HMMM It smells nice in here!

Does it matter if the property has a nice or nasty smell?

An important discovery is that unpleasant odours tend to have more of an impact on moods than pleasant odours (Ehrlichman and Bastone, 1992). Relaxation Theffects of fragrance can have a significant impact on relaxation and physical arousal. … Certain smells can also enhance relaxation and reduce stress.

Good BadAccording to the above paragraph it does. Here is a great read on the subject.


The following research focuses on fragrance (sense of smell) as a primary driver in consumer choice. The fragrance industry is also discussed, along with the impact of atmospherics and the surrounding environment on the consumer. A case study on bar soaps shows how changes to the product fragrance or packaging can affect the purchase decision.

In my experience I use 3 simple staging solutions for quick fixes. Keep these in mind:

  • Sight – vision appeal – nicely furnished or painted and clean if empty
  • Sound – relaxing and enjoyable – quiet jazz or smooth rock/jazz (unless you need to make another statement with music)
  • Scent – the longest lasting of emotional triggers

What scent do you prefer?

Some of the worst scents for real estate open houses: Potpourri, chocolate-chip cookies, gourmet foods, and other baked goods, according to the study. On the other hand, some of the best smells: Lemon, green tea, cedar, pine, basil, and vanilla. Realtor Magazine 2013

The study, conducted while Spangenberg was dean of the College of Business at Washington State University, recommends using simple scents such as:

Citrus. Citrus fruits like lemons and oranges smell fresh, and they’re a more durable fruit with longer-lasting scents that are particularly fragrant.

Herbs. Using scented herbs can also bring a refreshing, familiar smell to the nose. Instilling rosemary, thyme or basil in the home when selling, especially in the kitchen, will create a warm and welcoming feeling for buyers.

Vanilla. There is something about vanilla that makes the room feel cozy. Grab a vanilla candle or make your own scent using vanilla beans or extract. You can use almond or mint extract to bring in a fresh scent as well.

Green Tea. Refresh your mind with a crisp, lively aroma of green tea that is used to help restore harmony.

Pine and cedar. Pine and cedar are two fragrant trees that can be used to create a complex aroma, these are especially nice to use during the holidays and winter months.

These scents are easier to sort out, less distracting, and thus more conducive to spending. When deciding what scent works best for your home, take a cue from your location. For example, you can use pine and cedar for a house in the woods, but not at the beach.

One of my favorite scents, as home stager, to use throughout a home is citrus cilantro, which comes in a variety of products that diffuses the scent. Consider using products like these in the home:

Candles. Wax or oil-based candles strategically placed around the home can quickly freshen up the air in the room. Remove candle wrappers or choose ones that can be easily displayed with other decor, or that a seller can place inside other decorative pieces to hide the candle. Just remember the candles are lit – don’t put them in a place where they can easily be knocked over.

Reed diffusers. This is a great product to use in a bathroom. The scented oil is released into the air through reed sticks over time. However, a reed diffuser can get overpowering in small rooms, and should be replaced when the smell dissipates.

Simmer pots. A simmer pot can easily make the home smell amazing. To use this product, mix a few scented ingredients with water, then place them in a pan on the stove. Try this before your next open house.

Deodorizing disks. These will stop bad smells in smaller places like in a shoe closet, in the laundry basket or under your sink.

Potpourri. Potpourri is a mixture of dried petals and spices that can be placed in a bowl or small sacks around the home to freshen up the air.

Oil plug-ins. There are a number of products on the market that you can plug into an electrical socket to dispense aromas into the air. The scented oil releases throughout thirty days, so place this in the entryway and hallways to welcome buyers into each space.

Of course, whatever scent you decide on, remember to first find the source of any bad odors. If you can’t detect anything – which most sellers can’t because they’re so use to the smell – then recruit a friend to take a whiff.

Pamela Simons, MBA, SRS

Author of Passion And Mindset for Real Estate


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