If you’re like many people, you know that prospective buyers use all their senses when they’re touring homes – and you know that your house has to smell great before a showing. But should you use artificial fragrance, baked goods or something else, and how much scent is too much? This guide explains.

How to Make Your House Smell Great Before a Showing

It’s essential that you make your house smell great before a showing, but you have to be careful about it. You don’t want to put off prospective buyers by creating an overwhelming scent (especially an artificial one), but you don’t want to waste effort by not making your home fragrant enough. Here are the basics on making your house smell great before a showing:

  • Opt for natural scents or “clean” scents
  • Avoid strong fragrances
  • Don’t use plug-ins or candles
  • Try to avoid chemical smells
  • Consider adding fragrant plants

Here’s a closer look at each. Remember, before you can create a great fragrance throughout your home, you have to neutralize any unpleasant odors. You can do that by sprinkling fabrics and carpets with baking soda, then vacuuming it away. You can also choose to hire a professional carpet and upholstery cleaner (or take a DIY approach, if that’s your forte).

Tip #1 to Make Your House Smell Great Before a Showing: Opt for natural scents or “clean” scents

Citrus helps sell houses. That’s because people associate citrus smells with concepts like “fresh” and “clean,” and it means that even a subtle citrus scent can make a big difference with prospective buyers. Clean scents, like the scent of freshly washed laundry, are among buyers’ favorites, too. You can also use essential oils sparingly.

Pro Tip: Run a lemon or orange peel through your garbage disposal before a showing. The scent will linger a short while – hopefully long enough for your buyers to come through – and the added bonus is that the rind will clean your disposal blades.

Tip #2 to Make Your House Smell Great Before a Showing: Avoid strong fragrances

Don’t overdo the fragrance or choose synthetic sprays, incense or an overpowering diffuser. Some smells are too extreme and can make prospective buyers think that you’re trying to cover something up – and that’s the last thing you want. Don’t pick anything that people either love or hate; that means patchouli, ylang-ylang and sandalwood are off the table.

Related: Should you put out snacks for home showings?

Tip #3 to Make Your House Smell Great Before a Showing: Don’t use plug-ins or candles

Plug-ins and candles tend to make a fragrance overpowering – and they’re usually synthetic smelling, which can make buyers feel like you’re trying to hide a bad odor. Additionally, you don’t want to leave candles burning when you’re not home. Instead, bake a batch of fresh cookies (and leave them on the kitchen counter so your buyers can enjoy them, too).

Tip #4 to Make Your House Smell Great Before a Showing: Try to avoid chemical smells

Though you may enjoy the smell of a freshly scrubbed bathroom, your prospective buyers may not. Some people are very sensitive to chemical smells, so be careful that you don’t overdo it in the bathroom. Besides, you don’t want buyers to think that your bathroom was grungy and you had to clean it quickly before they arrived.

Related: 5 tips for buying a home out of state

Tip #5 to Make Your House Smell Great Before a Showing: Consider adding fragrant plants

Some plants release fabulous fragrances, whether they’re potted or cut. Consider roses, eucalyptus, lavender and rosemary; each of these plants is fragrant enough to appeal to most people, but not overpowering.

Are You Buying or Selling a Home in Scottsdale?

If you’re selling a luxury home in Scottsdale, we can help. You can use our home value calculator to get a ballpark idea on what your home may be worth – and you can call us at 480-351-5359 to talk to a REALTOR® about how we can market your home to all the right buyers.

If you’re also looking for a new home, we’ll be happy to show you the homes that interest you most. While you’re here, explore all our Scottsdale real estate listings or look in specific communities:

Don Matheson
REALTOR® | Founder
The Matheson Team
RE/MAX Fine Properties
21000 N. Pima Rd., #100, Scottsdale, AZ 85255

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