Smells that Sell Houses


When you are trying to sell a home, smells or lack thereof are very important in helping you accomplish this task. I usually recommend no smell if possible because odorless is certain to please all audiences. However, many companies and businesses have learned that by carefully applying fragrances you can increase sales. As people, we have 5 senses and I’d argue one of the most important senses for controlling mood and emotion is your noses olfactory sense of smell.

I read an interesting case study recently that when Starbucks introduced breakfast food into the menu their coffee sales declined. The reason was the smell of the food was overpowering the coffee smell that its customers liked and had become use to. Starbucks caught on quick and went straight to food scientists to engineer their food products to have less smell. The changes worked and sales increased.

Stick with the Basics: Best Scents to Sell your Home

I recommend using basic and popular smells that have universal appeal. There are some very fancy and creative designer candles that border on being perfume with clever names like ocean mist, or tropical blend and exotic flavors like pineapple and what have you, but when selling a house, it is best to stick to the basics. You want the scent to appeal to the broadest audience. For that reason, I recommend these tried and true scents as your go-to:

  • Vanilla
  • Lavender
  • Rose
  • Citrus
  • Pine & Cedar

Scented Candles

baxter-of-california-sweet-ash-scented-candleScented candles are the most popular way to add fragrance to a home. If you are using scented candles, pick one scent and stick to it for the entire house. You need at least one candle per room. I would only put candles in a couple of rooms, not everywhere because you don’t want the scent to become overpowering. The most important places to put the candles are at the entry and the master bedroom.

I have found using too many different candle scents confuse buyers and it can be jarring if two different fragrances don’t blend well together. Make your life easier and stick to using only one fragrance throughout the entire house.

Most artificial candles are made with paraffin wax which is a byproduct of petroleum refining. I’d recommend sticking with natural candles made of Bees Wax because they are healthier and do not let off toxins and carcinogens when they are burned.

Essential Oils

essential-oils-2Essential Oils are a great natural product alternative to candles. You can get some natural herb smells like tea, mint, and eucalyptus that you can’t get with candles. They can be a little more expensive and harder to use which is why candles are the most popular. Essential Oils are made from organic plant extracts and have been proven to have therapeutic health effects.

Food Smells

antipastoplatterReal estate agents sometimes serve food at their open houses. I’d be very careful with food smells because it can distract buyers from the house. Don’t serve a full meal. Heavy dinner smells, especially in homes with open kitchen layouts where cooking smells tend to travel throughout the entire house, will have buyers thinking about their stomachs instead of buying the house. Light snacks are best for serving at open houses. Wine and Cheese, with vegetable plates, or cold small sandwiches are always a hit. Some real estate agents try to pull people in by making fresh baked chocolate chip cookies- pro tip of advice- don’t burn them! Or apple cider in the winder months is another popular smell. Honestly food smells are my lease favorite option because I think they compete with buyers attention with the house.

Dealing with Smoke, Pet, and other Odors

One big mistake I see Real Estate Agents make if their listing has a bad smell is to try and cover it up. They will paint the walls or burn dozens of candles to hide the smoke odors or pet smells. This never works- what you end up with is a nauseating combination of the scent and the smell. How do you think Vanilla Cigarette Smoke Smells? Or Citrus Grapefruit Cat Urine? Wet Dog Lavender? What I am trying to say is that you shouldn’t try cover up bad smells- you need to remove them.

Ozone Pure Air specializes in eliminating unwanted odors. These are odors that don’t just go away if you open a window and try to air the property out. We use specialized machines to produce Ozone from the air. Ozone is an Oxygen molecule with an extra oxygen (O3) that is also the same molecule that protects our atmosphere from space. This molecule is highly reactive and bonds with odor causing compounds and neutralizes them.

For extremely stubborn pet soiled carpet odors or odors in car fabrics and carpet fibers we have special enzymes help to remove those odors also.

James Campbell is a reputable Los Angeles Real Estate Agent and a guest blogger for Ozone Pure Air.

Check out James’ featured listings today at

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