Southern Maryland Best Buys


Common Scents

This is really interesting. Buyers dart out of a home just as quickly if there are too many fragrances covering up a smell as from the smell itself. Fix the source of the problem is a great suggestion. Consider allergies, too, when using fragrances while marketing a home. Strong fragrances can have Buyers heading out the door by necessity.

Home sellers can create spaces that appeal to prospective buyers by employing a little psychology and by engaging the 5 senses......You see, our brain takes all the sensory data it receives and transforms it into feelings and those feelings can be either overwhelmingly positive or overwhelmingly negative.  

The clever use of design elements in a home for sale can help sellers engage the senses of their prospects and thus trigger the desired positive emotional response.  Last week in, Love at First Sight, I discussed ways sellers can engage the sense of SIGHT to elicit desirable feelings in home buyers.  Today I'll cover the sense of smell.

the nose knowsBuyers react very emotionally to what they smell and this fact that is often overlooked and minimized by home sellers.   The scent of a home can trigger strong emotional reactions - either creating uplifting, harmonious feelings or causing prospects to walk away (and not tell you why). Engaging the sense of smell is a powerful yet misunderstood and often misused tool.

The first and most important thing sellers can do is to identify and eliminate the odors in their home that buyers might find offensive.  This is often hard for home sellers to do because we tend to grow so accustomed to the way our home smells, that we don't even notice it.  Enlist the help of a friend who you trust will be honest and ask your friend to tell you what he/she smells the moment they walk into your home.   

Common pet odors can be a huge turn off to buyers. Since no one will find your pet as charming as you do,  consider relocating your pet while your home is on the market.  If that's not possible, thoroughly clean litter boxes, crates and other areas where your pet(s) spend the most time.  Odors can get trapped in carpets, upholstery and draperies, so consider getting these professionally cleaned.  

Musty odors can cause buyers to assume a moisture or mold problem exists. Other strong odors could indicate a plumbing issue or a pest infestation.  Identifying the root cause of these kinds of issues can be quite difficult so consider getting a pre-sale home inspection. The odor will not go away until the problem is addressed.  Avoid the use of artificial air fresheners, scented candles and incense - your prospects could be allergic and they might be very suspicious of what you're trying to cover up.   

Avoid cooking smelly and unusually spicy foods while your home is on the market as these offensive odors can often linger for days.  Enlist the help of Mother Nature - open windows as often as you possibly can to allow plenty of fresh air to circulate through your house.  Use aromatherapy as an effective tool to eliciting a positive response to your home by spraying essential oils mixed with water (these work much better than chemical deodorizers).   

Remember: the scent of sage can cause the feeling of euphoria while chamomile and lavender can have a calming effect. Marine scents (think salty sea air) can refresh us while spice and wood scents bring warm thoughts. The scent of something baking in the oven can also create a warm and nurturing feeling.  If you're going to bake cookies to make your house smell good while it is being shown - leaving a plate out to share with your prospects will surely make them feel welcome!  

Stay my next post I will share how sellers can best engage the sense of hearing.


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Karen Bernetti is a Real Estate Stager, Former Realtor®, Author, Speaker, and Owner of Staging4Smooth Transitions - specializing in assisting seniors with their downsize moves.  

Karen is also the Co-creator of the Ready2Sellin30Days® System - an innovative, interactive, multi-media educational program designed to teach do-it-yourself homeowners EVERYTHING they need to know about preparing a home for sale during tough economic times.  Visit to learn more. 

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Comment balloon 2 commentsCheryl Ritchie • February 25 2012 05:22AM


GOOD MORNING CHERYL!  Home smells are tough ones to overcome  - and forget if it's a really bad one!

Posted by Gabrielle Kamahele Rhind, Broker/Owner (KGC Properties LLC, Tucson Property Management & Real Estate) over 7 years ago

I have noticed that even at broker open house they are using the scented candles, not over powering scents though.

Posted by David Popoff, Realtor®,SRS, Green ~ Fairfield County, Ct (DMK Real Estate ) over 7 years ago