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    Smell to Sell?

    Smell to Sell resized 600

    Is it possible that home selling might involve more than just cents and sense? Could the unique scent of your home be keeping buyers away?

    We have discussed the importance of staging your home for selling, but maybe we need to dig a little deeper into your personal space. It is highly likely that you have entered a friend or family member’s home and were struck by an odor, be it good or bad.  You may have even entered your own home after an extended absence and wondered if this is what your home smells like to others.

    Our sense of smell can drive us from the front door of a restaurant or from a smoke laden hotel room, so can it do the same thing to buyer who enter your home? The answer is yes!

    Eric R. Spangenberg, Dean for the College of Business at Washington State University has studied the effects of scents and music in retail environments since the late 1980’s. His latest research, published in the Journal of Retailing, shows that what consumers hear and smell can influence how much money they will spend.

    "If you're trying to sell your home, having the wrong smell or music playing is worse than having none at all," said Spangenberg. "There is a lot of cognitive processing involved in a home purchase. A 30-year mortgage is a big decision."

    So does Spangenberg subscribe to the theory that every home seller should have a batch of cookies baking in the oven? Spangenberg’s research revealed that complex scents distract buyers, as their mind is working to process the various components of the aroma. Spangenberg suggests keeping it simple and found that scents such as lemon, green tea, basil, vanilla, cedar and pine work best, keeping in mind that the scents should reflect the atmosphere you are trying to sell. Cedar used in a beach house would be in conflict with the location and natural olfactory cues a buyer would expect. Keeping it simple means avoiding fussy bowls of potpourri, plug-ins, oil light rings or perfumed candles.

    Take an honest look at the areas of your home that may be creating odors, such as bathrooms, laundry rooms, kitchens, pet beds, toys, bowls and litter boxes and find cleaning products that will deodorize rather than mask scents. Temporary relocation of pet items may be beneficial while your house is on the market.

    With a surge of natural cleaning products, it is easier than ever to employee fresh, clean scents to clean your home rather than using items that leave a chemically tainted afterglow. A clean home is the freshest, most appealing scent you can greet potential buyers with, but adding a bowl of lemons or a vase of lavender can add the perfect finishing touch. 

    Smell may be just one of the reasons your home isn’t selling. To explore other obstacles that may be standing in your way, read our in depth article, “Why Isn’t My Home Selling?


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    Monica Schaefer


    Monica Schaefer

    Military Spouse

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