lmgarvin, Home Buyer in Pennington, NJ

What is the very noticeable smell in basements of homes we have looked at in Westchester and Putnam County, NY?

Asked by lmgarvin, Pennington, NJ Thu Jun 21, 2012

We are looking for homes in these areas due to relocation. We have noticed a very noticeable smell, cannot describe, in most homes. More obvious in basements but has moved to upper levels in some homes. More often in old homes but in some new homes. Driving me nuts! I don't want a smelly house!

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Jennifer Fivelsdal’s answer
If you were looking at home this week during the heat wave and humidity I am not surprise you would get a smell. In this area some sort of dehumidifier is used to remove moisture during the warmer weather.

Since I don't know exactly what the scent is an inspector would be better able to find the source.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jun 22, 2012
Hi, I'm guessing it is a musty smell. This happens in alot of basements based on the grading of the property and foundation type. If the foundation is made of Concrete cinder blocks they have pores, these pores allow seepage at times. A poured foundation is solid and doesnt allow anything to penetrate. You may also notice the use of de humidifiers in many basements as well, these help remove moisture from the air. If you have a cinder block foundation you can paint the walls with Dry-Loc paint which seals the pores and prevents and seepage. This may not remediate the smell but will help with moisture.

1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Jun 22, 2012
Funny u mentioned the thing about the cinder blocks! We noticed they were the worst. I am guessing home owners had become immune to smell. It is not a smell that I have ever smelled in a MO basement, so it was very noticeable to us and at times offensive. I hate to be picky but I don't think I can get past it and will just have to keep looking.
Flag Fri Jun 22, 2012
Keep in mind that a home inspection conducted by a licensed home inspector, will identify any potential problems relating to to the odor; some unpleasant aromas can also be created by poor ventilation, especially in underutilized basements, empty houses, old carpeting/furnishings, lingering food odors, etc.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Jun 22, 2012
It's important to be looking at these houses with a professional person who has seen a lot of houses & knows a lot about these types of things. Smells in the basement can be caused by lots of reasons: 1) Water, moisture, mildew: many houses have water leaking into the basement. There are many reasons why this happens & it's not always a deal-breaker, sometimes it can be resolved easily & sometimes it's a fatal flaw. You should not have an agent that tries to persuade you to buy every house. 2) Sometimes the carpet is dirty or has pet stains. I always recommend removing all old carpeting immediately upon moving into a house. 3) Sometimes the dryer vent is clogged or partially clogged, causing a moist lint smell. 4) Sometimes there is a lack of ventilation or air movement in the basement, causing a "stale" smell. 5) Oil furnaces & indoor oil tanks cause oily fumes. 6) Or something else. You need to be a detective to figure out what it is & how to resolve it. Or I can help you. Call me at 914-273-9688. Sincerely, Michael F. Levy, Principal Broker, Grand Lux Realty. http://www.GrandLuxRealty.com.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Jun 22, 2012
Hi lmgarvin,
There are a few reasons why odor in basement can be problematiced for a new home buyer anywhere in country.Most likely, the smell may cause by water damage due to flood by rain in to basement, or from washing machine residues after washed and dried. Also, mold around the house may cause terrible smell in basement and beyond.

1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Jun 22, 2012
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