The nose knows , especially when selling your home

Real Estate Broker/Owner 01293735 CA

The smell of a home is so important, especially when selling. Have you ever walked in to a home and wondered what the horrible smell is that is invading your nose?  Maybe the smell of a wet dog, dirty laundry or burnt popcorn is the first thing you notice when walking through the door? Or maybe walking into a bathroom , you are overwhelmed by the smell of a sweet candle or air freshner?

The smell of a home is so important, especially when you go to put it on the market.  Gone are the days when buyers want to smell fake products, strong floral scents or anything that appears to be covering up smells of animals, smoke or trash. Putting a tray of cookies in the oven before a real eatate showing just does not cut it for todays buyers.

So what are buyers smelling for? A clean and fresh smelling home, pure and simple.  Remember we are driven by our senses and a major sense is the sense of smell.  So when walking into a clean, fresh smelling home buyers get the feeling that the home is clean but also maintained. If the home smells good, then it encourages buyers to continue looking around then their other senses kick in, such as sight and sound. If the home has an unappealing smell, buyers do not spend time lingering  and may miss out on a true gem.

There are so many things a person can do to maintain a clean non overbearing smell. Here are a  few we have tried with our listings besides the basics of opening windows, taking out the trash and putting fido outside.

Lemon in the garbage disposal for a fresh citrus scent

Beer in the oven for the smell of baked bread

Boil cinnamon sticks with a little vanilla

So what have you found that works besides good old fashioned elbow grease, soap and water?



Posted by


The Lori Bowers Group

A boutique Real Estate Office, with a full service team to serve all your Real Estate Needs

La Quinta, Palm Desert, Indio, Rancho Mirage, Coachella , Indian Wells and the surrounding Palm Springs Area.

78120 Calle Estado Suite 103

Old Town La Quinta

La Quinta, CA 92253

Phone: (760)8311595• Fax: (760)771-5327


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  1. Kathy Schowe 04/08/2010 02:17 PM
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Duane Murphy
Expert Real Estate Partners LLC - Appleton, WI
Broker- Owner-Real Estate -

Great post Lori-  I always address smells during a listing and prior to showings!

Apr 06, 2010 04:12 AM #1
Michele Reneau
Certified Staging Professional (CSP) Elite Instructor - Summerville, SC
Realtor, GRI ~ Charleston, SC Relocation Experts Team

I love citrus, but sometimes neutral is good too. I think sprinkling baking soda on carpet absorbs a lot of orders. Of course, don't forget to vaccum it after setting for a while.

Apr 06, 2010 04:17 AM #2
Ron and Alexandra Seigel
Napa Consultants - Carpinteria, CA
Luxury Real Estate Branding, Marketing & Strategy


Great suggestions on the natural smells.  I cringe every time I see a Febreeze commercial.  A clean home is best.

Apr 06, 2010 04:20 AM #3
Jeff Craig
Allen Tate Realtors - Greensboro, NC
Greensboro/Jamestown/Guilford: Realtor/CSP/CNRS

Bad smells can turn buyers off instantly, no matter how nice the home is.

Apr 06, 2010 04:24 AM #4
Lori Bowers

I have been using this at home too- amazing the nice comments from my firends when they come over about how great  my home is! People love a nice smelling home. I just ran across the beer in the oven idea and was amazed how well it worked!


Apr 06, 2010 04:43 AM #5
John Mulkey - Waleska, GA
Housing Guru

The sense of smell is a powerful emotional "trigger," and can bring back fond memories of childhood or the aroma of a public restroom.  Most home owners are unaware of how their home smells, and it's always a good idea to get an "unbiased" opinion before placing it on the market.  While artificial agents may help cover unplesant odors, fresh and clean is best,

Apr 06, 2010 05:09 AM #6
Not In Real Estate Any Longer
Autaugaville, AL

I agree neutral is best. Buyers want to put themselves into the home, not smell the occupants that are already there.

And don't get me started on Febreze!!!! There's one commercial here in Canada that actually has a REALTOR telling everyone she preps her houses for sale with it! UGH!!!

Apr 06, 2010 08:22 AM #7
Michael A. Caruso
Surterre Properties - Laguna Niguel, CA


By far the worst smell is cat urine, dirty ashtrays and heavy floral scents that only 'add' to the other smells. A clean house, with clean carpets, clean litter boxes, fresh air or freshly cut flowers will make most houses smell good. 

Apr 06, 2010 09:03 AM #9
Mary Strang
Viroqua, WI

Yummy Bear Bread!... seriously smelly homes are the number one reasons some do not sell.

Apr 07, 2010 12:05 PM #10
Kathy Schowe
California Lifestyle Realty - La Quinta, CA
La Quinta, California 760-333-8886

Opening up the doors and windows.... is always a good way to get things refreshed!  Good post!  Kathy

Apr 08, 2010 02:12 PM #11
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