DECLUTTERED THOUGHTS OF A HOME STAGER by Sue Proud, ASP®, IAHSP®, GCIRC
What’s that smell?
Scents and odors are everywhere and all buyers are influenced by them, particularly when looking at houses to purchase. The sense of smell is the strongest of all the senses to connect (or disconnect) buyers to your house.
When preparing to stage a house, we recommend getting rid of the sources of bad odors by making a house super clean and dealing with pet issues, to name a few. But how about subtly layering a scent through a house that has no odors, but is clean and staged?… Infusing scents for the sole purpose of helping convince buyers that your house is “the one.”
With that being said, should you pull out scented candles for your next showing or prepare to bake chocolate chip cookies for your Open House?
Well, no you shouldn’t and here’s why…
We need to stop doing what we THINK works to attract buyers and rely on studies that tell us what DOES work. Research shows that while popular scents may trigger positive emotions, they can distract from our ability to make decisions.
Eric Spangenberg, Dean of the College of Business at Washington State University, has been studying the effect of scents on the buying habits of people for over 20 years.
He and his co-authors published the results of their recent study in the Journal of Retailing. They found that shoppers spent 31.8% more when a store was scented with a simple orange scent over a complex blend of scents.
Professor Spangenberg says the same principles apply to Open Houses, “because in both cases, the aromas may affect cognitive functions in the same areas of the brain involved in decision-making.” And what were their findings about stores with no scents? Buyers spent more in these stores than in the stores with complex blends, but less than in the stores with simple scents.
When buyers are confronted with a complex scent, even if it is pleasant, they are distracted by trying to figure out what the smell is instead on focusing on the house.
So, how do you know which scent to use? According to Professor Spangenberg,
“You need to think, ‘What scent will buyers associate with this environment?’ It must be simple and positive and congruent.”
Simple: He recommends using simple scents, such as orange, lemon, basil, vanilla, green tea, pine and cedar. These scents are easier to sort out, less distracting and thus more conducive to spending.
Positive: Equally important is the strength and source of that scent. You don’t want buyers to be bowled over by a strong scent the minute they walk through the door. As the saying goes…”less is more.”
“You want scents to be on the edge of your perception — not centrally processed. This leaves the central part of your brain to do what it does best: process the task at hand” – Eric Spangenberg