7 Scents That Sell: Read This!

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If your house is for sale, it is critical to not overlook the way it smells when potential buyers come to view it. We, as real estate professionals have a very good reason for wanting your house to smell it’s best before showings and open houses: scent has an incredible impact on a buyer’s perception of your home.

Creating a ‘subtle but pleasing’ scent ambiance for showings is as important as making sure your home doesn’t smell bad. Including this task on your to-do list when getting your home ready to list for sale will have a huge payoff.  After all, not only do you want to avoid the embarrassment of turning off potential buyers with strong unpleasant smells, but you want to help them fall in love with your property by making it smell just plain good, too.

Read on to find out the top 7 smells that sell houses

Before Getting Started: Clean & neutral
Start off by giving the house a good deep clean in any areas you know are sources of any smell at all.   Soft surfaces like carpets, upholstery, pet beds, and comforters all absorb smells and might need a cleaning or wash.   

It’s easy for a homeowner to stop noticing the smell of their own home, so don’t be afraid to ask someone close to you to be honest and tell you if there are any lingering smells you’ve just gotten used to.

Next, open as many windows as possible for as long as possible before listing your home and before any showings.  Nothing will ever top fresh air circulating to help clear out any ‘lived in’ smells in a home.  Even if you believe your home doesn’t have any particular bad smells (and many don’t), fresh air just helps things smell, well, fresh.

Harsh truth:  without this clear foundation, adding scents to the mix can create a (bad) potent combination.  If you need to have a strong good smell to cover up the bad, this just has the potential to make buyers wonder just what you are covering up or, more likely, they will just smell the bad right along with the good and the mix of both is often a huge turn off.

The Basics

  • Start with a clean slate – clean & air out the house first
  • Keep it simple – use a single scent through the house
  • Keep it subtle – use scent very lightly


1. Citrus

2. Coffee

3. Cinnamon

4. Fresh Laundry

5. Soap

6. Spa Botanicals

7. Vanilla


How-to Ideas

Diffuser – use only a drop or two of oil

Reed diffuser – less reeds makes for a more subtle scent

Simmer pot – simmer some fruit, herbs or cinnamon in water before a showing (turn off and remove or clean up the pot before leaving)

Candles – ‘blow out’ before leaving  For smokeless options: use a snuffer, bend the wick into the wax with tweezers, or pinch out the flame with wet fingers (don’t burn yourself!)

Wax melts – use these sparingly – either make sure the melt has been used for a few days or only put in a quarter of a new cube before a showing.  These can be way too strong for some people full-strength.

Dried bowl – add scented dried organics to a bowl, either natural items like lavender or rosemary, or oil-infused décor items like pine cones and wood curls.

EO on cotton balls / cloths – tuck inside bowls, behind decorations, behind plants

Dryer sheets – tuck inside garbage cans or furnace vents in each room