If you’re planning an open house soon, be sure the home can pass the smell test. How a home smells is one of the most important considerations in ensuring a timely sale. Our sense of smell is more influential many ways than our visual senses. That’s because our sense of smell rarely fails to jog our memories, either good or bad.
There’s real biology to back this up, too. Dr. Jordan Gaines offers a simple but clear explanation in her article for Psychology Today:
Incoming smells are first processed by the olfactory bulb, which starts inside the nose and runs along the bottom of the brain. The olfactory bulb has direct connections to two brain areas that are strongly implicated in emotion and memory: the amygdala and hippocampus. Interestingly, visual, auditory (sound), and tactile (touch) information do not pass through these brain areas. This may be why olfaction, more than any other sense, is so successful at triggering emotions and memories.
So when you are staging a home for sale, in addition to all the visual niceties that you or your home staging company add, make the home’s scent a high priority.
Good Riddance to Bad Smells
Before you start staging for scents at your next open house, first you need to rid the home of bad scents. If you’re selling a home where the homeowners are currently living, remind them to prepare their home in the days ahead of the open house. This is particularly important because our sense of smell tends to fail us when it comes scents in the home where we live. There’s a term for this: Nose Blind.
Remind current homeowners, for example, to not cook heavy or rich foods, especially meat or fish, ahead of an open house. Other bad smells that can linger in a home include pets, shoes, dust, and smoke. Another good reminder before an open house: no wood-burning or smoking in the home. You’ll also want homeowners to follow these simple preps ahead of an open house:
- Clean: Have your homeowners clean the whole house two to three days prior to open house.
- Open the windows: The morning of the open house, open up windows, weather permitting. Fresh air welcomes visitors much better than musty air.
Once a home has been rid of the bad, it will be easier to stage the open house with good scents. Let’s look at what smells are most pleasing to prospective buyers of homes.
Open House Scents that Please
Because fall is upon us, we’ll focus on scents that bring out those good autumn memories we humans share. Many of these scents when deployed before an open house can also help you sell a home any time of year. Here are the whole house scents that trigger the best in our autumn smell sense:
- cedar wood
Remember: apply only one whole house fragrance. Many of these autumn scents also made the list of the best scents for selling, according to a study published in the Journal of Retailing. The study found that these scents trigger positively:
- green tea
When you are staging a home, look for scented candles, diffusers, simmering pots, or oil plug-ins that have one of these fragrances and deploy only that one. Humans like a good smell but not a bombardment of smells, good or bad.