Personal SEO ~ Website Marketing and Content Writing: How Smells Affect the Home Buying and Selling Experience

How Smells Affect the Home Buying and Selling Experience

Can smells really make that much of a difference in selling you home?staging your Goldendale home to sell

Just as image is important in selling real estate, odors also play a crucial role in making or breaking a good deal. The next time you're putting up your Klickitat county real estate for sale, don't just focus on the visible selling points of your home. The unseen, smelly details count as well.

Have you smelled your house lately?

If it's a perfume you're buying, then there's certainly good sense in smelling it first. But if it's a house, what then?

Buyers look at the asthetics of a home, the style, location and layout but many times the smell is not a factor.. or is it?

People often take smells for granted. This is because we register the world mostly through our sense of sight, unlike animals which predominantly rely on their olfactory sense for survival (hunting food, and detecting enemies and prey). Most of the time we only notice smells when they're offensive. For some homeowners there's the possibility of us growing accustomed to them that we forget they're there in the first place.

This is what you should watch out for when you're selling your house.

When selling your home, it may pass the buyers checklist as far as repairs, fix-ups and design including cleaning every nook and cranny that you forgot about years ago.  But if you really want to make a good impression; a subtle but effective one, then aim at your prospective buyers' noses.

smells affect a home saleMost of the time, odors get forgotten about because you're just too accustomed to them. Pet odors and cigarette smoke are the immediate culprits. Air freshners and deodorizers only mask the smell for a time.  These are issues that you may be so used to that it will be hard to even tell when they are cleared out.

Smell, Smell, Go Away.

These types of odors will need permanent resistance. Either use Kilz on walls and floors then recarpet or repaint; remove the pets when you show the home and take out all evidence of a pet (move the litter box to the backyard or garage)

When you DO have an open house or plan on showing the home you can bake bread with cinnamon, or simmer citrus on the stove or anything that smells good and worry-free. Bring out those essential oils or light up aromatic candles, for a more natural pleasant smelling atmosphere, not synthetically induced by any spray can. Lavender oil, for instance, has a positive calming, effect.

We want buyers to remember the house even long after they’ve left the premises for good reasons, not offensive ones. Pretty flowers standing at attention in a vase might not exactly be your house's strongest selling point, but they can put your visitors in a buying mood and really make a difference.

Contact Coldwell Banker for more tips on selling your Goldendale WA home or real estate. 509-773-7799 | - Source here:


ActiveRain and SEOTammy Emineth is an expert in custom content and original articles for blogs, website, press releases and more. Contact me anytime and feel free to subscribe to this blog to stay up to date on my latest blogs and informative information. Email me or contact me for Real Estate Website Marketing and SEO Content Writing.

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Comment balloon 21 commentsTammy Emineth • January 27 2012 03:40PM


Oh, the smells of the closed-up foreclosure homes.....

And, then the nice, bright smells of a great lived-in home.....

Posted by Suzanne McLaughlin, Sabinske & Associates, Realtor (Sabinske & Associates, Inc. (Albertville, St. Michael)) over 7 years ago

Suggested!  Excellent and oh so very true!  We all have a little blood hound in us. 

Posted by John McCormack, CRS, Honesty, Integrity, Results, Experienced. HIRE Me! (Albuquerque Homes Realty) over 7 years ago

The odor of a home can cause a huge value loss.  Buyers imagine the amount of work they will need to do in order to eliminate the smell and it usually is a lot of dollars.  Best address or it will end up costing far more than the cost to cure not to mention additional DOM!

Posted by Connie Goodrich, CRS ABR (McKinney Realtor)Texas (Keller Williams Realty) over 7 years ago

So true Suzanne..

Thanks John! We do! My last renters smoked in my house (when they weren't suppose to) and for us who don't it was painfully obvious!

Right Connie!! Those offensive odors can really make or break the sale.. ok, maybe just break it....

Posted by Tammy Emineth, Content Marketer, SEO Teacher, Website Fixer (Personal SEO - Website SEO and Real Estate Marketing) over 7 years ago

There is nothing worse than when a seller tries to cover an offensive odor with a more offensive canned spray.  Great tips as usual Tammy.

Posted by Rich Cederberg, eXp Realty Agent Albuquerque (eXp Realty) over 7 years ago

Tammy - as a homeowner and home stager smell is one of the most important things to address if there is an odor. There's nothing better than a fresh, clean smelling home and it really turns people off when a home smells bad.  The first thing I tell my clients is to clean, clean and clean some more until it sparkles..........and smells great!

Posted by Kristine Ginsberg, NJ Home Stager (Elite Staging and Redesign, LLC) over 7 years ago

Tammy, I just did a blog on Trash and yes, smelly business. Yesterday I went room to room and changed cartridges on my room fresheners, and I burn candles too.

Posted by Ellen Caruso (Daniel Gale Sotheby's International Realty) over 7 years ago

It is important and people lose their ability to smell their own home and are offended if we haven't. 

Posted by Marge Piwowarski, Phoenix AZ Horse Property, LLC (Phoenix AZ Horse Property) over 7 years ago

Great post Tammy!  And so true.  The hard part with oders is either getting use to them or not having the ability to smell in the first place.  So important though.  

Posted by DeeDee Riley, Realtor - El Dorado Hills & the Surrounding Areas (Lyon Real Estate - El Dorado Hills CA) over 7 years ago

Love this ...and so very important!   Cinnamon or vanilla seem to have the most favorable comments...some of the REO agents use the most obnoxious floral air fresheners and it is stifling!!!

Posted by Deborah Byron Leffler BzyBee Real Estate Lady! (Keller Williams Realty Boise) over 7 years ago

Smells be gone!  I have had more buyers walk out of homes because of the smalls.  It is so important to not have odors that make people sneeze either.  I hate the perfume type "air freshners".

Posted by Joan Whitebook, Consumer Focused Real Estate Services (BHG The Masiello Group) over 7 years ago

Smells can make or break a sale!  Many agents tare to quick to dismiss this factor but it is important!


Posted by Lisa Wetzel, CDPE, SFR (RE/MAX Realty Affiliates) over 7 years ago

Honestly, sometimes I wonder why the showing agent doesn't open the windows!!  Egads.

Posted by Former Agent (None) over 7 years ago

Hi Tammy--stagers like to quote, "If you can smell it, you can't sell it".  I walked into a house for a consultation the other day and it smelled like a locker room.  Fortunately the sellers are replacing the carpeting and doing some other work that will remove the odor.  I can't imagine a buyer staying in that house for more than a few minutes if the sellers hadn't addressed it. 

Posted by Janet Jones, Home Staging, Interior Redesign Kihei, Maui, Hawaii (Just Your Style Interiors, LLC) over 7 years ago

Rich, I had a listing once that was only 700 SQ and he smoked in that house for 30 years! That was a challenge!!

Kristine, CLEAN smells great!

Ellen, if you can't get rid of it.. its the best way.

Marge, isn't THAT the truth!

DeeDee. very true. We are all like that.. and having pets I am more consious of that all the time

Deborah, yes, I love a warm cinnamon scent.

Joan, the overwhelming opposite can be just that.. overwhelming!

Lisa, buyers often can't look past certain imperfections.

Aimee, sometimes thats all the house needs too!

Janet, WOW, and yes you have to be honest with them at some point!

Posted by Tammy Emineth, Content Marketer, SEO Teacher, Website Fixer (Personal SEO - Website SEO and Real Estate Marketing) over 7 years ago

I agree (almost) completely with this. I recently had a listing whose seller owned a cat and dog. He stopped cleaning out the litter box for whatever reason, and oh. my. gosh. Horrible. Absolutely horrible. I do think sellers have to be cautious about lighting candles before leaving for a showing and also be careful about the fragrances they choose in any air freshener. I've had people who have very sensitive senses of smell walk out because of lavendar scents all around them.

Posted by Peggy Wester, Real Estate Agent Ozaukee & Washington County (Realty Executives Integrity) over 7 years ago

Yes, so very true Tammy. We show a lot of homes that are vacant or second homes so they do not get opened up often and feel stale. When I hold an open house in a home that has been vacant for a while I go through and open windows and doors (weather permitting) just to get the air moving. I love baking some quick toss in the oven cookies especially if it's cold out. If I don't have time, I simply use a candle (and make darn sure it is blown out and packed up when I go). Great tips!

Posted by Christine Blaski, Frisco, Summit County CO Realtor (RE/Max Properties of the Summit) over 7 years ago

Smells can be your best friend or worst nightmare when listing a home.  It is the sense that is most closely associated with memory, hence creating nice smells in the kitchen such as cookies, cinnamon, or citrus, as they evoke nice memories.  However, when the smell is bad, litter box/cigarettes/worse, it brings a persons worst memories up to at least the subconscious level and then the best floor plan in the world is doomed.

Posted by AJ Heidmann ~ CRS, YOUR Alexandria & Arlington, VA Real Estate Expert (McEnearney Associates, Inc.) over 7 years ago

HI Tammy,

When everything is said and done, making sure that the causes for odors are removed and fixed is key to prevent the issue in the first place....

covering them up in any way is exactly that "a cover up"

Posted by Peter Pfann @ eXp Realty Pfanntastic Properties in Victoria, Since 1986., Talk To or Text Peter 250-213-9490 (eXp Realty, Victoria BC over 7 years ago

Found this post through the top ten 2011 post. Smell is incredibly important I've had unoccupied homes that had such an offensive odor when we opened the door, (e.g. pets, smoke) that the buyers wouldn't go in.

Posted by Nancy Laswick, Your REALTOR® For The Valley Of The Sun (United Real Estate) over 7 years ago

Every home has its own aroma and it is important to be aware of it. Make sure your is a good one especially if you plan to sell your home. Clean it well, open window, maybe invest in diffuser and good quality essential oils. 


Posted by Inna Ivchenko, Realtor® • Green • GRI • HAFA • PSC Calabasas CA (Barcode Properties) 10 months ago

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