clean, fresh smelling house makes a real impression on a buyer. All of the intangibles add up to a real psychological experience for a buyer. When getting your house ready for sale considering how it smells needs to be as important as the deep clean and the staging.

Here are a few basics:

1. Most importantly DO NOT SMOKE inside

2. Change the air filters in your furnace every 4-6 months

3. Vacuum the floor registers and air returns

4. Vacuum carpets and mop floors regularly

5. Use a dehumidifier in the basement and make sure to sweep out the basement and vacuum rafters

6. Deep clean kitchen and baths weekly

7. Use natural cleaning products with a citrus base

8. Keep your home well ventilated

9. If painting is part of your strategy for getting your house on the market, make sure to use low or no-VOC brand

10. Pay attention to the smells coming from the garbage disposal the dishwasher. Lemons in the garbage disposal and cinnamon in the dishwasher works wonders.

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