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Who (didn't) let the dogs out?


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I did a job this morning on a home with an extremely pronounced dog urine smell. Well, it was to me anyway -- it about knocked me over as soon as I walked in the front door. Normally this isn't something that I bring up with the buyer. I have always assumed if I can smell it everybody else can. However, I made a passing reference to it to the agent before the buyer got there. Her reply? "What dog urine smell? None of us smelled anything when we were here before."

So it got me to wondering whether most of you guys say something about this issue in your reports or not. I don't deal with things that are strictly cosmetic, but this is more than just a cosmetic issue in some ways. My concern is that if they don't smell it now but they do smell it later ? such as when the weather warms up ? am I going to get an angry phone call demanding to know why I didn't mention it. Flooring replacement isn't cheap after all.

What do you guys think?

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I arrived at a house the other day where as soon as I walked in the door my senses were assaulted by the stink from a bunch of those plug in the wall oil air freshners. I ordered the agent and client to help me open every window and we propped open every door and then we pulled every one of those things and took them out back and put them on the patio. Then while I was going over the contract and preparing to start I left everything open to air out. By the time I'd finished the contract and gotten all of my gear in the house, the smell began to return - they'd been extremely heavy smokers and all of the fresh paint had failed to cover it up because nobody bothered to shampoo the wall-to-wall carpeting. Within an hour the place reeked of nicotine. It had been so bad that all of the aluminum window frames (60's house) were covered with nicotine and were a gold color instead of an aluminum color. The place reeked of it.

Non-smoking couple. They didn't buy the house. Don't know if the odor had anything to do with it or not; there were plenty of other things going on there that might have discouraged them.



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Different people smell things differently. Sometimes very differently. Some clients a few months ago were perplexed that I couldn't smell a foul odor in the house. They described it as smelling "like death". We finally discovered it was the rubber backing on an area rug.

I always make a note of pet urine odors.

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I'm curious if anyone uses a Blacklight or UV light to light up the pee during an inspection? I had a bad cat pee home a few years back that the day before the inspection the owners put down new carpet and had a few air fresheners around the home. It had no adverse odors whatsoever.

Move forward about 3 weeks and the new owners move in and with in days they had bad cat pee odors throughout the home. They pulled up the carpet & pad and the wooden subfloor and found the old Masonite particleboard subfloor was puckered and swollen from all of the cat pee.

They called me to help them document everything to go after the owner and I brought a black light with me. The walls up about foot and baseboards literally glowed under the light in almost every single room in the home.

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Thanks for the replies. As Mike said, the plug-in air fresheners are a dead giveaway that someone is trying to cover something up. However,this home did not have any aromatic camouflage in use. In fact, they made no attempt whatsoever to hide any of the nasty conditions. That's why I was a little uncertain as to whether to mention the urine smell or not. When there are artificial means in use to cover up smells I always mention the likelihood that they are trying to cover up something unpleasant: musty smells, cigarettes, pets, incontinent Aunt Gladys, whatever. But despite the fact that this home was only five years old and in an upscale neighborhood there were scary carpet stains and easily visible rodent droppings in several areas. The piles of dog hair built up around the perimeter of the rooms would be sufficient to stuff several throw pillows should one be so inclined.

The buyer said "We made a lowball offer, and to our surprise they took it." Imagine that.

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