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Smells that Sell

Posted by Betsy Repaske on May 15, 2015
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Remember those Febreeze commercials where people sit blindfolded in a dirty room and talk about how nice it must be? It’s been shown that homes that smell nice and clean are perceived as cleaner and worth more. Living in our homes we get used to the way they smell so it’s easy to forget about scent when staging our homes. A little extra effort before showings and open houses might be all it takes to seal a deal or even get you an offer at or above listing price.

smells that sellA home goods store in Switzerland ran tests to see if the scents in the store would impact how much customers spent. They found that a simple orange scent increased the amount each customer spent by 31.8% compared to no scent. A complex blend of orange, basil and green tea actually lowered how much shoppers spent. Professor Eric Spangenberg, the Dean of the College of Business at Washington State University, speculated that this might be due to people subconsciously trying to decipher the scents and thus being less focused on the shopping process. Professor Spangenberg made the point that “[Buyers] are not there to process the smells. They are there to process whether this is a place they want to live. You need to think, ‘What scent will buyers associate with this environment?’ It must be simple and positive and congruent.” Scents that are well matched can work too, as shown by the blend of lemons, rosemary and vanilla that William Sonoma stores are purported to use.

Baked goods and potpourri have been shown to be less effective. Your goal should be to have your home smell clean and inviting. Baked goods smell great but don’t necessarily evoke a feeling of cleanliness and potpourri can end up smelling like you are trying to hide something. Artificial scents can be off putting and irritating to certain people as well, so it’s recommended to keep things light and natural.

At DwellHop we give our listing clients sachets of dried lemon slices that can be dropped in a pot of simmering water in the hours leading up to a showing or left on the stove during an open house. The key is to have your house smell as clean as it looks.



Some simple smell-good ideas:

  • Sprigs of eucalyptus hung in the shower. They release a clean scent in the shower steam and the oils released have been shown to lower stress, like that of trying to sell your home.
  • Deodorize furniture, rugs and drapes by liberally sprinkling them with baking soda, letting it sit for a few minutes then vacuuming it up.
  • Put an open box of baking soda or a bowl of coffee ground in the fridge to capture bad odors so they don’t leak out into the rest of the kitchen
  • A mason jar filled with baking soda and a few dozen drops of essential oils works as a natural room deodorizer for the bathroom.
  • Peel an orange. Simmer the peel in a pot of water on the stove and run the flesh through your garbage disposal to freshen a stale kitchen.
  • For more ideas of how to stage your home for sale check out our Staging board on Pintrest