BlogMaking "Scents" When Selling Your Home
Published Friday, April 12, 2013 Updated on Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Making "Scents" When Selling Your Home

Ideas for an Open House or Property Showing

Have you ever heard of the saying “Your nose knows best?”  If you are among those who have, you know that the sense of smell can dictate the mind even without a conscious effort. For instance, take the warm aroma of freshly baked cookies. Most people love cookies; however, this may not be the best scent to use when trying to sell your home.


The effects of aroma and smell have been an ongoing discussion in the real estate industry as well as in scientific theory.  A study conducted in 2010, documented a team of researchers who studied the purchasing power of 402 people over 18 days based on different scents that were introduced into a home décor store in Switzerland. The study found that on average 31.8% of shoppers spent more money when the store was scented with a simple orange scent over a complex blend of orange, basil and green tea. It proved that the different aromas can affect cognitive functions in the same areas of the brain involved in decision making. Even though the scent was appealing to the customers, it posed as a distraction rather than a compliment to the setting. These complex scents took the consumers mind from their shopping purpose to playing a game of “What is that smell?”


Relating this back to real estate, it is strongly suggested that home sellers and their agents take these same principles and apply them to their strategy when preparing for a showing or an open house. Sensory marketing in real estate seems too stuck in the freshly baked cookie phase, and most people believe that the key to selling a home is purely visual and all in how a place looks. For some people, it is all about the looks and they can see past an overwhelming or offensive odor. However, many people do not even know that the scents and aroma of a home are helping or hurting them in their home buying process. The sure fire way to make sure you are reaching the best potential home buyers for your home is to make sure you are rounding out all aspects of their emotional purchase. This way, if someone is a perfect fit for you home, you will not lose them just because they were too busy thinking about where you got that candle or where have they smelled that smell before.


Great Environment (Looks & Smells) + Encouraging Decision Making (No Added Distractions)


The next step is finding the best scent for your open house or showing. Simple scents such as lemon, basil and pine are great to use because they are less distracting and have very distinct smells. For sellers and agents wanting to be more creative, this can also be a great opportunity to find a scent that directly plays off of the homes surroundings. This can create a truly appealing ambiance that flows from the outside to the inside and all throughout the home. The best question to ask is, “What scent would buyers associate with this environment?”


Doing some research of our own, we have come up with a list of different simple scents that will please most home buyers and accentuate the natural elements of a home in a particular area.







How to get it




Simply open the windows and doors on a nice day; the best scent is sometimes no scent. Artificial scents may indicate a cover up of an existing odor as well as pose as a distraction.



The purest way to complete the waterfront living experience is by adding the subtle scent of a warm sea breeze. Bring the outdoors in and allow your guests to enjoy the sounds and natural scent of the sea.

Lemon or Orange

A fresh and vibrant scent is the best way to highlight the active lifestyle of a downtown or golf & country club home. Cut fresh lemons or oranges and serve in beverages for clients to sip while taking their tour. The citrus drink with appeal to the sense of smell and taste for a completely refreshing experience.


 Basil or Mint

Accentuate the country inspired lifestyle with a fresh and organic feel. Pick and cut fresh basil or mint from the homes herb garden or a local organic store; use as a decoration throughout the home as well as a garnish for a cool lemonade or water beverage.



Enjoy the holidays during an open house with the warm aroma of Cinnamon. Boil fresh cinnamon on the stove top to radiate the captivating scent throughout the home.  



A well-known and clean scent of vanilla can be used for all types of homes. It will complement each setting and provide a simple scent to enhance the entire experience.



Bring the crisp and cozy surroundings of a rustic inspired or mountain home in with freshly cut cedar or pine wood. These woods can either be used as a decoration or burned in the fireplace on a cold and snowy day.



Provide a floral inspired scent for an idyllic and English inspired home. Pick fresh lavender from the garden and place throughout creating a relaxing and stress free environment.



Even though these are great scents, the best way to present them is subtly and in a cool environment.  The key is to hint at the fresh simple scent, but not make it too strong or overwhelming. The goal is to give the buyer the ability to envision their own idea of what your home would feel and smell like if they were to purchase it as their own.


Just remember.... keep it simple!



Check back soon to see our blog on We have paired scents with Sotheby’s International Realty listings around the world to show you how to blend extraordinary properties with their their extraordinary surroundings.



©2013 Coastal Sotheby’s International Realty

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