5 Ways Scents Sell Your Home

It’s time to sell. To avoid driving away potential buyers, every house on the market needs to smell fresh and clean. No one wants to walk into a home and smell last night’s fish dinner or what Mr. Fluffy left behind in his litter box. That kind of real estate listing will get a reputation, and not a good one.

Here are five ways Trelora suggests to make a good impression:

Clean is the best scent of all

Masking bad odors is never the answer. Smoking and pet odors are among the worst offenders. All smoking has to be done outside while the home is for sale through closing. Because smoke permeates everything from walls to rugs, the home must be freshly painted, and drapes laundered or dry-cleaned, along with all outer bedding. Carpets should be steam-cleaned and hard-surface floors mopped. If pet odors are the concern, wash the pet’s bedding and the pet regularly. Move the litter box into the garage. If a friend or relative will take in the pet while the home is for sale, even better.

Lemon beats cookies


Forget about baking cookies before an open house. Research suggests an organic one-note scent is best. Eric Spangenberg of Washington State University has proven that complex scents impact retail buyers negatively—they won’t buy as much—while scents such as orange, lemon, basil, pine, vanilla, cedar, and cinnamon have the opposite effect. In fact, they work even better than no fragrance at all. It makes sense that this applies to home buyers as well. Essential oils placed on well-hidden cotton balls work, or buy vanilla extract—the real stuff—and leave open bottles in out-of-the-way places. Give the kitchen disposal the sniff test. If it’s funky, grind up a lemon with a couple ice-cubes.

Freshen the air

A dehumidifier may be a wise buy if there’s a musty smell present. It’s not necessary to invest in an air purifier. Open up windows on opposite sides of the home to circulate air and remove odors. Ten minutes once a day does wonders.

Chemicals smell bad

Nix the harsh cleaning chemicals. Their fragrances may aggravate asthma symptoms in susceptible people. Vinegar works well for cleaning, and quickly dissipates. If a bathroom requires chemical action, clean it early in the day. Run the fan to remove the tell-tale reek of bleach.

Flower power

Finally, fresh flowers add a lovely scent, and of course, they delight the eyes as well as the nose!

Follow these tips to ensure that potential buyers linger—and hopefully come back for a second look.