There are endless tips and tricks out there claiming to help make your property look attractive. But when you need a quick, effective boost before viewers start rolling in, consider this: how does your property smell?

As investors and property managers, we spend so much time thinking about the visual aspects of a space that we sometimes overlook the other senses, such as scent. Intrigued? Read on to find out how you can harness the power of scent to give your property an extra ambiance that will stick with your viewer days after the showing. And no, the secret isn’t your grandmother’s sad, dusty bowl of potpourri! We’ll show you how to use targeted scents to accent the best features of your property.

Scent: The Strongest Sense Tied to Memory

So, what’s the best way to get a property to stick out in someone’s mind? Scent plays a huge role in the formation of memories, so while you’re advertising showings, shining up counter tops and practicing your friendliest smile in the mirror, you could also be adding targeted aromatherapy to sell your living space.

Science suggests that scent plays a huge role in transferring memories from short-term to long-term. Scent also plays a part in how we feel. Subconsciously, people associate certain smells with certain feelings.  Tap into those feelings, and your property will stick in the brains of prospective buyers.

When adding scent to a property, you don’t want to overwhelm your viewers. Pick one or two scents to showcase your property’s best features, and keep the scents as natural as possible. Think: light, yet permeating. Heavy, artificial scents such as faux cinnamon or flowers, can give some people a headache, which is a definite turn off.

Pair Scent with a Visual

This is key: making your property smell nice is helpful, but pairing a scent with a visual will implant it in your viewers’ minds on a deep psychological level. For every trick below, we’ve included a tip on how to pair it with a visual, accentuating what you believe to be the strongest features of your property.

Brighten Up A Room or Hallway with Fresh Citrus Fruits

Brighten up a smaller space with the scents of fresh citrus. From an efficiency or one-bedroom apartment to a crowded entry or dark hallway, use citrus to brighten smaller areas.

  • How it works: Citrus is a fresh, clean scent that people associate with sunshine and vitamins. It can also remind us of cleaning products or natural furniture polish.
  • Pair with a visual: To accentuate a modern space, place a sleek glass bowl or vase of lemons on the counter. For a more rustic feel, mix citrus fruits and display them in a woven basket. If you pair lemons with flowers such as lavender, it’s millennial buyer catnip.

Soothing Floral Scents

Perfect for living areas, office spaces, or bedrooms. Use an oil diffuser or mist carpets, bedding and curtains to slowly release a natural floral scent.

  • How it works: Light floral scents are sophisticated and soothing, Use rose, lavender or rose geranium.
  • Pair with a visual: a vase of flowers on the table is great, but the light scent of flowers permeating from it is magical. If you have a sunroom that you’d like to emphasize would be great for growing plants, throw a potted flower or some herbs in there and spritz around essential oils of flowers or grass.

“The Bleach Trick”

Sure, the property you’re showing off is clean–but does it smell clean? Use tissue or cotton to dab a bit of bleach on the porcelain behind your already-pristine toilet. A small dab or spritz will do–you don’t want to turn your guests away.

  • How it works: a subtle bleach smell tells the viewer, “Oh yeah, this bathroom is fresh,” and ready to move into. When paired with another “fresh bathroom” scent, such as ocean breeze, it can make the bathroom seem lighter and airier—with the underlying clean scent of bleach.
  • Pair with a visual: in addition to getting everything clean, polish up something in the bathroom (such as a stainless steel faucet or the top of the toilet tank) so that it really gleams.

Homey Ambience with Vanilla & Spice

Draw attention to a kitchen that you think is special with a comforting, homey scent. Ideally, you’d have freshly baked cookies popping out of the oven when your guests arrived…yeah, like that’s going to happen! 

Get a similar effect by pairing a display of baked goods with a subtly-placed scent diffuser or naturally scented candles. Creating a kitchen mood helps sell small, compact kitchens to millennials and huge country kitchens to suburban housewives-—everyone loves food.

  • How it works: Vanilla cupcakes you got from a baker magically fill the room with an aura of vanilla. Suddenly, the young couple looking at the place thinks, “We could bake things here, in our new kitchen.” After they leave they’ll be daydreaming about kitchen confections.
  • Pair with a visual: A plate of cookies seems to fill the room with the scent of chocolate, while a tray of apple-streusel muffins sends out signals of fruit and spice. A pot of coffee or tea goes over well with most guests, sending a delicious scent of its own.

Accentuate Hardwood Floors

For this one, you’ve already got a built-in visual: beautiful hardwood floors! Shining up floors before guests arrive creates a dazzling statement, but some floor cleaners and polishes leave strong chemical scents that can turn people away. Instead, opt for natural, woodsy essential oils.

  • How it Works: Natural wood scents such as evergreen or oak will make your floors the selling point of a place. Use a diffuser, or put a solution in a sponge mop for glowing floors that will stick with your viewers.

The Power of Scent—An Affordable Trick to Set Your Property Apart

It doesn’t cost much to make your property smell fantastic. The best part is, well-placed scents do the talking for you. Don’t just tell a viewer that their new home is cozy, modern or spacious—make them feel the way you want them to by harnessing the selling power of scent.

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