Tricks of the trade to using scents to help sell your house

home sale smells cookiesIf your house smelled like, say, a giant lemon or, perhaps, a cinnamon stick, might it be a lot easier to sell in this depressed and distressed real estate market? Apparently, some real estate brokers think so and have come up with all sorts of ways to create the "perfect" scent to make a property more attractive to a would-be buyer.

So, with that in mind, flare your nostrils, suck in a deep breath of pungent air, and let's explore some of the smells that just may help you sell your house.

International Business Times quotes several real estate professionals who use scents to help turn on potential buyers.

One swears by this: running some lemon wedges through the garbage disposal to help perfume the air with citrus. Of course, some citrus candles placed around the house would do the same thing with a lot less fuss...not to mention noise.

Another broker likes to place cinnamon sticks on the kitchen stove, I guess to create the illussion of walking into a bakery. I'm not sure how many people want to actually live in a house that smells like a bakery, but if the cake fits, eat it!

My favorite is this:Placing a beer in the oven on low heat which produces the smell of freshly baked bread! (Just watch out for bursting glass!)

Of course, not everyone goes for these little scented tricks of the trade. One real estate professional says she prefers to use an odor eliminator that just smells like mint. It can be sprayed in the air and it takes a lot less effort than some of the other methods discussed.

Some real estate pros have a name for all this: Scentmosphere.

One high ranking former official with the Yankee Candle Company, Rick Ruffolo, told, "When buyers walk into a house, before they actually see anything in that house, because they breathe, they are smelling. So they are actually getting an impression, whether it's conscious or subconscious, of your home, just by the way it smells."

Since he spoke for a candle company (till he moved on in February), he obviously thinks that when it comes to creating just the right scent to sell your house, nothing holds a candle to...well...a candle! His favorite fragrances are: french vanilla, butter cream and creme brulee.

No one may actually buy your house, but they just may eat it!

It's important, though, no matter which technique you use to add scent to your "for sale" abode, that you be somewhat subtle about it, says one interior decorating site. "You should want home fragrance to complement people's visits to your home, not make them wonder what orders you're hiding from them," says Leslie Halpern on

She suggests using only one candle per room. Among her favorite scents: apples, peaches and lavender for its alleged "calming effect."

Writing for, Kathy Novak says you might want to enlist a friend to help you decide whether your home passes the smell test:

"Too many houses, on and off the market, have an 'other person' smell, whether it's lingering cooking odors, smoke, pet, dirty diapers...or just not 'home'," she says. "Ask a good friend with a good nose if your house smells of your pet, or anything else for that matter."

As anyone who has tried to recently sell a house can tell you, it is pretty much an uphill battle in many parts of the nation. Whatever you can do to give yourself an edge certainly can't hurt and just might help.

Can't you smell that sale? (Or is that bread burning in the oven?)

Charles Feldman is a journalist, media consultant and co-author of the book, "No Time To Think-The Menace of Media Speed and the 24-hour News Cycle." He has written about real estate related issues for several years.
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