smell of cookies

Because a home showing is primarily about creating an experience, convincing the potential buyers not just intellectually but emotionally that they should buy it, sensory details matter. You want to use every tool at your disposal, from sights (Curb appeal! Staging! Lack of clutter!) to sounds (noisy pets, for example) to the subject of this post: smells.

All of us have stepped into a home that smelled inviting, whether it was because of fresh air flowing through windows or a hearty pot roast cooking in the oven. Your goal, as a seller, is to make sure your home offers that kind of aroma.

How can you do this?

Most importantly: CLEAN!
Ridding your home of any bad odors is half the battle when it comes to smells. For tips on that topic, see this Buy Owner Blog article, “Eliminating Odors”. When you decide to sell, it’s a good idea, right at the beginning to do a thorough, top-to-bottom cleaning of your residence. (If you’re interested in making your own cleaning products, click here.) Beyond that, here are some specific strategies:

Are you a smoker? You must get rid of the smell. There are several ways to do this, but you’ll have to get aggressive. In addition to a thorough cleaning (scrubbing, washing, etc.), you will probably want to repaint the walls with a shellac-based primer. It may also be necessary to replace the carpeting or, at the least, have it professionally cleaned. After you’ve finished eliminating any trace of smoke residue from your home, ask a friend to come over, one who is not a smoker preferably, and ask if he or she can still smell something. If not, you’ve done your job correctly. Note: for the duration of your home listing, you should not smoke inside. At all.

Do you have pets? The people who end up buying your home could be huge animal lovers, but, trust us, they don’t want to smell yours. As with the smoke smell described above, your goal is to completely eliminate any trace of pet odor completely. Pick up any droppings in the yard and dispose of them, too. Buyers should be imagining summer barbecues, not scraping waste off their shoes.

Another good idea: Add Fragrance!
When your home has been thoroughly cleaned, you won’t need to add a lot of fragrance to make it show well. If the weather’s nice, open the windows to let fresh air flow inside. You can also add other homey scents, but remember some potential buyers could have allergies or sensitivities, and, if so, overdoing fragrances could have the opposite effect you want it to.

To get your creative juices flowing, here are a few suggested smells you may want to use:

Baking: Whip up a batch of cookies or a cake before the showing, and offer it to buyers when it comes out of the oven. With this idea, you’re engaging both sense of smell and taste!

Citrus: You could use orange or lemon/lime plug-ins, of course, but for a more subtle effect, place a bowl of fresh citrus on the table in the kitchen or a living area. Bonus: What’s more eye-catching that a beautiful bowl of fresh fruit?

Scented candles: Be careful with this option, and make sure any candle scents complement, rather than detract from each other.

Fresh-cut flowers: In season, why not pick some fresh flowers from your garden to display inside? It makes a great conversation piece for buyers and another way to highlight your home’s landscaping.