Have you ever walked into a house and been immediately disgusted by what you saw and smelled? The biggest culprit of this offensiveness is often dirty carpeting. If you want to sell your house, you need to understand the negative impact an unclean home has on a potential buyer. Every Realtor I know will tell you negative impressions have a stronger impact than positive impressions. For instance, Mrs. Peterson is looking for an updated, 3 bedroom home with a pond view. Her Realtor finds her a house with everything on her check list. They walk through the door with high expectations, but excitement is quickly replaced with disappointment as the unpleasant odor hits Mrs. Peterson and she takes in the drab, dirty carpeting. All the positives of this listing will be lost on her now. Her first impression was negative, therefore she can’t imagine herself living there and she’s already checked this house off her list.

The difference between this listing being Mrs. Peterson’s “Dream Home” or “The Dirty House” was as simple as a thorough, professional carpet cleaning. It would have completely changed her first impression of the house. Instead of drab, dirty, and stinky, the carpets would have looked and smelled clean and fresh. It would have allowed Mrs. Peterson the opportunity to see all the other positive features of the home without the distraction of negative stimuli to the senses. It’s a lot like buying a car. Whether you’re buying a brand new car or a previously owned one, when you’re trying them out your attracted to a nice clean interior that has that “new car” smell, right? Well home buyers want that “fresh carpet” smell.

Carpet fibers are super absorbent and if not cleaned regularly will take on the smells that they’re exposed to, such as smoke, cooking odors, perspiration, pet odors, and mildew. Sellers are often too emotionally attached to see their homes through unbiased eyes. They don’t notice odors, and can’t be bothered to put the expense into cleaning rugs that probably look fine when viewed through rose colored glasses. It’s up to the sellers agent to advise their client what needs to be done to create a positive showing for potential buyers. Carpet cleaning is one of the least expensive ways to improve the esthetic value of your home. The average home with a few rooms of carpeting would cost between $200-$300 for cleaning and deodorizing. That’s an incredibly small price to pay considering the positive impact it will have on the home’s appearance and the buyers first impression!

According to Katie Clancy, a broker with William Raveis Real Estate in Yarmouth Port, Ma., buyers make “unconscious conclusions” the moment they walk into a potential new home. Regardless of their own home’s physical condition or cleanliness, they have much higher expectations for their next home. “Buying is Fantasyland”, says Katie. “No one is going to fantasize about living in a house with dirty carpeting….”. And for those sellers who are resistant to investing a few bucks into getting their carpeting professionally cleaned, they may want to consider whether they want top dollar for their home. Katie estimates that a house with clean carpeting throughout could yield up to $10,000 more than a home with dirty carpeting. She notes, it’s not that carpeting, per se, adds value to a home. But when a buyer sees dirty carpeting, their perceived value of the property decreases and they’ll bid lower.

So, whether you’re selling your house, or you’re a Realtor working with sellers, remember that clean carpeting makes a good first impression. It’s inviting, it smells good, and it implies that the homeowners are hygienic people. It allows buyers to fantasize that they live there. And best of all, it’s a quick, inexpensive way to improve appearance, add esthetic value, and get you top dollar!