There are six smells your home should not emit while it’s on the market.

As a seller, it makes sense to pay attention to scents if you want to maximize your home sale.

The sense of smell is amazing. Studies show that smells trigger memories, and I certainly find this to be true each time I’m pulled into a memory when I catch a whiff of a certain aroma. Smells can also affect emotions, which is why they can be a better memory trigger than any other sense—including sight. This couldn’t be truer for buyers touring homes for sale.

Like it or not, every home has its own distinct fragrance. Some have aromas that evoke a sense of peace and comfort; others, not so much. Some homes smell like fresh paint and new carpet and indicate recent renovations, while others have musty, dank odors that suggest issues are lurking in dark corners. The point is, managing odor is critical when selling a home, and there are six smells you must avoid when marketing yours:

1. Cigarettes. With so many people reacting negatively to the smell of cigarette smoke, this is easily the worst-offending odor. Many smokers assume that if they only smoke outside, their home won’t smell like cigarettes. What they don’t realize, though, is that the smell of smoke permeates the clothes they wear. As soon as they reenter their home after smoking a cigarette, that cigarette smell does too.

2. Pets. While not all pets produce odors, some dogs have a distinct canine smell that’s noticeable as soon as you enter the home. Cats do too, and animal urine and unclean litter boxes can be a big turnoff for buyers. Additionally, pet rats radiate their own smell—especially if their cages aren’t clean. More exotic pets, such as ferrets, can produce exotic smells that can be intolerable to some visitors.

Pet odors can be difficult to deal with for two reasons. First, pets are our companions, and the thought of moving them out of the home during its marketing period is something that doesn’t sit well with sellers. Second, because they live in the same home as their pets, most owners become noseblind to their odors and sometimes get offended when this topic is brought up.

3. Certain foods. The worst cooking smells are curry and fried fish. Much like cigarette smoke, curry permeates soft surfaces in a home. While some buyers may be okay with the odor of food, others can’t stand it, which results in an immediate turnoff.

“Managing odor is critical when selling a home.”

4. Mold and mildew. These smells usually come from moist locations—bathrooms, basements, laundry rooms, etc. Most of the time, removing this type of odor is as simple as finding where the moisture is coming from.

5. Trash. It’s imperative that you remove all trash from the home you’re trying to market. Also, clean the whole area where your garbage cans sit.

6. Candles and incense. Some people have fragrance sensitivities and can react to strong perfume smells from candles and incense. These reactions can include headaches and difficulty breathing. That’s why it’s best to avoid setting out perfume devices that emit strong scents.

The truth is, bad smells kill sales. While some odors welcome buyers in, others can push them back out the door in short order. When preparing to sell your home, you may want to ask your Realtor, a trusted friend, or a family member what they smell when they enter your home. You want this person to be brutally honest with you. Knowing that you only have one chance at a good first impression, it only makes sense to pay attention to scents.

Here at the Tami Holmes Real Estate Team, we’re dedicated to helping you with all the important details of selling a home. If you’d like us to help you hit the ground running with your home sale, give us a call or send an email. We look forward to hearing from you.