THE NOSE, KNOWS!–Trish Lowe Century21-Triangle Group
As the spring selling season heats up and sellers spruce up their homes for potential buyers, there’s the typical Curb, clean, de-clutter, Kitchen, bath, focus. All are important to a buyer’s perception of the property, and its potential sale, but as a busy Buyer’s Agent, I’ve found sellers often overlook a major aesthetic—the scent of the home.
Our sense of smell is one of our most powerful senses. A wafting scent of cinnamon may bring us back to Mom’s bread pudding baking in the oven and all the warm memories and emotions attached to it. Same goes for home buyers.
My buyers and I have toured hundreds of homes that have ticked off most of the boxes.
• Curb appeal—neat, clean, pop of color
• Interior—clean, de-cluttered, spacious
• Kitchen—clean, functional, granite
• Baths-clean, double vanity, updated
But while the home’s features may, on the surface, appeal to the buyer, I’ve often found my buyers entering homes, scrunching up their noses and saying, “What’s that smell?”
Oftentimes, it is a lingering food odor, a mildewy smell, a pet odor. For the sellers living in the home, they don’t notice it. For Buyers, it’s immediate and impacts their perception of the home. Food odor? Buyers think, “Dirty”. Mildew odor? Buyers think, “Water issues.” Pet odor? Buyers think, “Hidden pet accidents on carpets and floors.”
While some agents and sellers address this issue, they sometimes do so in overkill fashion. I toured a home in Cary with a great couple. The home was immaculate, had a great floor plan, loads of natural sunlight, but throughout our viewing, my clients kept saying, “Gosh, that smell is too much.” It was. I found myself smiling through it, but after 15 minutes, I had a headache and was feeling nauseous. The sellers had heavily-scented floral plug-ins in every room.
So, what to do?
For occupied homes, have a friend or neighbor come through and sniff-test the home. If they say “do something”, then do something. Best to go with clean, lightly-scented citrus diffusers. (Pottery Barn, Pier One Imports have a variety of natural home fresheners.)
As well, there are scented filter pads for air returns you can find at any Lowes or Home Depot. Place them directly atop return filter for ongoing air freshening.
Where to place?
Best to place a scented diffuser near the entrance of the home, in the kitchen, near the stove, sink, fridge or garbage bin as they host most odors, and in the bathrooms, either on the vanity or on the toilet.
What to avoid?
If going with scented candles, keep it subtle. Pine, florals, vanilla, chocolate—are generally too heavy, and buyers have said these scents are “too contrived”.