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  1. #1

    Question Scenting a house for sale

    I'd like some advice please on scenting my house when I put it on the market to sell it.
    It's not a smelly house (no pets, no smokers, no teenagers with stinky feet) but I'm going to be away a lot while it's for sale and I don't want it to have that 'unlived-in' empty smell tht houses get. I'd like to put some kind of passive room fragrance in each room to give the place a nice feel, obviously I can't be there to supervise candles or incense burning or spray a room frag around. And I'd rather not get those plug-in air fresheners because I (probably snobbishly and wrongly so feel free to set me straight) suspect they don't smell so good.

    What can I leave in a closed room that will gently scent the air and give a good impression? I was thinking of scented candles or potpourri, or maybe essential oils? Has anyone tried those sticks in a jar (Reed scenters?)? Oh and I'm on a budget. (It'll stretch a bit but please nothing REALLY expensive!)
    Please give me guidance!
    Thanks

  2. #2

    Default Re: Scenting a house for sale

    I recently sold my house, and used the plug-in type air fresheners. I chose vanilla for a comfortable scent. I haven't had good luck with the reed diffusers; they seem best suited for smaller rooms. Good luck with your sale!
    [FONT=georgia, bookman old style, palatino linotype, book antiqua, palatino, trebuchet ms, helvetica, garamond, sans-serif, arial, verdana, avante garde, century gothic, comic sans ms, times, times new roman, serif]“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.”[/FONT]

    ~ Robert Brault

  3. #3

    Default Re: Scenting a house for sale

    This won't help you much directly, but my old house sold through a showing during an open house where our agent was baking chocolate chip cookies. I have also heard that baking bread also helps. I guess the idea is to have a smell that brings the thought "home" to mind. (I will leave the discussion of the power of scent to bring memories and feelings to the surface unsaid.)
    So, Scentsibility's suggestion of a vanilla plug in is a good one - or maybe something in cinamon.
    One thought to keep in mind is that you want the potential buyer to walk into the house and immediately feel that they have come home. So you will probably want to stay with simple, basic, comfort scents that most people enjoy rather than the more complex scents that many basenoters might choose for their own home.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Scenting a house for sale

    Brilliant advice and many thanks. I think you're both absolutely right about the 'homeliness' factor being all-important and also keeping it simple.
    I've found some Yankee Candles plug-ins online and I know their fragrances are pretty good and not too cloying. Potential buyers will be treated to French Vanilla in the living room and hallway, Clean Cotton in the bedrooms and Fresh Cut Roses in the dining room which looks out into the garden which has roses climbing over the walls. I've also splashed out on some fragrant stones(?) in Fig and Olive for the bathroom - a nice fresh smell that's nothing like Toilet Duck.
    If you're interested, I'll let you know how it goes.

  5. #5

    Shycat's Avatar
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    Default Re: Scenting a house for sale

    I'm not selling my house, but I want exactlly what you got for yours! It sound very nice.
    Please, spritz responsibly.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Scenting a house for sale

    Having some coffee brewing is supposed to be a good tip (and you also have coffee to offer your prospective buyers!)

  7. #7
    DON'T DRINK AND DRESS

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    Default Re: Scenting a house for sale

    Bake bread or cookies. Wonderful scent fills the house--definitely a winner and nothing 'artificial' in the air to turn off some folks. I find that some of the scents used to 'freshen' a home are horrific nose and eye-burners
    'Those who grow too big for their pants will be exposed in the end'--anon

  8. #8

    Default Re: Scenting a house for sale

    Funny story:

    I work part-time at a Bath and Body Works store. Before Christmas, we had a wallflower scent (our "plug-in" air freshener) called Firewood or Fireplace or something. I had a real estate agent buy every single one we had in stock because she wanted to put it all over this house that she was showing. Put a couple hundred dollars on the business credit card. I never found out if it worked or not.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Scenting a house for sale

    Quote Originally Posted by kbe View Post
    Bake bread or cookies. Wonderful scent fills the house--definitely a winner and nothing 'artificial' in the air to turn off some folks. I find that some of the scents used to 'freshen' a home are horrific nose and eye-burners
    Yeah, those are very good. I've bought a number of houses. During my shopping, I've also noticed that apple pie/cinnamon type smells work well.

    IMHO, skimping and going with fake spray air fresheners is, well, phonier. Obviously that may be all someone has time for, I suppose. If not baking or something like that, I think candles would definitely be better than sprays. Making sure they don't fall down and burn the house down may be advisable!

    This is definitely no time for anything divisive like one's favorite Bandit, Kouros, etc.

    Good luck! Dave

  10. #10

    Default Re: Scenting a house for sale

    My sis-in-law, a realtor, bakes an apple or 2 in oven, leaves 'em in and then turns oven to very low for warm air infusion throughout the day...nice!

  11. #11

    Default Re: Scenting a house for sale

    Quote Originally Posted by Advocate View Post
    Funny story:

    I work part-time at a Bath and Body Works store. Before Christmas, we had a wallflower scent (our "plug-in" air freshener) called Firewood or Fireplace or something. I had a real estate agent buy every single one we had in stock because she wanted to put it all over this house that she was showing. Put a couple hundred dollars on the business credit card. I never found out if it worked or not.
    I'll second the B&BW Wallflowers. The vanilla is wonderful! I used these and another brand (Glade?) and the B&BW vanilla smelled more natural.

    I also left out a tray of Ghiardelli chocolates, and a framed "letter" describing the landscaping (it was winter) and what I loved most about the home. I had 18 showings and three offers in less than two weeks, and received over asking price.

    [FONT=georgia, bookman old style, palatino linotype, book antiqua, palatino, trebuchet ms, helvetica, garamond, sans-serif, arial, verdana, avante garde, century gothic, comic sans ms, times, times new roman, serif]“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.”[/FONT]

    ~ Robert Brault

  12. #12

    Default Re: Scenting a house for sale

    Gosh, what good ideas! I hadn't thought of leavingout a little dish of sweeties, but that's brilliant and will surely make the place memorable.
    I did think about writing a nice 'blurb' about the house and what we've done with it (it's been a huge project that has taken us 7 years), and I like the idea of describing the garden too.
    Many thanks for all the good advice, everybody.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Scenting a house for sale

    All good ideas...for a different approach try scenting each room with a different scent (very light but noticable). Cologne sprayed into the room and allowed to settle on carpet can be a nice touch. The transition the buyer experiences while going from room to room might be memorable for them. Cheers...


    Mike

  14. #14

    Default Re: Scenting a house for sale

    I think I read somewhere that the scent of vanillin loosens wallets. it might have been here: http://www.sirc.org/publik/smell_vanilla.html
    Last edited by Adrian; 19th May 2007 at 05:30 AM. Reason: i'm neurotic

  15. #15
    kumquat's Avatar
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    Default Re: Scenting a house for sale

    I suppose if you have an oven you could get some frozen cookie dough and then you also have treats for the viewers. Lemonade would be a nice touch. I'd caution against anything messy that could stain.

    I wonder if scent sprayed on cotton balls and left around in drawers and closets would help. I've never done it though, has anyone else out there tried it?

    I was also going to suggest an old favorite that I remember actually being quite nice. Tie an orange with ribbon and fill it with whole cloves punched throgh the skin. It really works and it's cheap. Hang them in closets and in the kitchen cupboards, etc.

  16. #16

    Default Re: Scenting a house for sale

    I like houses that have potpourri. Also the coffee brewage and baking ideas are good! I can't notice reed diffusers at all, and they are expensive besides. when my dad was trying to sell our house, he got plug in air fresheners and they did make everything smell good. pick a natural scent. In the olden days, people made candles out of berries. so i believe berries might be the most original and classic. Also, don't forget to open the windows as early as possible before the open house. good luck!

  17. #17

    Default Re: Scenting a house for sale

    Thanks very much for all your advice, it's greatly appreciated.
    I'm going to be showing the house myself a bit, so I'll use all those clever 'cookery' ideas then (and if I mess it up at least I'll beable to drink coffee and eat biscuits/cookies afterwards). But I'm also going to be away quite a lot, so I'm going to fall back on the plug-ins when I'm out of town - here in the UK house-selling isn't nearly as clever as in the US. Heck, The House Doctor (a US 'home stager' with a UK tv show) has only just persuaded us to buy new cushion covers and tidy away all our crap when we put our homes on the market. Asking my local estate agent to put an apple in the oven would probably get a reaction of 'that's against health and safety regulations'.

    Speaking of safety, in my impatience to try out these plug-in scenters I bought a vanilla one from Sainsbury's (don't bother, not nice) and it said on it that it couldn't be used continuously for more than 16 hours, which gave me panics about having to buy a pile of those security timer swtiches you can plug lights into when you're going to be away.

    However, the Yankee Candle plug-ins arrived today (haven't tried them yet) and there's nothing on their packaging about not being able to just plug them in and leave them alone for weeks at a time. Thank goodness!

  18. #18

    Shycat's Avatar
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    Default Re: Scenting a house for sale

    Quote Originally Posted by kumquat View Post
    I was also going to suggest an old favorite that I remember actually being quite nice. Tie an orange with ribbon and fill it with whole cloves punched throgh the skin. It really works and it's cheap. Hang them in closets and in the kitchen cupboards, etc.
    I did this once as a child. Man, that's a lot of clove buds and my fingers were sore. I didn't think of using a thimble, and I blame this trauma(it's posted already, somewhere!) for my current aversion to clove,(and bergamot, too, for that matter).
    Last edited by Shycat; 24th May 2007 at 07:20 PM.
    Please, spritz responsibly.

  19. #19

    Default Re: Scenting a house for sale

    Well I thought I'd update anyone who's interested. I sent off for a pile of Yankee Candles plug-ins in a select few fragrances, and I've been experimenting with them over the last week or two. I have to say that I'm not impressed. Oh, they are WAY better than the nasty thing I bought from the supermarket, but they really don't smell nice.

    They are far too strong, even on the lowest setting and there's a chemical overtone to the fragrances that isn't there in the jar candles and just leaves an overwhelming impression of... toilet spray. Or maybe dentists' surgeries. So that's a no-no, as I want people to feel welcomed, not get the idea someone just used the loo!

    Maybe I'll try the idea of hiding balls of cotton wool with essential oils on them.

    Or maybe I'll try Shycat's clove aversion therapy. Actually, it might be a good thing - could put me off lusting after a bottle of Caron's Poivre...
    Last edited by Wordbird; 6th June 2007 at 12:05 PM.

  20. #20

    Default Re: Scenting a house for sale

    Another idea which i felt rather genius...
    Some places you can find inexpensive ceramic lightbulb rings that you can scent with your fave perfume or essential oil. They slip ofer the neck of the lightbulb before its screwed back in to place. When lights are flicked on, the heat intensifies the oils in said fragrance, and the room is subtley filled with an ambient fragrance.

    Some have also suggested you can dab a very light spot of essential oil directly onto the bulbs and achieve almost the same effect (a cautionary note: if doing this, ensure you dont leave a "blob" of oil on the bulb as it can cause the glass to shatter).

    Scent rings are a great idea if showing the house off in evenings, or if you have an opportunity to flick lights on prior to the viewing.
    Last edited by Sorcery of Scent; 6th June 2007 at 12:40 PM. Reason: typo

  21. #21

    Default Re: Scenting a house for sale

    genius!
    I have one of those rings and it's excellent because you can put in an oil you know you like rather than guessing if you'll get on with a commercial room frag.
    I shall give it a go with some of my Lavender essential oil.

  22. #22

    Default Re: Scenting a house for sale

    Brilliant! Let us know how it works for you!

  23. #23
    kumquat's Avatar
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    Default Re: Scenting a house for sale

    The scent bulbs work pretty well. I just got one from Floris. A soaking only lasted one night so reapply if you like the scent.

    Also I'll just add this; I have noticed mildew and mold smells in several homes lately. I think people living with it are accustomed to it and don't realize. I recently had this in my house before replacing a leaking roof. The mildew smell lingered for a year even after changing the filter in the furnace and professionally cleaning the air ducts. Mold experts found the source; fiberglass insulation soaked with mold inside the door of the furnace and cardboard boxes that had been wet in the basement. Removing that, vacuuming & bleaching floors helped.The best thing I did was buy the largest dehumidifier recommended by the experts. Fedders ($180).I put a plastic hose on to drain and run it 24/7 set at 35%. The new digital units are way better than the old ones. Finally the mildew smell is gone!! We'll put one in my FIL's house before we sell it and take it with us to use in our storage building.

  24. #24

    Default Re: Scenting a house for sale

    Well I thought I'd update you on how this is going.
    I finally got the house on the market at the beginning of August and to clear the smells of paint and varnish I put on those Yankee Cndle plug-ins, which worked very well.

    As I mentioned, I'm going to be away quite a lot, so to give the rooms some ambient scent while I'm away I've gone for good-quality scented candles dotted about and left unlit. I know they won't fill the room with fragrance, but they should at least give little pools of niceness. The bathroom has a double dose of Tesco's fig, the bedrooms are L'Occitane's Lily of the Valley and Clementine. I've tried to position them in spots where people will walk past and get a whiff.

    We've had an offer already, so maybe it worked. (Or maybe the hours of backbreaking labour making the place beautiful was what did it...)

  25. #25

    Default Re: Scenting a house for sale

    Spray a good scent on your HVAC filter and run your central air system. You will immediately have that scent throughout your whole house.

  26. #26

    Default Re: Scenting a house for sale

    Do you know, I don't understand a word of that last suggestion?

    Are you talking about an airconditioning system? In Britain we don't have airconditioning in houses.
    Here airconditioning is really only used in big office blocks and in big shops - places like The Gap and suchlike. But your suggestion sounds like a good idea for people who have it.
    Last edited by Wordbird; 4th September 2007 at 10:39 PM.

  27. #27

    Default Re: Scenting a house for sale

    Ooh, a bread maker. You can get one (if you don't already have one) for under/around $100 and leave it to do its thing. And you have the bonus of fresh bread when you get home.

  28. #28

    Default Re: Scenting a house for sale

    Clementine is a nice choice, it's fresh and makes people relaxed and happy.

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