Sensory Appeal Is Just As Important As Curb Appeal

Home Stager with Sharon Tara Transformations

Preparing your home for sale? 

You are not alone. The spring market is upon us and many homeowners are hoping to find a buyer. 

To guarantee you make the best impression on buyers I suggest you keep in mind that "sensory" appeal is just as important as "curb" appeal.



The visual appearance of a home prompts potential buyers more than any other factor.



Once homeowners step inside, they decide almost immediately whether or not they want to buy your home. It is essential that they be greeted with a spotless, ready-to-move-into home.

Clean or freshly painted walls and spotlessly clean or new carpeting make the best impression. Hardwood floors must be in excellent condition. The best choice for floor tile is a light neutral, in good condition.

Furniture should be arranged to define space and function and at the same time guide the eye towards positive features of the home and away from the negative.



Light is the second most quoted reason for choosing a home.

Make sure all lights work and, where necessary, replace light bulbs with a higher wattage.

Replace dark or worn lampshades with new, sheer or white shades.

Paint walls and dark woodwork in light, neutral paint.

Replace heavy, dark window treatments with lighter sheer curtains.

Clean all windows inside and out so that the sun can shine in.  



Nothing turns away potential buyers faster than unpleasant smells.


Make buyers feel welcome and comfortable by greeting them with a pleasant aroma.

A few drops of vanilla warmed in the oven yields the same result as baked cookies, triggering a comfort response. 

Remove litter boxes.

Keep trash can clean at all times.

Open windows before a showing when possible. 



New Towels



Texture, added throughout the house, is appealing to the eye and to the touch and will add an element of style which translates into perceived value.

Help buyers feel comfortable and at home by keeping the temperature warm in the winter and cool in the summer.





Creaking floors, dripping faucets, and noisy heating systems could be a cause for concern to a buyer.

Neighborhood noises such as traffic and barking dogs can be distracting.

Playing soft jazz or classical music can help make the home feel more relaxing and help buyers to concentrate on the positive features of each room.


 A Buyer's perceived value of your home is based on the reaction of their senses.

Comments (36)

Mimi Foster
Falcon Property Solutions - Colorado Springs, CO
Voted Colorado Springs Best Realtor

 Such a succinct article. This is so true and you hit the highlights perfectly. With a little vision and help from a stager, it's easy to make a good first impression. 

Mar 15, 2020 05:50 AM
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667,, Broker, eXp Realty - Kalispell, MT
The House Kat

I totally agree with everything you said. Senses can make or break a house sale.

Mar 15, 2020 06:38 AM
Sheila Anderson
Referral Group Incorporated - East Brunswick, NJ
The Real Estate Whisperer Who Listens 732-715-1133

Good morning Sharon. As usual you are right on it and in it too. Nicely done!

Mar 15, 2020 06:47 AM
Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
New Hampshire Home Stager

Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD  A couple of years ago I attended an open house and as soon as I walked in the door the most horrible smell hit me. A nasty cat litter box smell.

The agent was sitting in her car when I arrived and only came into the house because I was there. When I commented on the smell she said..."that is why I'm sitting in the car". 

Mar 15, 2020 07:19 AM
Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
New Hampshire Home Stager

Kathy Streib  Thank you!

Mimi Foster  Thank you! Sometimes it doesn't take much to make a big difference.

Kat Palmiotti  Thank you!

Sheila Anderson  I appreciate that. Thank you.

Mar 15, 2020 07:54 AM
Christine Wade
Christine Wade - Townsend, MT
Operations Strategist / Online Business Manager

I agree  with sensory appeal as you define it...but I do wish people would not paint over dark woodwork, assuming it was stained, there are so few beautiful craftsman details left in the world. Of course, that is just personal preference...but make it beautiful for sure, to ensure that the potential buyer is not thinking about what deferred maintenance may or may not be lurking within those walls. Very nice post, Sharon!

Mar 15, 2020 11:06 AM
Grant Schneider
Performance Development Strategies - Armonk, NY
Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes

Hi Sharon Tara - pleasing all of the senses including the eye is certainly the best way to improve odds of finding a buyer.

Mar 15, 2020 11:42 AM
Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
New Hampshire Home Stager

Christine Wade - Real Estate Virtual Assistant  Thank you!  I agree with you that there are some really nice homes with original dark woodwork that I would not recommend painting.

However, many times painting dark wood is a huge improvement that will really help sell the home.

Grant Schneider  It is something for sellers to consider when preparing their home. It can make a big difference.

Mar 15, 2020 12:45 PM
John Henry, Florida Architect
John Henry Masterworks Design International, Inc. - Orlando, FL
Residential Architect, Luxury Custom Home Design

Light and scent are indeed one of the best influencers.  Light from a large living room window that captures the view of a pool and lake beyond hit us when we walked into the house we currently own.  There were sparse to zero furnishings in fact.  It was all about the view.  The house had just about all the other hot buttons too.

Mar 15, 2020 01:49 PM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Hi Sharon:

This is chock full of great information for sellers. and those of us working with them to help bring their homes to the market. Visual is, of course, in the MLS, but stepping through that door means that all the senses have to be impressed in a positive way!


Mar 15, 2020 08:27 PM
Dorie Dillard Austin TX
Coldwell Banker Realty ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
NW Austin ~ Canyon Creek and Spicewood/Balcones

Good morning Sharon Tara,

I'm so glad that Kathy Streib featured your post in her "Ah-ha" moments for the week. When a buyer steps though the front door in order to capture them its most always done by appealing to their senses! 

Mar 16, 2020 06:06 AM
Rebecca Gaujot, Realtor®
Lewisburg, WV
Lewisburg WV, the go to agent for all real estate

I couldn't agree more, Sharon... "A Buyer's perceived value of your home is based on the reaction of their senses."

Mar 16, 2020 07:55 PM
Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
New Hampshire Home Stager

John Henry, Florida Architect  100%  agree.  Too many people miss the point of highlighting the money shot when they have so much furniture and heavy window treatments blocking it.  Less is more! Less stuff = more likely to sell for asking or higher!

Jeff Dowler, CRS  Thank you! It's so much more than just the visual when it comes to appealing to buyers.

Dorie Dillard CRS GRI ABR  I'm glad she featured it too. I appreciate being included in her weekly post!

Rebecca Gaujot, Realtor®  thank you! I hope the information is helpful!




Mar 17, 2020 01:13 PM
Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089
Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers - Haiku, HI
Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info

Yes, that first impression can make it or break it, so be sure to cover all bases when showing the house.

Mar 17, 2020 08:51 PM
Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
New Hampshire Home Stager

Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089  When I was house hunting I walked away from two homes before even going inside. The way the yard looks speaks volumes about what the owners idea of maintenance is. You really have to prepare and present all aspects of the house.

Mar 18, 2020 08:02 AM
Anne Corbin
Long and Foster - Lake Anna - Spotsylvania, VA
Serving Lake Anna & Central Virginia

Great reminders that we need to see, hear and feel the home! Comforting and relaxing environment sets the mood.

Mar 18, 2020 10:23 PM
Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
New Hampshire Home Stager

Anne Corbin  Well said. Thank you!

Mar 19, 2020 12:03 PM
Jan Green
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

Smart post!  We never get a second chance at a first impression :)

Mar 20, 2020 10:07 AM
Mary Hutchison, SRES, ABR
Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate-Kansas City Homes - Kansas City, MO
Experienced Agent in Kansas City Metro area

Like you, I prefer to have a couple of (freshly cleaned) windows openduring a showing, especially in the spring.  A big turn off for me and my buyers are : animal smells, strong cooking odors (like Indian spices) and plug in scents.

Mar 20, 2020 03:29 PM
Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
New Hampshire Home Stager

Jan Green  Thank you! That will always be the case.

Mary Hutchison, SRES, ABR  The plug-ins get me every time. I know immediately because my body instantly reacts. I've had to leave several homes because of it.

We put an offer on a house once with the stipulation that all the plug-ins would be removed for the second showing. When we arrived I knew they hadn't done it, but the agent insisted they did. I insisted they had missed some and sure enough after an intense search throughout the house we found two they had missed hidden behind furniture.

Mar 21, 2020 08:24 AM

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