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The smells that sell – how to create an outstanding olfactory experience for buyers

July 24, 2019

Smell is one of the most underrated of our five senses, which is a little strange considering the significant impact it can have on our behaviour. It can have a powerful influence on your mood, your feelings and your attitude.

When you are selling your home, it’s important to create a welcoming, engaging environment for potential buyers that allows them to relax and picture themselves living there. Smell has an important part to play in this experience. While it might not be as glamorous as sight or touch, it has the ability to evoke memories and emotions in ways our other senses can’t, and it can have a huge impact on the success of your sale.

The way a property smells adds a visceral feeling to open homes that you can’t get from looking at pictures. It places you in the moment and gives you a better impression of what it might be like to live there. It’s part of the reason why Virtual Reality tours will never truly replace the benefit of going to an open home and getting a first-hand experience of the property. They can also be a powerful motivating factor to buyers.

A few years ago, Eric Spangenberg from Washington State University conducted an extensive study to determine the most commercially inspiring odours. He wanted to discover which smells could help compel buyers to make a transaction.

He found that simple odours were the most effective in putting people in the right mood to buy. The more complex the odours were, the less successful they were. This is because subconsciously we start focusing more on the smell itself, rather than focussing on what is around us.

So what should you do to ensure your home creates a great experience for buyers?

1. Remove unwanted odours

Chances are your home already smells great, and you won’t need to worry about this. However, if you have pets, it’s possible a buyer could be turned off by their smell. The good news is it is easier to eliminate those odours with a comprehensive clean.

2. Avoid complicated or unusual scents

Smells can be a deeply personal thing, and something that smells good to you might not appeal to someone else. You might have a rejuvenating lavender, sandalwood and coconut scented candle that you adore, or a frankincense incense burner that always puts you at ease, but if a buyer doesn’t like them, it’s going to lower their overall experience of your property.

3. Aim for simple, uncomplicated smells

It turns out that smells are most effective when you don’t notice them at all. The best smell when selling is clean, fresh air. This is easy to accomplish in spring time, when you can open your windows and let in a nice gentle breeze that brings in the scent of the garden outside.

4. Simple, recognisable scents are effective too

Simple, recognisable scents such as lemon, orange, basil, vanilla and cinnamon are also very effective. Placing a bowl of fresh lemons on the kitchen counter is a great way to make your home more appealing to buyers. Alternatively, you can bake some cinnamon buns in the oven. You can also light simple vanilla candles in the bedrooms, making sure to blow them out about half an hour before the open home begins.

If you’d like more tips on how to get your home ready for sale, contact your local Independent agent today.