You know I love flipping houses with Tarek. It lets us spend time together and with our kids. I love checking out leads while I’m having a mommy-daughter day with Taylor, and house flipping is one of the few careers out there where I won’t have to worry about taking maternity leave so I can spend time with our newborn son Brayden.
Of course, you do have to take the negatives with the positives, and one of my biggest negatives is how gross a lot of our flips can be. Tarek still laughs about the time that I had to chase actual, live chickens around the yard at one of our flips, and those aren’t the only living things we’ve found at flips, either. The old tenants at some of these places will leave all of their trash and garbage in piles around the house. We’ve found roaches, ants, spiders, rats, and all kinds of really gross stuff.
And if all that wasn’t bad enough, when you get done shoveling all of the waste out, there’s still this lingering smell. No one wants to buy a house that reeks of pets, cigarettes, and/or garbage, but those smells can be really hard to get rid of. Here are a few of my favorite tips that help get rid of those really difficult odors that just seem to cling to a house no matter what you do.
Open up the Whole House
After your waste removal team has left, open up every window and door in the house. Get some fans blowing fresh air in, too, if you can. After an afternoon of fresh air cycling into the house, you’ll be able to tell if you actually have a problem to deal with or if you just needed to air the place out.
Replace the Carpets
Carpets are one of the worst offenders for holding onto really bad odors. Fortunately, if you’re upgrading and updating a house, you’re going to want to get rid of them anyway. Whether you replace them with new carpets or you go with hardwood, laminate, or tile flooring, you absolutely have to get rid of your old carpets and carpet pads.
Before you put in your new flooring, though, take a whiff. Does it still smell light pets or cigarette smoke? Make sure that you get your subfloor completely clean and sealed properly before you lay anything over it again. If you don’t, you could be stuck with a musty odor that won’t go away for months – and you don’t have that kind of time to waste.
Get Rid of Mildew and Mold
If the house has water damage, you’re going to need to check your insulation, walls, ceiling, and floors for mildew and mold. If you have black mold, you’re going to need to call in the professionals (which you’ve seen Tarek and I do on Flip or Flop). If not, you can get rid of damp, musty smells by using dehumidifiers and/or your air conditioner to dry them out. Then use soap and water to clean off all of the surfaces in these rooms.
The last thing you want when you’re flipping houses is for buyers to come in and smell mildew, pets, or cigarette smoke. It doesn’t matter how nice your house looks, if it smells like any of those things, people will think that you’ve done a cheap job with your rehab, and they won’t want to buy. Remember, flipping houses is about more than just making your properties look better – they have to actually be better, and that includes funky smells and odors.