Scent may be the most under-appreciated human sense. Unlike taste or hearing, most of us only notice the smells around us when something stinks. Yet scent has incredibly powerful sensory capacities. We attach smells to memory, and they can carry impressive emotional resonance. While you may not think about the smells that surround you in your day to day life, marketing experts certainly are. Many hotels, car dealerships, even retail stores contract olfactory experts to concoct the most pleasing scents, specially designed to entice potential customers. You don’t need to create a custom scent to sell your home – but smell-consciousness can go a long way with prospective buyers.
Eliminating unpleasant odors is key to building a comfortable vibe when you’re showing your home. Smoke smells are the most obvious faux pas in this department, but other odors that you may not even notice, like strong cooking smells, can have quite a negative impact as well. Pet odors must go (but as long as your house is spotless, you might want to keep your adorable companion around). Pass on the Febreze: simple baking soda can effectively erase many unsavory smells.
Don’t overcompensate with “good” smells, either! Subtle scents are the rule when it comes to olfactory staging. Consider light, natural scents that inspire feelings of warmth, like pine, vanilla, or other essential oils. Seasonal scents can also be comforting. Floral ambience is perfect for springtime, or gentle cinnamon notes for the holidays. Harsh chemical smells such as those found in air fresheners or cheap candles should be avoided.
The importance of not going overboard cannot be emphasized enough. Potential buyers likely won’t pay attention to the scent of the house – but you’ll know it worked when they flash a smile that says, “This feels like home.”