Pet Odors - what are my options?

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Submitted by profhoff on April 6, 2012 - 10:03am

Piggs - We're almost there! After four years of searching, we have a contract on a property. It's a nice house, but it smells like a dog. It's not overwhelming, but it definitely smells like a dog. My husband and I are both allergic. As you know, inventory is slim so we'd like this to work out if at all possible.

We're in the 17-day inspection period now and I'd like to know what my options are with respect to things I should look for and what I can do later to get the smell out.

I've called some pet odor removal places and they say to look for visible accident stains (haven't seen any yet but we're going back to look now that the tenant is out and the property is vacant). The odor removal places say an "ozonator" can remove odors, as can cleaning floors, washing walls, etc. This will be pricey.

A product called Anti-Icky-Poo has also been recommended as a treatment option.

The house is trav down and engineered wood up. No carpet. Window treatments are plantation shutters. There are three doggie doors so it's clear it was an inside/outside dog. The garage especially smells like dog.

What's your advice? Can I get the smell out? What are my options? How much will this cost me? Should I get an estimate and present it to the seller during the inspection period?

Submitted by sdrealtor on April 6, 2012 - 10:39am.

I think you potentially have a bigger issue than the pet odors. Two years ago i had clients in escrow on a house in LC Oaks. The wife wasnt allergic to dogs and had been around many through out her life. During the inspection, she spent a couple hours in the property and became very ill. We had to cancel escrow as there is no way to guarantee you can get all the allergens out of the house. Dont let the agents minimize this concern as its your health not theirs.

You mentioned you were both allergic to dogs and that is the bigger issue. I dont know if you have done the physical inspection yet but I would encourage both of you to go and to stay in the house the whole time. you really need to evaluate the potential health impacts of this. You can always get rid of or mask odors so thats much less of an issue.

Submitted by profhoff on April 6, 2012 - 10:50am.

sdr - I'm not sure I understand what you are saying? Are you saying that we might be able to get rid of the odor but something fundamental about the dog will be left behind that will irritate our allergies?

Our realtor is awesome and isn't minimizing our concerns.

Submitted by Diego Mamani on April 6, 2012 - 11:00am.

That's excellent advise from sdr. If I were you, I'd seriously consider not buying this house. Masking, or even getting rid of smells is one thing. Getting rid of allergens is something else altogether, and may not be easy to do.

You may be able to have the house thoroughly cleaned of all traces of allergens, and that would be great. But what if you can't?

Remember also that if you are not ready and willing to walk away from a deal, then you may be overpaying (or worse, risking serious health problems down the road).

I realize that this is not what you wanted to hear... but we Piggs are extremely practical and objective, or at least we try :-)

Submitted by SD Realtor on April 6, 2012 - 11:18am.

You may want to consider spending some money on getting a hygenist or a mold inspector into the home to take spore samples. Pet odors are one thing but if there is something else then you will want to know exactly what it is. Having that report will also give you documentation that will become a material fact for the property. For a few hundred bucks it is worth it.

Also if they are only pet odors then that is great. The best way to get rid of them is new carpet and pad.

Submitted by sdrealtor on April 6, 2012 - 11:26am.

I am not an Allergist and alot depends upon the severity of what you two have. Diego Mamami pretty much covered it. Getting rid of odors can be very different from getting rid of hair and dander that can be left behind. It can impact the air quality for a very long time. The best thing I can think of to do is to spend an extended period of time in the house to see how it impacts you. Thats why i suggested sitting and walking around the house during the inspection.

Submitted by profhoff on April 6, 2012 - 12:30pm.

Ok, I understand what you are saying now. There is no carpet, it's all travertine and engineered wood. There are no curtains or fabrics, just wood shutters.

Re: mold inspections, how often do people do those inspections?

Submitted by sdrealtor on April 6, 2012 - 1:13pm.

I wouldnt worry about mold unless there was evidence indicating you should be. The house my clients walked from was all hardwood, travertine plantation shutters also.

Submitted by svelte on April 6, 2012 - 2:38pm.

Not 100% sure, but would predict if the odor is lingering in the house it could be due to the tile grout. I saw a Stanley Steamer ad promoting their ability to clean grout, may want to check that out.

Think I also saw something about grout cleaning on JtR's site awhile back, you may want to hit him up.

As for the garage, bet you anything it's in that cement. I would imagine a good, deep cleaning then going over it with a professionally installed polyurethane finish will do the trick. Don't buy the Home Depot garage floor paint, even the 2 stage stuff. It comes right up - my neighbor showed me his garage - due to what is known as "Hot Tire Pickup". Google it.

Submitted by profhoff on April 6, 2012 - 2:53pm.

JtR is my realtor :) and he has lots of good suggestions, but I also like to do my own due diligence. The garage is epoxy, so I'm not sure what the options are since it's already been epoxied.

We're definitely looking at Stanley Steemer, but wouldn't you know it, the tile is cracked, so we need to investigate that further and see what that's about.

And here I thought once we actually had an offer accepted, we'd be done, but NO, now the work begins...

Submitted by sdrealtor on April 6, 2012 - 3:07pm.

Good you have a solid agent on your side. I'm sure he was on top of the potential allergy issue already.

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