scents for home sales

A rose by any other name: what is the influence of scents on property sales?

If you are in the process of selling your house, chances are that friends and acquaintances would have probably shared their knowledge of the smells that sell homes. You’ve already noted the importance of freshly brewed coffee and freshly baked bread or chocolate chip cookies in your diary of things to do when your house is on show. But do scents really make a tangible difference in the price a property fetches, and does it have a real influence on whether properties sell or not?

Eric Spangenberg, the Dean of the College of Business at Washington State University, is an expert in the realm of smells that sell, and his findings on the subject have shed new light on long-believed assumptions about scents and sales.

The best smell? None at all.

Spangenberg’s studies have showed that consumers prefer smells that are not too complex. Potpourri, incense and scented candles may appeal to you, but that doesn’t mean that it will appeal to the people that come through your door to see if they’d like to live in the property. In fact, many prospective buyers may regard discernable, complex odours as a cover-up, hiding a smell that will only appear after they’ve acquired the property.

Eric Spangenberg conducted research in retail stores to test the influence that particular scents have on the sales of a store and found that sales tended to be higher in retail stores where there was no discernable scent at all.

However, certain particular simple scents did lead to sales that were significantly higher. Here is a breakdown of scents to consider for your next home viewing.

1. Citrus

Complex smells can lead our brains into rather focusing on processing the smell it is receiving, instead of paying attention to whatever is on offer. Lemon, orange and other citrus fruits are fragrant and long lasting but not too complex, which makes them the ideal scents to incorporate when potential buyers come to view your property.

2. Vanilla

Vanilla is a fresh and homely aroma that will make prospective buyers feel right at home.

3. Green tea

The benefits of green tea seem to include the value that itsaroma has for home sellers. Green tea is fresh and invigorating, and hopefully this is the impression that buyers will get upon stepping into your home, too.

4. Pine and cedar

A combination of the scents of these two fragrant trees creates an aroma that is complex in its simplicity.

5. Herbs

Letting fresh rosemary, thyme and basil boil in a pot in the kitchen before potential buyers arrive to view your property enhances the appeal of this very important room.


The fragrances that linger in a home have a definite influence on the perceived value that it has to prospective buyers, but in this regard, getting rid of unpleasant odours at their source do much more than trying to mask them with room sprays ever will. Clean your house thoroughly before having buyers come to view it, and if you do come across a drain that has an odour, rather fix the problem immediately.

Subtle, simple scents can contribute to a positive experience for prospective buyers, and may even influence the price that they are willing to pay for the property, but knocking the wind out of them with a waft of sickly sweet aromas could very well have the opposite effect.

If you’re in search of a real estate agent to assist you with your sale, look no further than Perfect Agent. The agents we recommend can help you to quickly turn any reservations that you may have about selling your property into the sweet smell of success.