Written by Adam JD Martin
When it comes to purchasing real estate, one of the best strategies is to buy the ugliest house on the block. One of the first signs you will notice from the road is the roof that should have been replaced years ago, the crazy unkempt landscaping, and the plethora of derelict vehicles and toys in the yard. Invariably, inside this house you will find smoke stained yellowed walls, an army of pets, and some of the most foul smells you can imagine. Don’t panic, you’re in the right spot. You’ve arrived. These are the hallmarks of opportunity. It’s your time to shine and add value as a real estate investor.
First thing’s first. THAT SMELL HAS GOT TO GO. It seems to be omnipresent, and it follows you home on your clothes. Don’t worry though, we’ve been there, and we’ve got the solutions for you. Start by getting all of their junk and belongings out after closing. Don’t waste any time here, order a bin and get to work emptying the junk out. While you’re at it, we recommend getting rid of any of the finishes that aren’t staying like the flooring. A lot of of the time simply getting rid of their junk and furniture will take care of most of the smell. One of the next big items is the flooring. If there were animals in the house, there’s very likely odour trapped in the flooring. This is especially true of carpet, laminate and hardwood flooring. With laminate, we typically just rip it out at the same time we’re doing the initial clearing out of anything that was left inside the building. We then replace the flooring with a luxury vinyl plank flooring ($2/sqft) that is more durable, and more resilient to scratches, odours, and cosmetic wear.
One of the next things we find trap smells really bad is the trim! That usually takes people by surprise, but it’s true. If you’re in a house where there’s been a lot of animals or smoking, taking the trim off will release ungodly aromas into the air, but it will help you out in the long term. Typically the trim is damaged in multiple places anyways so it usually works out to be a benefit all around.
The final tip and perhaps the one with the biggest impact is the paint! We recommend using a product called Jammer. The one we use is made by Dulux and it is some of the most powerful and effective jamming primer. Bring your mask and some Advil, as you are guaranteed to leave with a headache and a couple years off your life expectancy, but on the plus side, there will be absolutely no trace of odours left in the building from the surfaces that you paint. It’s magical, and affordable. At less than $200 for a 5 gallon pale of it, you can’t go wrong. But seriously, don’t forget the mask. Get a good 3M mask and don’t open the can until you’re ready.