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Last updated: December 21, 2020 • Home Improvement

Scents that Attract Home Buyers During an Open House in the Fall & Winter Months

Believe it or not, when a person walks into a home for the first time, the smell that first resonates, is the memory they will hold in their mind moving forward about the home they have entered. It is their “first impression” for the house, therefore it’s important that their first impression or in this case “first smell” is one that is inviting and not overpowering.

During an open house, it is even more important to have an inviting smell upon the initial foot in the door. The first smell attracts home buyers to come in, look around & feel like they are at home. Finding an odor that is attractive without being overpowering is one of the tricks on how to better optimize your open house.

If the first scent is one of mold, mildew, dirt or must – it will be the first comment that comes out of their mouth when they leave the property, versus a home that they walk into with an inviting smell – their first comment when they leave will be about how delightful the ambiance of the home was.

When staging an open house for winter, plan on using just one simple fragrance instead of a mix. In 2013 a study was done that found shoppers in a home décor store spent over 30% more when they shopped in an environment scented with a single fresh smell of oranges instead of a blend.

The time-honored hack of freshly baked cookies or bread is one way to go about making the house smell great, but not everyone has time for this and it can involve a bit of a mess that must be cleaned up as well as making the kitchen area warmer than may be advisable.

Below are a few scents that are inviting and easy-to-use for an open house to entice home buyers or home shows during the fall and winter months. Not to mention they could actually help with the potential home sale when someone is looking to buy a home.


8 Smells That Create an Enticing – “I want to Buy Attitude” During an Open House

  1. Cinnamon – an appeasing smell that almost everyone enjoys during the fall and winter months. Think about sticking a cinnamon scented broom in a corner, or putting scented pine cones on the mantle. Either of these options is inexpensive and long-lasting, one broom or set of pine cones could get you through several showings during a couple of months time.
  2. Pine, cedar or balsam fir – may be just right for showing a house during the months of December and January. The woodsy smell is familiar and comforting and adds a coziness to the home during the holidays. Be careful not to use too much of either of these smells as these scents can be overpowering if used in excess and some people might have a sensitivity.
  3. Gingerbread – a smell that is truly loved, this time of year. Best for showing homes in the fall and early December, gingerbread is a delightful smell that brings memories of family time and gingerbread house-making. Freshly baked gingerbread or a gingerbread candle will certainly warm the hearts of potential buyers of the home.
  4. Pumpkin – the fall scent that we look forward to all year! We just can’t wait for pumpkin coffee, cake, bread and pies to come out in the fall, and since we only get this smell once a year – it the perfect time to take advantage of it. Pumpkin warms the heart and invites a family feeling of pumpkin patches, cool fall evenings and family hayrides. Bake a fresh pumpkin pie and leave it in the oven, make a fresh pot of pumpkin coffee or burn a pumpkin candle to bring that smell of MMMMM-hhhmmm to an open house.
  5. Tea – A pot of tea on the stove can also give a peaceful zen-like feel to a home – try apples and cinnamon, mint or blueberry tea – which all have an appealing smell without being too overpowering. One pot of tea on the stove can spread all throughout the house, filling the air of each room.
  6. Freshly Brewed Apples – No time for tea? How about chopping a few apples, and add them to a pot of boiling water for a simple, easy-to-implement solution with a welcoming smell for all, perfect for staging an open house during August, September, October and November.
  7. Light, Fresh Scents: Oil diffusers are a noninvasive way to treat the air with a pleasant smell that is light; the best part is you can choose the oil or “smell” you want – from lavender to tangerine to the clean smell of lemon, choose the scent and freshen the room with the click of a button. They can be put in the corner of any room and out of the way, creating a new smell for each room a guest walks into. One of the amazing things about an oil diffuser is the scent can be switched out easily from season to season for an inexpensive price. Essential oils have great health benefits too!
  8. Fresh Garden Herbs – can really set the tone. Placing herbs like rosemary, basil, and thyme in the kitchen or bathrooms can create a sensory alert in buyers’ brains, letting them know this is a place of plenty.

Choosing natural alternatives instead of commercial fragrances is usually best, as you are less likely to cause irritation or an allergic reaction if a potential home buyer with sensitive skin or allergies visits the home. Use baking soda when cleaning to deodorize the house before laying over any new scent, a great way to brighten the room and not compete with scents you are using to make the home more attractive.

Any real estate agent will tell you that a home that smells off or musty will be an immediate repellent to home buyers. For more home staging tips, follow The Official Real Estate Agent Directory® blog and our real estate advice section.


2 Responses to " Scents that Attract Home Buyers During an Open House in the Fall & Winter Months "

  1. Reedy says:

    I’m lovin’ it! I actually just read like three of your posts today. So that means you better keep writing more, because I am going through these like they’re going out of style.

    • Teo Teo says:

      Hi, Reedy! Comments like yours keep us motivated to come up with better real estate articles every week.

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