What's That Smell? Part II: Using the Five Senses to Sell Your Home

Home Stager with Simply Stunning Staging

Yesterday, we talked about how the five senses, specifically smell can affect a buyer’s perception of a home. My own home smelled of cinnamon and spice from the apple, pumpkin, and pecan pies baking in the oven the day we first viewed our current home. We barely noticed the faults in the house because the sweet perception those pies made on our senses was almost overpowering.

Every buyer should feel very comfortable when viewing your home. Invasive odors such as pet dander, old food, garbage, horse manure (if you are out in the country), strong perfumes, etc. can make a buyer feel uncomfortable in your home. So what do you do when a smell permeates the house? I have used a couple dozen solutions. Here are a few:

  1. Open windows and doors across the house so you get a cross breeze to help flush out smells. This is especially true for vacant homes that most likely have a musty smell. Even as few as 15 minutes before an open house can make a big difference. 
  2. Use a spray that eliminates odors and leaves a very soft smell (i.e., Febreze). Make sure you check the product to see if it is an “air” spray or “fabric and carpet” spray so as not to damage any fabrics or carpets. 
  3. If needed, paint with a low Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) rating. Some paints now actually help eliminate other odors in the house. 
  4. Buy scented flameless candles, which are a new trend now for safety sake. Do not use any overpowering scents that might offend a potential buyer. 
  5. Bake a pie or cookies just before or during an open house. If that's not possible, Gold Canyon has a Sugar Cookie scent that smells like the real thing. Check it out here: (http://www8.mygc.com/Default.aspx?alias=www8.mygc.com/cbarretta26)

 Staging is about creating a comfortable, warm, inviting perception for any home.

Simply Stunning Staging

simple changes – stunning results


Comments (6)

Pat Champion
John Roberts Realty - Eustis, FL
Call the "CHAMPION" for all your real estate needs

Great topic the smell of the house can be distracting and to solve it is sometimes an easy solution.

Aug 17, 2010 10:36 AM
Joan Whitebook
BHG The Masiello Group - Nashua, NH
Consumer Focused Real Estate Services

I personally hate all of the sprays since they make me sneeze.  Cooking something like cookies is a great idea... along with the other tips.

Aug 17, 2010 10:37 AM
Jay Lloyd
Cape Coral Florida - Cape Coral, FL
Allpro Home Inspection

Hi Susan, Thanks for the suggestions. Scent is a powerful factor in a home. I've inspected many with the stench of cigarettes, pets, and even one where the homeowner cooked cabbage nightly. Oddly, most homeowners don't even know their house stinks. jay

Aug 17, 2010 10:37 AM
Team Honeycutt
Allen Tate - Concord, NC

Great information. The smell of a home is so important.  Thanks for sharing.

Aug 17, 2010 10:38 AM
Wendy Hayden
Photographer, Home Stager, ePRO - Richmond, VA
Chesterfield, Richmond & Powahatan

Activated Charcoal or an ionizer also can be big helps in eliminating smells without replacing them with another scent that other might find offensive.

Aug 17, 2010 10:42 AM
Karen Searle, Home On Display
Peterborough, ON

Hi Susan,  I completely agree that many potential buyers can be turned off a property due to issues with odours.  It is a delicate topic to raise with home owners but one that is absolutely necessary.  I agree with Wendy that using a fresh air machine or ionizer which neutralizes the odours is a very good plan.  Many people are allergic or at least sensitive to any type of perfume and could react to scented candles, etc.

Sep 16, 2010 04:29 AM