As most Americans do, we recently took a family vacation. It wasn’t a long trip – just enough to make it feel good to be home again. As we opened the door and entered our house after our absence, we were struck by that familiar scent of “home.” Every house has one, you just get immune to it since it surrounds you every day. It’s that prolonged absence that lets you really notice it again.
Of course, you can smell someone else’s “home smell” as soon as you enter their house, too. And that can create a problem when trying to sell a house. Odors make huge impressions on people, as evidenced by an entire industry developed around using scent to affect shoppers’ moods and actions.
One of Barb Schwarz’s (one of the first “Stagers”) sayings is: if you can smell it, we can’t sell it. Of course, this refers to what most people would consider bad odors created by pets, mildew, etc. But it can also be an odor that you don’t even notice – either you’re desensitized to it or it just doesn’t bother you. What is offensive to one person may not be to another. However, as in all aspects of staging a home for sale, one must try to appeal to the majority of people. And that means having only nice scents in your home.
You’ve no doubt been to an open house before where the agent has baked cookies or put a pot of water on the range with cinnamons sticks in it to fill the house with yummy scents? Yes, they are trying to create a good scent impression.
There are simple things you can do to ensure that the first thought a potential buyer has when entering your home is not, "Ew, what's that smell!" First impressions encompass all our senses, including the nose. So don't let your errant "home smell" keep you from selling your house.
Ask your real estate agent to let you know if you need to deal with any odor issues before you list your home. Then you'll be you'll get more "ahs" than "ews".