Tender loving care is usually what the previous owner did not do. which is why the price is so low and the investment a sound one. Turning around a property that has not been cared for can take a little more than just cleaning. fixing. and painting. It may also take some care to add finishing touches. There are some quick and easy things that can be done to give the interiors of any property a fresh and more valued look. The idea is to look for the hidden treasures that can be found within some properties. These make fix-up and the return of tender loving care evident.
Look Under the Carpet
Do you find hardwood floors, tile, or marble under the carpet? These may be much easier to bring back to their natural state than to re-carpet. These are gems. but watch out-under old carpets can also be rotten floorboards, termite damage, and worst of all. asbestos. The key is to know what you are dealing with in all eventualities, lithe gem is there, then that is your bonus. If a problem is encountered, get an estimate on what it will cost to deal with the problem. or walk away from the deal by using one of the outs in the purchase contract.
Check Under the Paint
Solid brass that has been painted over a thousand times does not look very nice-until all the paint is removed. Doorplates. hardware, railings, and countless other brass items found in older properties could not be replaced today for less than a fortune. Removing the paint and polishing them will add evident quality at very low expense. Tap doors, woodwork, and built-ins such as a buffet or content shelves with a plastic hammer. Solid building material has an expensive sound to it, and solid wood doors and other fixtures in good shape can be restored. (Solid-sounding walls might indicate block or heavy plaster, which are more costly than cheap wallboard or other more modern materials but not as good building products.) On the downside, if there is old paint it is important to check to see if it contains lead. Ask at a paint store for lead tests that can ascertain if this problem exists.
Make Sure the Property Smells as Good as It Looks
Unfortunately. many property owners do not seem to notice the smell of their pets or other pervasive odors they may have grown accustomed to. However, any unpleasant smell will turn buyers off quickly and must be dealt with immediately. A partial solution just is not enough. The introductory smell, that is, the first smell people notice when they enter a home. can be very important in the potential sale of the property. Dog and animal smells are definite “turnoffs and should be eliminated. Mildew and other problem smells may be more subtle, but they also must be dealt with as soon as possible.
How to Remove Odors
If there is a pet smell or other pervasive odor, the first step of course is to get rid of whatever is causing the smell. This can be difficult at times (especially if the source is your live-in father-in-law’s cheap cigars or a beloved but as-yet un-housebroken pet llama). Once the source has been dealt with satisfactorily, the solution to the problem is to get rid of or thoroughly clean whatever is “holding” the smell. This can be the carpets. an old sofa that was the dog’s bed, or drapes that have soaked up the smell over a long time. Once the fabric that contained the smell is removed. then the whole place needs to be cleaned with a strong cleaning solution-but one that does not introduce new smells that are equally difficult to remove. Check with your local hardware store to obtain cleaning supplies for the specific problem at hand. Be sure to request cleaning chemicals that will not replace one smell with another that is equally offensive.
Do not attempt to mask any nasty smell with the perfume smell that some chemical cleaners tend to have. Baking soda in water may be a good rinse to remove smells that remain from cleaners, For example. mildew and mold can be removed with a chlorine- based cleaner. However, after using them you also have to clean out the chlorine smell. Let the chlorine dry, and then wash the area again with a box of baking soda dissolved in a bucket of warm water.
Replace Stale Smells with Fresh Ones
There are several acceptable, if not desirable, smells that can be introduced into a building that will help overcome any kind of old smell. Paint is one, but be careful: this does not apply to all paint. Some paints produce vapors that are unpleasant or even harmful. Safest generally are latex water-based paints, but ask your qualified paint expert (not the clerk from the hardware department who is assigned to the paint department for the day) which paint has the nicest ‘freshly painted smell. Another wonderful smell is leather. One new piece of leather furniture can give a whole room a great smell.
Remove and Prevent Mildew
Removing mildew smells is not as difficult as it once was, thanks to several different cleaning materials that kill mildew. The real problem is not the existing mildew, because with proper treatment it can be eliminated: the problem is to keep it from returning. Mildew grows best in a dark, warm, and moist environment where there is poor air circulation. The remedy for mildew, then, is circulating air, sunlight, and a dry environment. Roof and plumbing leaks can leave the insides of walls just damp enough to become ideal mildew hideouts, but not so sopping wet that the actual leak is noticed. Mildew inside walls may not be seen for a long time, but the smell Is very evident to any newcomer to the property-although the owners may have gradually grown accustomed to the smell so that they no longer even noticed it.
The key Is to stop the leak in order to eliminate the mildew. Fans to circulate air In the area will help, and together with mildew remover sprays that are available in any good hardware store, mildew can be beaten. In hot, humid areas It is a good idea to keep air circulating in a closed-up house to keep mildew from getting a foothold, and once mildew is present a dehumidifier may be the only way to solve a chronic problem.
Appeal with “Memory” Aromas
In addition to the general cleaning, painting, and touches such as leather furniture already mentioned, there are several “memory” smells that can produce a good aroma within a home. These smells can evoke pleasant memories in buyers and become a type of subliminal sales tool. Various smells may have different levels of appeal to different people, but in general the following smells are most likely to produce a positive reaction from a prospective buyer. Each of these smells can be ‘made within the house, and each has a relatively short duration.
. Freshly baked bread and/or cookies (frozen dough is available in grocery stores)
• Fresh hot cocoa
• Fresh coffee being brewed
• Freshly made popcorn
. A boiling pot of water with a spice added (pick only one-cloves, cinnamon, or vanilla)
. Fresh roses or orange blossoms (very few)
. An apple or peach pie being baked (or reheated)
• Cooking chocolate or peanut butter fudge
• A citrus-scented candle burning
Remember, a little of the above will go a long way. For the best results, choose one such “memory” smell and do not mix it with another. No matter how much you may love the combination of popcorn and Citrus-scented candles, multiple smells suggest that you are trying to mask something unpleasant.