Hawaii Randy's Real Estate Opinions: What's That Smell?

What's That Smell?

This is advice from Suzanne for pet owners that are selling their home.  It is not limited to just cats.  If you have dogs, you most likely do not smell the odor, but buyers walking in your home will.

What's That Smell?


Oh...it's your pet's litter box. One of the more un-glamorous things a home stager can come across. Sometimes people don't always realize there is a smell because they live with it. But when someone walks through your door for the very first time, it'll hit them. Unpleasant litter box odors in your house are the last thing you want during showings and open houses. I know there a lot of realtors and home stagers out there who will tell you to find new temporary boarding for your pet while your house in on the market. I am not one of those home stagers. My pets are my babies (yes, I'm one of THOSE people) and I consider them to be part of the family just as much as I would my brother. I will never ask a client to put their pet up in a kennel.The stress of relocation on a pet is just as stressful as your pending relocation. And since we're not relocating your pets, I thought I'd share some of my tips for keeping the litter box area smelling fresh during showings and avoid the awkward "What's that smell?"

1) This should be a no-brainer, but make sure before any showings and open houses that you clean the litter box right before you walk out of the front door. It's okay if it gets used during showings, you can't avoid it, but not before they even start. There's no excuse to leave the house with a dirty litter box.

2) Use a litter that has order absorbing crystals, much like baking soda or carbon. The more they scratch to cover up their mess the more the scent gets absorbed.

3) Use plug in air fresheners that eat order like Febreeze plug ins. Buy scents that are CLEAN, floral and fruity can be over powering. Scents like clean linen, ocean breeze or meadows and rain are a good choice. Make sure you buy a couple of refills so if you have a last minute showing, you're not stuck with a used up freshener.

4) Use the emergency air freshener. Airwick Freshmatic Ultra Odor Detect will automatically release fragrance in the air when it detects unpleasant odors. Talk about technology! Perfect for right after your pet uses the litter box.

5) Use a covered litter box.  No one wants to see that your pet used the litter box, let alone smell it. A lot of covered litter boxes also have built in carbon filters to help absorb order.

If you follow these tips, your pet's litter box area won't bring any questions of "What's that smell?". Be on top of it, be prepared and have the proper supplies. 


If you live in the Montgomery, Chester, Bucks or Philadelphia counties of Pennsylvania and need a home stager,

contact Suzanne at Six Twenty Designs.




Randy L. Prothero, REALTOR®

Broker-in-Charge, ABR, AHWD, CRB, CRS, e-PRO, GRI, MRP, SFR

eXp Realty

Team Leader - "The Prothero Group"

Randy Prothero is well established as an expert in working with military / VA clients and first time home buyers.  His home seller's (listing) campaign is one of the most aggressive marketing programs in the area.  His luxury home listings sell faster and for more money.

Based out of Mililani, Hawaii. Randy services the island of Oahu (Honolulu County) Performs mediations and ombudsman services for the Board of Realtors.  To improve overall professionalism in his area Randy also offers classes for real estate agents. 

www.HawaiiRandy.comOahu (Honolulu County) Property Search  Hawaii Military Relocations

Comment balloon 5 commentsRandy Prothero • July 12 2013 06:33AM


Goo advice Randy. I am a pet owner and get a little OCD knowing people might be sensitive. I don't understand why sellers don't take the extra effort sometimes to eliminate odors. Seems like a no brainer.

Posted by Carol Culkin, Overland Park (Reece & Nichols) almost 6 years ago

Carol - You are right.  I can't tell you how many times I have shown a home to be hit with the odor as we enter.

Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) almost 6 years ago

I have a list for pet owners who are going to sell.  It isn't just the inside that needs attention.

Posted by William Feela, Realtor, Whispering Pines Realty 651-674-5999 No. (WHISPERING PINES REALTY) almost 6 years ago

William - Great point.  Nothing worse than stepping on the land mines or seeing the flies swarming.

Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) almost 6 years ago

Randy... one good thing about cat litter boxes is that cats are much lower maintenance than dogs are.  I have had three cats over the last thirty years, and non of the three ever peed anywhere else except in their little box from day one.  They just seemed to "know."

The dogs... well, they peed just about wherever they had the urge, and it took all of them quite a while to learn to hold it until they could go outside.  Not a good trade, at least not in my book.

This is a good post, with lots of great ideas.

Posted by Karen Anne Stone, Fort Worth Real Estate (New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County) almost 6 years ago

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