• A home's smell can make or break a sale.
  • Open the doors and windows, use surface cleaner and do a load of laundry to bring fresh, familiar scents to the home.
  • Bake cookies or put vanilla extract in the oven to go that extra mile.

Patryk Kosmider / Shutterstock.com

Every home carries scents of the wonderful meals we prepare, cleaners we use, laundry we’re doing and even the furniture we choose, whether it be a leather armchair or antique highboy. Combined, these are like our family scent signature.

Unfortunately, some scents, like those from our pets, smoke or pungent cooking odors, are not very pleasant. Here are some things to help offset those offensive odors before a showing:

Two hours before a showing

Open the windows and doors to exchange stale air with fresh air from outside. The fresh outside air will exchange with the inside air in about an hour.

While they’re open

  • Clean hard surface floors with a diluted floor cleaner with a warm scent, like lavender. Lavender is a welcoming, calming scent for guests.
  • Use a diluted amount of the same all-purpose cleaner to spray and quickly wipe down kitchen counters and flat surfaces.
  • Using the same cleaner, wipe down surfaces in all bathrooms. Do not use bleach or ammonia for this.
  • Sprinkle baking soda lightly on carpets and vacuum after a few minutes.
  • Clean litter boxes and move them outside or to a garage or carport area away from foot traffic.
  • Spray linen freshener in closets for a clean, fresh smell.
  • Do one load of laundry, both wash and dry. This will help the laundry room smell fresh, and externally vented dryers will make the outside smell like clean laundry, too!

Additional options

  • Bake a sheet of chocolate chip cookies. No need to go all out — just pick up a roll of refrigerated cookie dough and keep those on hand. Slice, bake and voila!
  • Put two caps of vanilla extract in a coffee cup, then place it in the oven at 300 degrees for one hour. The whole house will soon smell like vanilla heaven without using harsh chemical air fresheners.
  • (Don’t forget to turn the oven off, remove the cup and hide it in the dishwasher, or a nosy buyer may see our little trick!)

Before you leave

When leaving the home for the soon-to-arrive agent and buyer, open all the curtains, turn on all the lights, remove bathroom rugs, hang fresh towels, and flush and close toilets.

Your fresh-smelling home will stand out from the rest!

Email Sue Ann Stevens

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