Sunday, February 14, 2010

6 Tips to Get Rid of the Cigarette Smoke Smell

Yes indeed, the vacant home was beautiful. It had a manicured lawn and yellow daffodils lining the home entrance. However, when I opened the front door a wall of stale smoke took my breathe away.

After roaming through each orderly, well decorated room, when I asked the buyer what they thought of the home, the buyer said, "It is absolutely beautiful." He hesitated looking at his wife, "But we can't live with this smoke smell."

While some odors are easy to fix, empty the trash and litter boxes, eliminating the smell of smoke can be more challenging. Here are 6 Tips to help. Always be sure to test any products mentioned below on small areas that you are cleaning, before proceeding forward to avoid damage.

1. Stop Smoking In or Near the Home and remove all ashtrays.

2. Clean All Washable Surfaces including windows, screens, counters, etc. with 1 part vinegar and 3 parts water. Change all air filters. For all those surfaces that can't be washed, a couple of products that you can find online that have been recommended by others for eliminating smoke odors are "Smells Begone" or "Vamoose!" .

3. Prime and Paint Your Walls. First prepare all walls, by washing them with vinegar water and allow to dry. Then use KILZ primer before painting the walls. The KILZ is known to conceal stains, and seal the odors from emerging after painted.

4. Professionally Clean or Change Carpet and Upholstery. If you are unable to change the carpet or furniture, read the manufactures cleaning instructions first to avoid damaging them or voiding any warranties you might have. Again after testing a small area, sprinkle baking soda on your carpet and leave it for three to four hours before vacuuming. Leave boxes of baking soda open in the rooms to help absorb. Then have your carpets and upholstery professionally cleaned.

5. Replace, Wash or Dry Clean fabric window coverings.

6. Open Windows and Place Boxes of Baking Soda around the room and leave them for several days. Baking soda should absorb any lingering cigarette smoke odors. You may need to repeat this process several times to completely get rid of odors.

When buyers are looking at homes to purchase, they use not only their sight but they also their sense of smell. So don't let your home be remember for its cigarette smoke odor.

Virginia Hall
ABR®, CRS®, e-Pro®, GRI®
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage
Direct (619)258-8585
DRE License #01409760

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Short Sale--An Oxymoron--A Word for Wait

People hear "short sale" and think "Great! It won't take too long". Unfortunately, the term short sale refers to the home selling for less than the sellers owe on it. So they will come up "Short" of what they owe.

Because the banks aren't anxious to take the loss, they mull over the sellers' financial records and the process takes anywhere from 3 months to 6 months on average to get an acceptance, if the bank approves it. There are circumstances where the bank won't approve the short sale, and the home moves into foreclosure.

What happens while you wait and wait for an answer to your offer? Once your offer emerges from the bottom of the piles, the bank starts by reviewing the seller's financial records. In variably, they are missing or need updated records. Next they order their own appraisal or a Broker Price Opinion (BPO) to insure the offer price is reasonable. Then they ask for the breakdown of the closing costs to see what they can cut there.

So you wait and wait, and then finally the day comes when they send an approval letter. Now the race is on. The banks will typically give you no more than 30 days to get it closed and will coerce you with late fines.

So is all the waiting worth it. If it is the home you have been searching for, it is usually worth it in the long run. You can usually get a home at a good price, and if nothing more you learn a valuable lesson in patience.

“Patience and fortitude conquer all things” Ralph Waldo Emerson

Virginia Hall
ABR®, CRS®, e-Pro®, GRI®
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage
Direct (619)258-8585