Homesellers: Does Your Home Pass the Smell Test?

When it comes to selling your house, first impressions are everything. You’re going to have house hunters touring your property, and it’s important that you offer them the best possible experience. Of course, that means ensuring that your house looks as good as can be.

Getting your listing sold isn’t just about looks, though. It’s about the full experience… and that includes smell. Yes, the odors or aroma that fill your home can sometimes be very enticing to buyers. Or, they can be total turn-offs.

Passing the Smell Test

There’s a pretty high chance that your home has some kind of a scent; very few residences smell completely neutral. The problem is, you may not be aware of that scent. That’s because it’s possible to go “nose blind” over an extended period of time. Simply put, when you live with the same aroma for many years, you stop noticing it.

For this reason, one important step in the process of selling your house is getting an impartial friend or neighbor to walk around, take a sniff, and let you know what the place smells like. Stress to them that you really want their honest assessment. If your home smells musty, stale, or sour, you need to know it!

Helping Your House to Smell its Best

Additionally, there are some practical tips you can take to ensure your home pleases the olfactory senses… hopefully making it that much easier for you to get the place sold.

  • Start in the bathroom. It probably goes without saying, but the moisture in your bathroom can attract mold and mildew… and those, in turn, can make the whole place smell yucky. Use liquid cleaners with fresh, lovely scents.
  • Take out the trash. This is something you should do before every showing: Empty the bathroom trash cans into the main kitchen trash can, then take both the kitchen trash and the recycling to their respective outside bins. Again, you may have gotten used to some of the funky smells emanating from your trash, so follow this step even if you don’t smell anything particularly offensive.
  • You’ll also want to freshen things up in your refrigerator. Do you have vegetables that are past their prime? Meat that’s expired? Leftovers that have been hanging around a few days too many? Even when refrigerated, these items can stink. Toss them before you take out the trash, and put a baking soda deodorizer inside the fridge to keep unwanted smells at bay.
  • Your carpets and rugs can sometimes contain bad odors… especially if you or your kids wear shoes in the house. A simple solution it to have the carpets and rugs cleaned, either by renting a steam cleaner or by calling a professional carpet cleaning service.
  • Do some baking! This is an old real estate agent’s trick, to make a fresh batch of cookies or a loaf of banana bread just before house hunters arrive, filling the space with sweet scents. It may sound corny, but it’s actually effective, and is certainly worth trying.
  • There are various items you can place on countertops to provide a fresh aroma. A basket of decorative soaps is one solution. A vase of fresh flowers is another. And, lighting a scented candle can help clear the air and produce a pleasing atmosphere for your potential buyers.
  • Make sure you freshen up every room in your home… including the laundry room! Let’s be honest: Dirty duds can make this small space smell a little musty sometimes, so open the door to let the air circulate, and consider laundry sheets and other air fresheners.
  • Finally, depending on the weather, you may be able to just open the windows for a little while and allow some fresh air to circulate through… a simple way to keep your house smelling its absolute best.

Get More Tips for Selling Your Own Property

As you think about the best ways to get your place sold, don’t forget about the way your house smells. It can be an important factor in providing buyers with that strong first impression.

And, for more tips on selling your own property, don’t forget to claim your free seller’s report from the team at!