Scents That Sell: What REALLY Works

Clients often ask me, “Should I bake cookies for my open house?” The answer is no. Don’t even waste your time. And here’s the reason…

Complex smells–even pleasant ones, like baked goods and potpourri–probably won’t get you top dollar or a quick sale, according to Eric Spangenberg, dean of the college of business at Washington State University, who authored a study on the effects of aromas in the Journal of Retailing.

He and his co-authors studied 402 shoppers in a home-décor store in Switzerland over 18 days in 2010 and discovered that consumers spent 31.8% more, on average, when the store was scented with a simple orange fragrance versus a complex blend of orange, basil and green tea. Even when compared to stores with no scent, buyers still spent more than in the stores with complex fragrances, but less than in the stores with simple scents.

The same principles apply to open houses, Professor Spangenberg says. In both cases, the aromas may affect cognitive functions in the same areas of the brain involved in decision-making, creating a distraction for potential home buyers trying to figure out what the smell is.

As Spangenberg says, buyers “are not there to process the smells. They are there to process whether this is a place they want to live.”

Bottom line? If you use a fragrance, keep it SIMPLE, like orange, lemon, basil, vanilla, green tea, pine and cedar. These scents are easier to identify, less distracting and more conducive to spending.

It’s important to keep in mind that no fragrance will completely disguise a bad smell. Most of us have had the experience of walking into a home ripe with pet odors or a particular cooking aroma…and it can be hard to distinguish in your own home. Have your realtor take a sniff-tour of your home and ask for a brutally honest opinion. You need to know the truth now, BEFORE your home goes on the market because buyers will most certainly notice. A professional home stager can work with you on ways to identify and remove odor.

Need help? Give Three Bears Home Staging and Redesign a call at (832)377-0785, and we’ll schedule a walk-through of your home!

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