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Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Maybe It's Cream of Curried Cat...

I recently showed several homes to a couple seeking a second home - a place their family could enjoy and which they could also rent as a vacation rental a few times during the year. They found two houses they wanted to look at for a second time. We went to their favorite house first. They loved the location. They loved the pool. It had a small guest cottage at the rear which the young teen daughter quickly claimed as her room. The buyers were a bit confused with the layout and thought they might need to hire a contractor to make some changes to suit their needs. The second house was located a bit a couple of blocks outside their preferred location and priced a bit beyond what they wanted to pay. But it did not need to be fixed.
After looking at several homes my buyers wanted to take second looks at both houses mentioned above. Not surprisingly, the  house they liked the most was the least expensive. They went through room after room and talked between themselves about the positive and negative points. I sat off to the side and let them do their thing. The listing Realtor sat by the pool and conducted business on her iPhone. After fifteen or twenty minutes they approached me and asked "Is that cat I smell?"  The other said "I think it's curry! Do you think it's curry? Can we get rid of curry? CAN WE EVER GET RID OF CURRY?"  I suggest they check the internet. I told them I don't know the answer and again said to check the internet.

It took me about four minutes to drive to the second house. As I recall we just got out of my car when my iPhone rang. It was the agent from the house of odd smells.  She said she called the owner and asked what the odor was.  She was told the owners had cooked curry the night before and heated the leftovers for lunch.  The agent dismissed the odor as inconsequential cooking.

I am a doubting Thomas. My last name is Thomas and I doubted that it would be that easy to get rid of such an intense odor. I remember a very beautiful Old Town house which I showed years ago. The owner loved cats. He had 21 of them in fact. He had remodeled his house and engaged on the best architects in Key West to design his house. It was perfect in all aspects except that it reeked of cat. A few years later I learned that a fellow realtor purchased that same home. She and her husband were new to Key West when they bought the cat house. They discussed the cat odor and felt they could make it go away. They were wrong. The lady Realtor told me they tried every way to clean the floors. They sanded and refinished the floors.  That did not do the trick. Finally, they had to replace the wood floors.

I did a simple GOOGLE search asking "can you get rid of curry smell" and found varying answer most of which suggested that it was nearly impossible to get rid of.  One person said "I was told by a real estate agent that it's actually the smell from frying food and essential oils lingering in the kitchen and it's not possible to remove it. Perhaps if you think of it in terms of grease molecules instead of curry, you will find a new approach to solving the problem."  Another wrote "I had rented my condo and the tenants cooked with curry. After 13 months the cabinets were saturated with cooking grease and I could not rent the unit as the smell would drive prospective tenants away. I finally used turpentine to break down the grease from all surfaces in the kitchen, appliances, hardwood floors, everything. Then we had the place painted with Kilz and then final paint. This helped considerably, but the smell was still there and the unit unrentable. The final step was to have a company come in. They applied some type of microbial solution to all the walls and floor and appliances. Then ran an ozone generator for 5 days. We then aired out the unit for a day. It has been a month now and the unit smells brand new. The entire process cost almost $2300 between paint, cleansers and the ozone treatment.The microwave had to be replaced as you could not get into the workings of the unit to clear the grease. But the smell is gone. Companies that do fire restorations will be familiar with treating curry smells in homes. Its expensive to get rid of, but if you don't do the cleaning and painting, ozone alone will not work, you need to remove the source. Ozone is the final process that makes it all come together."

It is amazing to me how many sellers are oblivious to the smells they or their animals create. My buyers did not buy the cat or curry house. Hopefully they will find a place in the future they want to call their Key West home.

1 comment:

Gary Thomas said...

My buyers had a willingness to try but did not know if it is possible. The web is full of so many certainties many of which are bogus. My buyer was willing to try if only it could be done. But he was not to willing
if his efforts fail. A million dollars, like a mind, is a terrible thing
to waste.


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Gary Thomas in a Nutshell

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Key West, Florida, United States
I first read about Key West in a magazine called "After Dark" sometime in the mid 1970's. But it wasn't until March 1984 that I made my first visit to the island that would become my home. I had two weeks for a vacation and reserved a room at Colours Guesthouse (now Marrero's Guest House) for one week. I thought that if I didn't like Key West, I could always go back to Miami or Ft. Lauderdale for the rest of my trip. But after a couple of days in Key West, that was no longer a consideration. But when I wanted to extend my stay for the extra week I found there was no room at the inn. The guesthouse owner did find me a room at LaTeDa, the infamous guesthouse/restaurant. That's a story I'll write another day. But those two weeks in Key West gave me the realization that I had found Paradise. Key West has been my home since 1993 and my only regret is that it took me so long to get here. I am a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties CRI. Let me help you find your new home or business in Paradise. Living in Paradise is not a slogan, it's a way of life.