5 Smells That Sell

Posted by Trent Corbin on Tuesday, June 12th, 2018 at 7:42am.

Appeal to your potential buyers’ sense of smell.

Redbud group candles burning in home

To-do lists can get pretty long when you’re getting ready to put up your for-sale sign. While tasks like decluttering, painting, and yard maintenance ensure your home is visually appealing to potential buyers, there are tasks you might not have given much thought to–tasks that will help your home appeal to a buyers sense of smell.

Believe it or not, the way your house smells can either deter or tempt a buyer to buy.

Follow these guidelines to be sure the smell of your house triggers only positive emotions and a quick sale:

1. Clean and Neutral

First and foremost, your house shouldn’t just look clean, it should smell clean (and we don’t mean like bleach).

The deep clean you give your house while getting it ready to go on the market should take care of any minor unwanted scents and leave behind a fresh, neutralize scent visitors will appreciate.

Choose your cleaning products with care. Unscented, natural, eco-friendly products won’t put off harmful toxins or harsh odors (as others tend to do). If you do choose to use a common household cleaning ammonia or bleach-based product, make sure it also has a fresh scent (often lemon) to negate any chemical smell.

You can also try watering down hefty cleaning products to weaken them and prevent lingering detergent, ammonia, or bleach smells–a turn off for any buyer.

2. NO Pet Odors

We love our pets, but we sometimes don’t notice how badly they’ve stunk up our spaces. Though it is not their fault, it is still an issue that needs to be addressed as their smells can be distracting and even deterring.

To gauge whether their stink is noticeable to an outsider, invite a trusted friend into your home who will tell you the truth.

Heavy pet smells might require a little bit more than a deep cleaning. Keep in mind, most popular pet cleaning products are good at masking smells, but don’t eliminate them.

Consider hiring a professional to steam clean the carpets, rugs, and upholstered items in your home as this is where pet odors live. If this doesn’t work, you’ll want to either get rid of or replace these items all together.

Also, hide anything associated with your pet that might hold odors (like toys, litter boxes, pillow beds, crates, etc.) before your showing.

3. Simple and Subtle

A general rule of thumb when choosing a scent for your home is to keep it simple and subtle.

A complex mixture of smells, like potpourri, can distract buyers. Studies show that instead of focusing on whether they want to buy, the buyer’s brain will subconsciously be trying to figure out what the complicated smell is.

In this case, less truly is more. Overpowering scents can divert the attention of the buyer. Subtle smells won't send your buyers brain into overload–allowing them to focus on what’s important—your home!

4. Organic, Single-Note Scents

Once you’ve ousted the bad smells, it's time to bring in the good ones!

Whether you’re burning a candle, using reed diffusers, or using scented oils, choose a single-note, organic, familiar scent–like one of these:

  • Citrus- like orange or lemon. Citrus scents are durable and long-lasting.

  • Herbs- like rosemary, thyme, or basil scents (especially in the kitchen) are refreshing, familiar to the nose, and welcoming.

  • Baked goods- like cinnamon, vanilla, freshly baked bread, or cookies. These scents naturally just smell like ‘home’. (There’s no need to actually bake either. Boil some water and throw a few cinnamon sticks in about an hour before your showing.)

  • Fragrant trees- like pine or cedar. These create warm, comforting aromas in your home.

    It’s important to keep in mind: regardless of what scent you go with, it should be consistent throughout all the rooms in your home.

5. ‘Appropriate’ Scents

Use the aesthetic and feel of your home to choose a well-suited scent.  

For example, if your home is on the beach you might go for a bright scent like lemon. Whereas, if your home has more of a wood cabin feel, stick to a warm scent like cedar to match.

Also, consider the time of year when selecting a scent. If you’re showing your home around the holidays, cinnamon would be a fitting choice.

As we previously mentioned, ensuring your home appeals to a potential buyer’s sense of smell is just as important as appealing to them visually. See our other must do’s before selling your house.

Reach out with any selling questions or if you bake any of those cookies before a showing and need some assistance eating them.


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