Living room of downtown St. John's home

The Sweet Smell of a Sale

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The Sweet Smell of a Sale

by Allison Hull
November 10, 2022

For most house hunters buying is an emotional decision, and is even influenced by factors they may not be fully aware of. Scents and aromas can have a dramatic impact on people’s emotions, and even if they don’t consciously realize it, or come right out and say it, a bad scent in a home can and does prevent people from buying.

Don’t underestimate the power of scent when selling your home. Smoke, pet odors, musty basements, cooking smells, and even overly-powerful air fresheners can dramatically impact how potential buyers feel about your house.

Smoking is the number one offender. It’s a distinctive scent that non-smokers pick up on instantly, and they know it’s a very difficult scent to eliminate. I’ve seen many cases where someone has smoked only in front of an open window, under a range hood, or in the garage. They can’t smell the smoke in the home and assume others can’t either, but they usually can! If you have been smoking in your home, stop immediately. Wash the curtains, pillows, and bedding. Steam-clean carpets and rugs. It may even be necessary to paint throughout if there has been a lot of smoking in the home.

The best way to know if there are any unpleasant scents in your home is to ask an honest friend to come give it a sniff! They can smell things that your nose has become accustomed to, and you may no longer smell. Eliminate any odors by cleaning and airing out spaces. Once you’ve removed any unpleasant scents and freshened the air in your home, you can actually use scent to your advantage.

Consider doing some baking prior to showings. It’s a real-estate cliché for a reason! The scent of fresh-baked bread or cookies is hard to beat when it comes to creating the atmosphere of a welcoming home. If you don’t have time to bake, just simmer some vanilla and brown sugar in water for a few minutes. Avoid using air-fresheners and scented candles whenever possible as they may make potential buyers wonder if you are trying to hide a bad scent, and some buyers may have sensitivities to scents. I’ve actually encountered homes so heavily scented that a buyer was not even able to go inside for a viewing. Needless to say, if a buyer can’t view your home, they won’t buy your home.

While it may seem like a minor point, a house that smells inviting will smell like a home to potential buyers. Whether they are conscious of it or not, the feelings buyers have about a home have a huge impact on their decision making process. Creating inviting scents in your home is one of the most inexpensive things you can do to make your home more appealing, so why not?