How To Get Rid Of The Old House Smell

old house

August 31, 2021

Old house smell can be a real problem for you as an owner and any guest you may have. If your house smells a bit “old,” it’s not the best thing in the world. If you want to sell your old home, and if it has a particular musky smell to it, that can certainly decrease the value of your house. Getting rid of the old house smell can be can also be an opportunity to increase the value of your house pretty easily, if your situation is not too dire. Still, there are some things you can do and should know about removing this issue. We here at Gordon Buys Homes encountered this a few times, so we will share our tips and experiences with you so you can get rid of the old house smell easily.

What Is the Cause of the Old House Smell?

You may wonder where that smell comes from? How come that all seems clean, but it still smells musky. No matter how clean you keep it, the old musty smell still lingers around. The answer is microbial volatile organic compounds or so-called (mVOCs). When mold, mildew, bacteria, biofilm, and other biological growths decay, they emit these gases that we identify as old house smell. Especially if you have an older house where you have a lot of this biological growth that can and will decay over time, one more reason for this is that old houses were a lot darker and built with no regard for ventilation, which creates great environments for bacteria. Especially houses that were built in the early 1900s have this issue. There is a good chance that your home has decaying bacteria growth if you live in an older house. Even if your house is not that old, decaying bacteria growth may be present in damp areas such as the crawl space, basement, or attic. Moisture buildup can be caused by leaky pipes, damaged roofs, high humidity, and dirt in the crawlspace. Mold and mildew can grow in damp areas and places with stagnant air. Mold and mildew can hide behind walls and in other places that are not visible. Worse, the mold odor can linger long after it has died, leaving behind carpets, curtains, and upholstery. This makes the entire house smell like mildew.

Mold and Mildew Can Harm Your Health

The health effects of inhaling mold are documented, and reports of exposure to mVOCs have been linked to headaches, eye and nasal irritation, dizziness, fatigue, and nausea,” even if there’s no visible mold growth. Some cases even showed extreme reactions, including disorientation or neurological effects. All this can be especially aggravating to asthma or allergies patients.

How To Get Rid Of The House Smell?

The first step to take care of this problem is an inspection. You need to hire an inspector who can inspect your house, including the crawl space and basement. He will identify the sports where the mold is in the most critical condition. Mold inspections can usually cost from $300 to $500 for small to medium homes. A larger home can go up to $900. Mold removal costs are separate, of course, and the removal can be quite pricey. Depending on how severe the problem is, you can pay anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars to get rid of the old house smell. If your mold problem is really severe, you need to leave it to the professionals. Yes, you can get some products that will remove the mold and maybe help short term. What you need to worry are the mold spores. The spores are not so easily removable. Even if you clean out the infected area, over time, the spores will inhibit the growth again. So in the process of mold removal, it is imperative to keep mold spores from spreading. Professionals sometimes use physical blockades or even negative pressure to keep spores from spreading to other areas of your home.. After fixing up the area, you will also need to remove any moldy walls or pipes. So replacing those can also be a cost you may not expect. They will also clean the area using antifungal and microbiological products. Then a proper vacuuming is in order and a final touch of sanitization.

DIY Tips To Remove Mold

diy tips
There are some things that you can do to prevent the creation of organic thingies in the dark places in your home. So let’s list some of them.
  • Make sure to regularly air out your house. Open all windows and doors and let the airflow through the house. Cross-breezes should be encouraged.
  • Change the filter in your air conditioner. Another reason for the musky smell next to the mVOCs is dirty and old filters. Make a schedule to change the filter every few months or years for any HVAC appliance that you are currently using (furnace, standalone HEPA filter).
  • Fix any leaks in your home—a small but very important home improvement. You need to fix all leaks in your home. This includes fixing the roof, checking windows and doors, and replacing old and leaky pipes–can Water is a big cause of mold and mildew.
  • Drywall and wallpaper are known for their ability to absorb smells. To seal your walls, remove old wallpaper and apply an oil-based mold-resistant paint.
  • Keep your carpet in good condition. A quick inspection will reveal if your carpet is stained by pets or mildew. Although professional carpet cleaning can be sufficient, it is often necessary to remove old carpeting.
  • Clean the air ducts. It is possible that the ductwork of your older home was never cleaned.
  • Concrete can be used to seal dirt floors. Unpaved crawlspaces can make your house smell musty after rain or earthy in hot, humid conditions. You can hire a contractor to put concrete on the dirt floor and seal it.
So with this, we hope you learned a bit more about the old house small and how to get rid of it the right way!

Are you wondering will San Diego home prices will drop in 2023? You came to the right place to get data-driven information to help you understand what is happening in the local real estate market. While no one has a crystal ball, we can utilize the best data available to have a good idea of what is ahead for home values in San Diego. To understand this properly we need to take a look at how we got here after two years of rapid appreciation in San Diego. 

Interest rates have a lot to do with San Diego home prices, let’s explain why

Most homes are purchased using a mortgage, typically 80-97% of the value of the property is funded through a mortgage. Throughout 2020 until the spring of 2022 rates were at all time record lows (2.6-3.5%). Rates so low they’d never happened before and these record low rates meant the cost to borrow funds had never been cheaper. Cheap money means your buying power increases.

This caused several things to occur that increased demand for houses in San Diego

1. More people could afford to buy a house in San Diego, Increasing demand.

2. It lowered the monthly payment for a house, so you could pay more for a house in San Diego and your payment would stay the same as before rates were lowered.

3. People could refinance their existing homes, withdrawing equity and they used that money to buy more real estate, increasing demand.

COVID19 impacted demand of San Diego homes too, here’s how.

COVID19 surprised everyone and it altered the behavior of people in a way that increased the demand for houses locally and nationally. Here is how COVID19 encouraged people to buy homes in San Diego

COVID19 related events that increased demand in San Diego

1. Remote work encouraged people to relocate to places they wanted to live, especially nice climates like San Diego.  

2. Families wanted a home to live in to avoid living in close quarters in apartments and condos during the pandemic.

3. People retired early, changed jobs, and made big life changes to relocate to nicer areas for outdoor activities.

4. Student loan payments were paused, increasing disposable income making it easier to fund the purchase of a home.

5. No travel, limited eating out and opportunities to spend caused increasing savings and people chose to spend that money on a house.

6. Less people sold their homes during the pandemic, restricting supply and increasing demand for house buyers.



High demand, limited supply, growing savings and record low rates meant prices go up.

The perfect storm of increased disposable income, lowered interest rates and increased demand to own a home meant home prices could go up 30% and the payment would look the same as a home in 2019 with a higher rate mortgage. Homeowners didn’t care if the price was higher, the payment was the same. This drove San Diego real estate values up over 38% in two years.


The shift that occurred in 2022 that is leading to prices dropping, fast.

Many of the events that led to rapid price increases are no longer present. Interest rates the single most influential factor in the rapid increases of San Diego house prices, are increasing at the fastest rate in US history. This will impact how you can sell your house and for what amount.

Here is a table to show how much impact the changes in interests rates factor into what a house will cost you in San Diego. Your payment on a $700,000 home has increased 57% over last year. Home prices must come down. 


When rates go up, prices go down. Its just that simple. 

San Diego home prices increased artificially due to the low supply and record low interest rates. Now that both of those factors are no longer present. Real estate values in San Diego are dropping, fast. We have not seen interest rates this high since 2007 and they have never been raised this fast in US history. There are some mitigating factors but this table shows just how much difference a payment would be to make sense at the new rates. 

A $700,000 home in San Diego with a 3% interest rate has a payment of $2951

To reach the same monthly payment at 7% interest rate that San Diego home would need to cost $550,000 



With homes unaffordable due to interest rates, sales are plummeting. 

In summary, are San Diego home prices dropping? Yes. There is an increase in supply, a drop in demand and interest rates can no longer support the prices. No one knows how much San Diego home prices will go down, but the table listed above shows it could be as much as 25-30%

If you have any questions or would like to review the data used here to assess the San Diego home prices please don’t hesitate to reach out. 

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