Can Aromatherapy Help You Sell More Homes? You Bet!

Real Estate Agent

lavendarThe history of Aromatherapy dates back at least to 4000 BC,  although the term "aromatherapy" was first used in the 1920s by the French chemist René Maurice Gattefossé who accidentally discovered that lavender oil relieves pain and assists in the healing of burns.

Today, Aromatherapy is used in almost every bath and beauty product on the shelf. It is also used by some for healing. As a Realtor® and Accredited Home Staging Specialist, one of my favorite uses is to "Set the Mood" for a sale in Real Estate. Aromatherapy is especially useful for Open Houses or to assist sellers with pet or cooking odors.

Studies have shown that the first thing people notice when they walk into a home is the smell. A strong or unpleasant smell can turn off a buyer immediately. We recently had a very nice home listed in a nice neighborhood and at a good price. The owners however had two large dogs, and even though the home was kept very clean, the pet odor was mentioned by almost every prospective buyer who looked at the home.

Studies have also shown that a buyer's impression of a home is made in the first 30 seconds upon entering and a buy/no buy decision is not far after. Needless to say, this first impression is critical in the sale of a home, and smell is an important part of the experience.

So why not use the buyer's senses to your advantage? It is possible to not only stage a home to be visually appealing and uncluttered but to also stimulate the buyer's other senses - especially their sense of smell.

Set the mood for your home by the use of Essential Oils or candles that include essential oils. If the home is small, you may want to limit the scents to one or possibly two. If the home is larger however, you can set the mood for each of the major areas of the home. Some examples include:

Lavender Oil - Has a calming effect and would be ideal to set the mood for a master bathroom or bedroom.

Bergamot - Has a fresh, sweet, citrus scent that is familiar to many as the flavoring in Earl Gray, would help create the ideal mood for a master bedroom or bathroom.

Lemon or Citrus - Has a clean, refreshing scent and would be great for a kitchen, bathroom, or dining area.

Peppermint - Has a clean, cooling scent and would be great on a hot summer day in the kitchen or main areas of the home.

Balsam Fir - Has a soothing effect and would be great around the holidays in the main areas of the home.

Jasmine - Has a warm, exotic floral fragrance that creates a feeling of "romance", ideal for the master bath or bedroom.

SoldMy favorite way of bringing aromatherapy into the home is through the use of Therapeutic Grade Essential Oils and a cold diffuser. Many oils that you purchase on the shelf are a "perfume" quality and may not have the same desired effects. My favorite essential Oils are from Young Living.

The Diffuser is an effective way to create a subtle "ambiance" in the home without overwhelming the senses. It is important that if you use a diffuser that you choose a "cold" diffuser as some oils actually become toxic when heated. My favorite diffuser is also from Young Living.


Candles with essential oil can also be used for aromatherapy.

Aromatherapy is an effective and low-cost way to create a positive and memorable experience for your potential buyers.


For more information on using aromatherapy to help set the "sales mood" in your home, contact Monica Bourgeau at 503-893-9108.

Comments (21)

Mara Hawks
First Realty Auburn - Auburn, AL
Inactive-2012 REALTOR - Homes for Sale Auburn Real Estate, AL

This is such a great list you've shared...explaining the effects of the different scents. You are definitely right about the first impression---or lasting one!

Jan 05, 2009 01:31 PM
Quad Cities My RealTeam (Mel Foster Co.)
Keith Allen Allborty - Davenport, IA

I'm always looking to add simple things that I can add that might make might listings stand out, Thank you this is great.

Jan 05, 2009 01:45 PM
Barbara Delaney
Park Place REALTORS, Inc. - Roanoke, VA

Dear Kevin and Monica,

Thanks so much for sharing this, especially the resources!

A REALTOR friend of mine says, "If is smells, it won't sell!' It may sell, but for far less.

Many people use scents to cover up bad scents, The sellers can't smell the offending odor and think the house smells fresh.

I have had to leave many listings because of a potpourri, or scented something makes my head scream immediately!

I remember looking at a vacant farmhouse years ago. It reeked of monthballs. I had to go outside while the buyers looked.

Several years later I was showing rural properties again, There was little to show, so this house still on the market was among them. I remembered it as being a dump. When I showed again, I realized it wasn't bad--but it still reeked of moth balls. I found out that mothballs are often used to deter snakes. I can't stand either!!!


Jan 05, 2009 01:46 PM
Sharon Alters
Coldwell Banker Vanguard Realty - 904-673-2308 - Fleming Island, FL
Realtor - Homes for Sale Fleming Island FL

Thanks for sharing this. I use Lampe Bergere which is actually removes unpleasant odors and gives a great scent, but what a great idea to do different scents in different rooms!

Jan 05, 2009 01:46 PM
real estate real estate
Providence, RI

Thank for your the listing. I heard some different opinions about using aroma but I really kind lean toward the pro-aroma side. Great list.

Jan 05, 2009 01:47 PM
Monica Bourgeau
Portland, OR
Business Coaching

Hi Huiting, Sharon, Barbara, Keith, Shellye & Mara, thanks for visiting our blog. Let us know how the aromatherapy works for your next open house! Best wishes :)

Jan 05, 2009 01:54 PM
Troy Erickson AZ Realtor (602) 295-6807
Good Company Real Estate - Chandler, AZ
Your Chandler, Ahwatukee, and East Valley Realtor

I knew that smell is important, but I have typically just used scented candles, cinnamon, or Glade plug-ins.  Now you have enlightened me to explore new aroma's for the home.

Jan 05, 2009 03:38 PM
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

Kevin & Monica, You are definitely right, it's something I notice before anything else.  I thought the nimber one scent people most liked was vanilla--but just hints of it to keep it subtle.

Jan 06, 2009 09:41 AM
Maureen Bray Portland OR Home Stager ~ Room Solutions Staging
Room Solutions Staging, Portland OR - Portland, OR
"Staging Consultations that Sell Portland Homes"

As a professional home stager, I agree that scent is very important in the marketing of a home.  I prefer to remove all traces of scent, however, as we have found that many buyers are allergic to -- or dislike -- a particular scent and we don't want to "turn them off" from being attracted to a property.  While I personally lean towards vanilla and cinnamon scents, I rarely use them.  One product I do use is a natural, chemical-free spray called Pure Citrus in a home that needs something added ... it's very fresh.

Jan 06, 2009 01:02 PM
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher


Jan 07, 2009 09:46 AM
Monica Stanciu
Staged 2 Sell Solutions Inc. - Markham, ON
Staged 2 Sell Solutions, Markham, ON

Hi Kevin and Monica!

As I am very sesitive to lots of fragrancess, I have to agree with Maureen, in staging you don't want to turn off buyers like me when viewing a property. Nothing beats the fresh air coming from the open windows.

Thanks for such great information, I will test these fragrances in my own home to see if they pass my sensitive nose test:)

Jan 07, 2009 11:15 AM
Trisha Lane
Simple Inspiration Home Staging - Portland, OR
Simple Inspiration Portland Oregon

Thank you for the great information.  I did not know about the difference in the oils.  I too tend to stay away from anything that has a strong scent, but have had to use them in the past to help with unpleasent smells in a home.  In one paticular project,  I can remember the listing agent calling me when the ( great smell ) was fading and needed  refreshing.  It actually helped this difficult property sell. 

Jan 07, 2009 01:07 PM
Monica Bourgeau
Portland, OR
Business Coaching

Hi Carole, thanks for the feature!

Hi Monica, Trisha, and Maureen, I think an important part of using aromatherapy is to keep the scent very subtle so as not to offend. Many times air fresheners are too strong but I have found a good quality essential oil and a cold air diffuser on low to be light enought that it won't offend.

Jan 07, 2009 01:20 PM
Reece Mack
Simplicity Home Design, Thousand Oaks, CA - Thousand Oaks, CA

Great information and I totally agree.  I have to admit that when I was searching for a home to buy for myselfI would have a negative feeling toward a house that did not smell good and the last thing you want it to have your buyers remembering your house because of the way it smells and not the way it looks.  

Jan 10, 2009 04:25 PM
Brenda Harmon
Century 21 Beal, Inc College Station, Texas - College Station, TX

I have always heard that vanilla and lavender are the best to use.

I don't use candles or plugins though.  I read that plugins have exploded.  Don't know if this is true or an urban legends but don't want to chance it.

Jan 10, 2009 05:15 PM
Janice Ankrett
Janice Ankrett Home Staging - Burlington, ON
Staging Professional

As a home stager I am very aware of the impact a 'smell' can have on a buyer. My worst experience was a strong smell of dog urine as soom as I entered the home - only to be topped by finding a pile of droppings under the dining table. I tend to advise the client to try to clean away the source rather than mask it. If the house is stale -open the windows. Dog smell - shampoo dog and rugs - buy a new pet bed. The buyer may like the scent you choose or be put off by it. Some people are allergic to room fresheners. Some buyers will wonder what you are trying to mask. When I do use scents I recommend vanilla candles or a mixture of cinnamin and brown sugar warmed in the oven. Fresh and clean is the best. Janice

Jan 16, 2009 12:12 PM
Bob & Carolin Benjamin
Benjamin Realty LLC - Gold Canyon, AZ
East Phoenix Arizona Homes

Good smells always make a difference... just like foul smells will keep people away .

Jan 16, 2009 03:42 PM
Gayle Balaban
The Best Spot Realty/Waterfront Real Estate/Ooltewah Real E - Chattanooga, TN
E. TN Waterfront Real Estate

Thanks for the heads up.  I am BM the post to refer back.

Jan 19, 2009 01:27 PM
shenoi ekaant

Using the right aromatherapy oils and being able to massage correctly for the most benefit is the key to perform in our day to day activities.

Jun 03, 2015 11:51 PM
Inna Ivchenko
Barcode Properties - Encino, CA
Realtor® • Green • GRI • HAFA • PSC Calabasas CA

I love essential oils and use them daily: diffusing, massages, internally. 

It is very important to use the high quality essential oils. They do cost more, but the benefits for your home and health are priceless. 

Aug 24, 2018 12:17 PM