Smells That Sell

As this time of year isn't typically conducive to flinging open the windows to air out your home before prospective buyers come in, you'll need to create a fresh and welcoming smell in other ways. After all, smell is often the first sense that can trigger the "buy or goodbye" emotion.

It never hurts to ask a friend to come in and conduct an honest "smell check" in your home, for those smells you've become nose blind to.

The most important way to ensure a fresh smell is to have a clean house, but when it comes to cleaning products and disinfectants, remember that a little goes a long way. The last thing you want is for people to be able to smell which cleaning products you use and get overwhelmed by the strong scents. Try replacing traditional cleaning products with "green" options such as baking soda and vinegar — versatile and chemical-free ways to both clean and neutralize odours.

This time of year also gives you a few other options that work well with the holiday season: aromas of pine, seasonal baking and hot drinks.

A fresh pine wreath or tasteful garland can add both a nod to the holiday season plus a fresh scent, while the aroma of home baking — think gingerbread cookies — or the smell of hot, cinnamon-infused apple cider can create a cozy and homey appeal. Not into baking or brewing? Not a problem! Simply boil and simmer a few cinnamon sticks in a small pot for an hour before you expect your company, to create a subtle seasonal scent in the air.

If you're confused about which smell to offer up in your home, remember that you can't go wrong with no smell at all. Clean indoor air, with no evidence of food, animals, strongly scented cleaning products, potpourri, artificial sprays or plug-ins is the safest option of all.