Knowing the Difference Between Good and Bad House Odor is Key
The best house flipping properties are those that smell the worst, emit odors that make the eyes water and make it nearly impossible to walk through the property without getting ill. Many novice and first-time flippers will steer clear of properties that are odorous but in most cases, these are the homes that require the least amount of work and will realize the largest profit.
An extremely foul odor can devalue a property by as much as 25% and obviously, a non-investor is not going to consider moving their family into a property that smells bad; presenting a golden opportunity for an astute real estate investor.
However, where odor is concerned, the key to success is learning to spot the difference between harmless stench due to neglect and abandonment, and smells that signify serious house damage.
The Good (Yet Nasty) Smells of Money
It may seem amusing that an appalling stink is a good smell, but the truth is that the stronger the smell, the more opportunity for profit. Houses that have been abandoned or uncared-for will emit a stale odor that lingers in the air. Properties that have been home to numerous pets as well as uninvited crawling creatures such as mice, rats and cockroaches will have a very strong odor, especially if droppings and feces are found all over the house.
Stagnant water from dirty bathtubs and unused toilets can give off an odor so pungent it can make a person sick. Cigarette smoke and other odors that have been left to manifest in the carpets, drapery and walls of an uninhabited house can also create strong and offensive odors.
Purchase a good mask, hire a cleaning crew but no matter what, don’t turn your back on these animal infested, horrific smelling properties. These are good odors that with a little hard work and a lot of cleaning fluid can be renewed and refreshed. Cleaning is one of the cheapest renovating expenses and yet many unknowing investors shy away from these properties. If an investor can withstand the odor, the pay off can be huge. Consider it the sweet smell of money.
The Bad House Smells to Stay Away From
There are certain odors that are definitely nothing to laugh about and could end up costing thousands of dollars that are not budgeted for. For a novice flipper, or an investor who buys properties quickly and without contingency clauses in the contract of sale, this can be the smell of disaster.
Become educated about odors which may signify issues far more serious than neglect. If the house has a strong smell of damp, it is critical to investigate further. Although some damp smells are negligible, it can be a sign of mold infestation or a telltale sign of wood rot in the sub-flooring system.
In a lot of cases, it is a bathroom, basement or kitchen, but it may be other rooms if the problem started in the roof. Look for water stains on the floors, walls and ceilings and peek beneath wallpaper and moldings for signs of mold or mildew. Getting rid of mold is very expensive, not to mention the cost of tearing the house apart to find it and then replacing all the sheetrock.
A dank odor may also be a sign of rotting wood beneath the floors. Although it is not feasible to tear up the floor of a house when someone else owns it, there are a few things that can be checked. Jump up and down on the floor to check for ‘spongy’ areas. If the house has a basement or crawlspace, get down there and look at the underbelly of the house to determine if there are signs of rot or excessive damage.
Bad smells can be the difference between a profitable property and a money pit. However, it is not always necessary to run from a potential flip property with foul odor. Depending on the severity of the problem, it may still be salvageable if the selling price can be renegotiated.
The difference between a good house flipper and a wealthy real estate investor is the instinctive ability to spot a great deal and knowing when to pass. For those who want to outmaneuver competitors, it is as simple as following the nose.