Scented Candles Can Backfire

Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX 1st Class 0542725

Scented Candles Can Backfire

Often, a scented candle or wax warmers can make a home feel more welcoming and cozy, but beware...some of your clients are going WAY overboard.  I walked into a home the other day that had such a strong floral scent, my client and I immediately got a headache. 

Not only does it make a buyer uncomfortable, it also makes you wonder what the owner is covering up (even when they aren't actually covering anything up).  Often, the owner of the home is so used to the scent that they don't even notice it, but it is worth stopping by your listings every once in a while to make sure you aren't turning people away inadvertently.  Every little thing counts...especially in this market.

Posted by




Brian Worrell - GRI, CNE
Bayou Properties Realty  |   The Worrell Team, Realtors
Cell  281-948-7042  |  Fax  832-514-7029  |


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Comments (19)

Maureen Bray Portland OR Home Stager ~ Room Solutions Staging
Room Solutions Staging, Portland OR - Portland, OR
"Staging Consultations that Sell Portland Homes"

Good point, Brian -- we don't advise using scented candles in a home for sale, for that very reason.  Too many people are sensitive to those heavy scents.

Oct 29, 2011 11:45 AM
League City, TX - Worrell Team, REALTORS, GRI, CNE
RE/MAX 1st Class - League City, TX


Thanks for the comment and your opinion!  I like it when a staging professional can give me some confirmation that what I'm suggesting makes good sense and scents...  ;-)  Cheers!



Oct 29, 2011 11:52 AM
Krystal Knott
Christie's International Real Estate - Summit Colorado - Breckenridge, CO
Breckenridge CO Real Estate & All Summit County CO

Brian, great post.  Scented candles can be the worst especially if it is a smell the potential buyer can't stand.  It's hard to look at a house when you can't stand the smell.  --Krystal

Oct 29, 2011 11:53 AM
League City, TX - Worrell Team, REALTORS, GRI, CNE
RE/MAX 1st Class - League City, TX

Justin and Krystal,

I sure agree... that's about as bad as going to the mall ;-)   Cheers!



Oct 29, 2011 12:02 PM
Ralph Janisch ABR CRS Broker
Janisch & Co. - Conroe, TX
Selling Northwest Houston to good people like you!

I agree..... Some folks do go way overboard on the candles, Scentsy, and other odor products.  My opinion is just a hint of a scent is just about right!  That's only.... if you must do a scent.

Oct 29, 2011 12:25 PM
Elizabeth Birmingham
EB Realty - Grand Junction, CO

I use a product called ODO BAN for homes that smell bad. It has a very clean smell. The odor is not offencive and you would not think "cover up" It does however cover up smoke smell and cat pee. 

Oct 29, 2011 12:26 PM
Mary Macy
Top Agents Atlanta Metro - Roswell, GA
Top Agents Atlanta Metro

Cleaning used to work, having a very clean house, painting if the house has odors removes the odors.  I hate sweet smelling stuff that makes your eyes water and you can still smell the odors under the sweet smell, good post, I agree.

Oct 29, 2011 05:42 PM
League City, TX - Worrell Team, REALTORS, GRI, CNE
RE/MAX 1st Class - League City, TX

Jeanne and Ralph,

I couldn't agree more.  My smell test is, if I can smell it, it's probably too strong...  I have a terrible sense of smell.  I think my kid's diapers broke my nose several years back, and it never recovered!  Thanks for the comments!


Oct 29, 2011 06:33 PM
League City, TX - Worrell Team, REALTORS, GRI, CNE
RE/MAX 1st Class - League City, TX


Wow, sounds like an amazing find...  Thanks for sharing that!  And thanks for the comments!


Oct 29, 2011 06:34 PM
League City, TX - Worrell Team, REALTORS, GRI, CNE
RE/MAX 1st Class - League City, TX


There's nothing worse than an attempted cover-up!  The smell of smokey flowers, or moldy vanilla...   Thanks for the comments! Cheers!



Oct 29, 2011 06:36 PM
Sally Weatherley
Vancouver Home Staging, Home Stager Vancouver, B.C

Brian - I'm getting a headache just imagining how that house must have smelled with those scented candles.  I'm with Maureen - we don't recommend any type of artificial scent for all the reasons you stated.  You are so right.  A clean home is key.

Oct 30, 2011 06:31 AM
League City, TX - Worrell Team, REALTORS, GRI, CNE
RE/MAX 1st Class - League City, TX

Sally, it's good to hear so much validation on this.  I think we are all in agreement here!  Cheers!

Thanks for the comments!


Oct 30, 2011 07:17 AM
Shar Sitter
Rooms With Style - Minneapolis, MN
Home Staging and Redesign Minneapolis/ St. Paul, M

You are so correct Brian! I discuss odors with every one of my clients and tell them a buyer doesn't want to smell anything but clean when they walk in. No cat litter, no musty basement odor and no fake smells.

Oct 30, 2011 04:26 PM
Heather Cook
Beyond the Stage Homes - Kitchener, ON
Delivering beautifully staged spaces

Great post Brian and its one of my pet peeves about homes up for sale. So many use those chemical scents and they are almost always overpowering AND they don't often smell like what they're supposed to!

One thing we tend to use are coffee beans - especially in centerpieces in a kitchen or dining area. Coffee beans leave a lovely scent and cleanse the air of other scents making them an ideal choice for staging. I like to work with vanilla hazelnut coffee beans because they smell just gorgeous and not at all fake.

Nov 01, 2011 10:54 AM
Ginger Foust
Certified Staging Professional - Oakhurst, CA
Home Stager Oakhurst CA, Dream Interior Redesign & Staging

Brian, good points.  Just another example of how one persons preferences are not necessarily a good idea when offering a home for sale.  We frequently use candles in our stagings but we clip out the wicks and it's in our contract that they're not to be burned.  They are simply there for display and to set a mood. 

Heather....hazelnut coffee is one of my fav's to drink and to smell, just wish that the scent would last longer! 

Nov 03, 2011 01:11 PM
Kathy Streib
Cypress, TX
Home Stager/Redesign

Brian- these are excellent points.  I staged a home once that had 5 dogs, 2 over 85 pounds.  Every room had a lit candle in it.  I told him, as I tell every seller, that candles are not only a fire hazard but also the buyer begins to wonder "what's up?".  Like Heather I'll use coffee beans too.

Nov 05, 2011 03:59 PM
Michelle Finnamore
Toronto GTA, Alliston, Newmarket - Vaughan, ON
Preparing your property for sale

HI Brian, I have to agree 100% with your thoughts on this one. I have asthma and those candles or night lights plugged in throughout the home actually trigger my asthma and I have to ask clients to remove them before I can continue my consultation. In Canada the latest numbers are that 25% of Canadians have a breathing issue. With that in mind, scented anything is looking for a way to push a  lot of buyers back out the front door before they can see the property.

In many of our public spaces and especially in hospitals there are no scents allowed and for good reason. Why not make the effort in a house for sale as well.

My suggestion is to burn bees wax candles if you must burn anything at all as they smell like honey.

Nov 06, 2011 08:12 AM
Wendy Tomm
Beyond the Walls - East St Paul, MB
CCSP, RESA-PRO, BBB - Wpg Realtors

As a home stager no scent is better than what you had experienced.  Most of the stagers are on the same page about this. Thanks for a great post.

Nov 11, 2011 03:18 AM