The importance of scent to the sale of your home

It is widely recognized that your sense of smell is an incredibly powerful tool.  As the only sense hardwired to our brains, smell has the power to create associations, often causing reactions to particular scents.  Smell influences us to the extent that companies often use additives to enhance the smell of food products, drawing us in. 

So what does this have to do with buying and selling real estate? More than you would think.

In the process of preparing their homes for sale, people sometimes forget to pay attention to an unseen, yet important aspect - the way their home smells.  When you spend a large amount of time in a certain place you often become accustomed to the way it smells.  However, particular odours that you may be used to could have the potential to gear people negatively towards your property before they have had time to even view it properly. 

Garbage is a common example.  Although you may clear your garbage bins regularly, you may not realize that the bin itself often retains a lingering smell.  Before selling your home, try to spend some time cleaning and sanitizing your internal garbage bins and always make sure to remove any rubbish from them before people inspect your home. 

It may also be a worthwhile endeavour to move your larger, external rubbish bins to a neighbour’s house while any inspections on your home are taking place. 

Another contributor to unpleasant household odours can be the types of food that you cook.  The smell of fish, cabbage or garlic, for example, often lingers for a long while after being prepared, even despite the kitchen being properly cleaned. 

With this being the case, try to avoid cooking any food that you know carries an unpleasant after-smell when you have an open inspection scheduled for soon after. 

I don’t think it will come as much of a surprise to anyone when I say that the smell of cigarette smoke is a common turn-off for buyers.  Not only is the smell unpleasant, many people associate both the activity and the odour with unhealthiness, sometimes negatively affecting their initial perception of a property. 

If you are a smoker, make sure you cease smoking inside altogether if you are planning on selling your property.  When smoking outside, make sure all of the doors and windows are closed, ensuring that the smoke is not carried inside. 

When the time comes for people to inspect your property, it may be worthwhile to install a small, plug-in air freshener with an unobtrusive scent.  But remember to keep it on a low-setting – your aim is never to overpower people’s sense of smell, rather simply to appeal to it. 

Posted by Charles Tarbey on 16/08/2010 at 12:40 PM | Categories: Selling -


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