Unpleasant smells can drive away prospects and cost your clients money in the form of fewer, lower, or no offers. But home smells are a sensitive topic. No one wants to feel like their home is unwelcoming. You can help your clients by addressing the issue and offering solutions.

Approach the issue tactfully. Remind your clients that your job is to help them sell their home and that part of your job is identifying any potential barriers to the sale. Describe the smell; are they aware of the issue? Let them know that buyers may be put off by strong or persistent odors, but reassure your clients that most smells can be eliminated. Some are a quick and easy fix, while others may be more challenging or expensive.

Once they are on board to solve the problem, the first step is to identify the source. Removing a smelly item—like an old dog bed—may be all it takes.

A stale or musty odor that is hard to identify might benefit from a thorough deep cleaning, including carpets and walls. Air ducts may also harbor smells. Open the windows and let fresh air circulate. Deodorizing refrigerators and garbage disposals with baking soda may absorb smells. Other simple fixes include asking clients if they can empty trash more often and avoiding strong smells for cooking.

Stronger smells, such as cigarette smoke or pet urine, can seep into carpets and walls. Clients may have to replace carpets. Clients who plan to repaint could choose products with odor-blocking properties.

The biggest challenge you face may be how to approach the topic. One option is to include information on a checklist of ways to prepare a home for sale. The checklist can provide an easier start to conversations about smells, clutter, and other potential problems. With your help, your clients can make their home appealing to buyers’ eyes and noses.