One of the first things that people notice when entering a room or home is the smell. Our sense of smell is closely related to memories and emotion. There are certain scents that can trigger positive memories or emotions. On the flip side of that there are scents that tend to turn people off and make them less than enthusiastic about buying your home.
We've all seen or heard about real estate agents that bake cookies for an open house. It might surprise you to learn that one of the scents that turn people off is the scent of food...even baking cookies. There are a couple of different reasons why this happens. One, people have a tendency to be distracted by the smell of baking. Two, people think that you are trying to hide an unpleasant odor.
Studies show that simple scents are the best ones when your house is on the market. Lemon, pine or cedar are proven to be simple, clean and less distracting than other odors according to Realtor Magazine. You want people to focus on the house. You want them to see themselves living in the house and that means keeping their attention where it should be. On the house!!
Before adding any scents, you have to take away any odor that may be offensive. Pets, foods, smoking, sports gear, bedding, clothing, upholstery and shoes all have odors that could drive potential buyers away. Making sure that everything is super clean or removed is the best way to insure that people are not immediately turned off by an odor that they feel is offensive.
Clean, Clean, Clean: There is no such thing as too clean when your house is on the market. Use products that do not have a lot of odor. You can even use a combination of vinegar, water and a little lemon juice for most household cleaning. Make sure you are getting all the nooks and crannies that can be ignored over time. If you don't have time to make sure that every inch of your house is clean, hire a professional. A lot of cleaning companies have a deep clean that you can have done once.
Once your house is as clean as possible, make sure all the bedding in the house is extra clean. We sleep in our sheets 6-9 hours every night. It's like having worn our clothes for an entire day. I'm sure you wouldn't wear the same outfit for an entire week and expect it to smell fresh and clean. Your sheets won't smell fresh and clean after a week and that will make the bedroom smell less than fresh. Make sure you are changing the sheets on every bed, used regularly, at least once a week while the home is on the market. I also recommend that you wash or dry clean the comforter, blankets, shams or any outer layer of bedding prior to putting your house on the market. This is one area that is often overlooked in keeping our beds fresh.
Closets hold another layer of personal odor. The best way to eliminate a lot of extra smells that are unnecessary is to go ahead and pack up all of the clothes that you do not wear regularly. Most people wear less than 10% of the clothes in their closet. If you get all of those things that you don't need out, then you have less opportunity for dusty, old odors to cling onto the clothes in your closet.
Pets: I am a huge pet lover with pet beds in every room. Our dogs may as well be people. But, when I put my home on the market, I removed all pet beds (I put them in a cabinet in the garage so that I could easily bring them back in when the dogs were at home) and our dogs went to the kennel for the first week that our home was on the market. I did that because most homes get the greatest amount of showings during the first week. After that week, I put them in doggie daycare during the day. No matter how much we love our pets, it is not uncommon for odors to come with them.
Food smells: As we mentioned before, baking cookies does nothing to help you sell your house and may even turn off some potential buyers. But, it goes beyond baking. Food smells can linger in a home as much as 2-3 days after cooking. Especially if there are strong spices used in the preparation of the food. When your house is on the market, the best thing to do is to either eat as much cold food as possible, cook outside on a grill, go out to eat or buy prepared meals at the grocery store. I know this seems like a hassle, but it is the best way to insure that your home stays smelling fresh and as neutral as possible.
The main thing is that when you are selling your house, you have to be honest with yourself. Is your house as clean as possible? Do you have things, habits or foods that have a strong odor to them? Is it worth the trouble to keep your house smelling fresh to sell it faster? If you are having a hard time answering those questions, ask a close friend or relative if they detect any odors and be open to hearing the truth!