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The Ultimate Guide to Using Ambient Scent to Sell Real Estate

Written By: Air-Scent
Friday, February 15, 2019

For sellers within the residential and commercial real estate industries, clean, fresh smelling air translates into a positive first impression for potential buyers, and Air-Scent, a global leader within the ambient air-care industry, offers many odor control and commercial-grade air freshener solutions to help sellers and realtors transform their properties into desirable, fragrant nirvanas.

Successful realtors are learning every day how they can tap into the minds of potential buyers by thinking outside that proverbial box. They understand the hidden powers of persuasion that lay within the folds of the proper scent in the proper place ambient marketing. Studies indicate that despite the import of a home buying decision, buyers know right away whether or not they are interested in a particular property.

One report issued by the BMO Financial Group entitled: The Psychology of House Hunting indicated that within seconds of stepping inside a residence, a whopping 80 of prospective buyers know if a home is what they want. The theory is that research has not yet caught up to the speed in which the human mind processes sensory information.

There is a caveat here and it concerns attempting to fragrance a house or commercial property strategically without the help of outside ambient air-care professionals.

The impact of complex aromas such as potpourri, on a prospective buyer can actually be confusing and non-productive. There is also a fine perception line between a clean and a deodorized smell. Scented candles and plug-ins are alluring to many, but they can also turn off and/or distract a buyer’s inclination to make a decision.

Using Scent To Increase The Perceived Value Of Real Estate

Ambient marketing provides the highly competitive real estate agent with a way to diversify and stand out among cutthroat competitors. It offers that elusive and sought after extra edge of persuasion based on human olfactory capacities.

Ambient air-care specialists know how to harness this fact to a realtor’s advantage, no matter what type of property is up for sale. They understand that prospective buyers, whether high end residential or first time homebuyers, are also unconsciously seeking a reinforcement of their life>

According to scientists, we humans can detect at least one trillion diverse scents. One little key to understanding real estate sales is the realization that women are usually the main decision maker when it comes to real estate transactions. Can it be an accident that they have a better sense of smell than men?

In some ways, real estate sales can be compared to the success of a Broadway play. Staging, costumes, lighting and colorful sets please the audience’s all-seeing eye, but the right scent in the right place seduces viewers even more powerfully than a handsome protagonist or beautiful female in distress. Ambient scenting is anther sales-pitch; a new bag of tricks, so to speak.

One way a scent can work in selling a home or commercial space is to match the fragrance with the location. For example, a scenic home in the mountain that evokes the scent of fresh pine or cedar can evoke pleasant associations and emotions >

For a realtor with many listings, working with a company that specializes in creating marketable, proven, trend-worthy scents with an in-house fragrance manufacturing division can work very well with national and regional real estate companies.

A Texas-based home developer provides the best example of thinking outside that proverbial box. A few years ago, this developer broke sales records by matching fragrances to room themes in the model homes. This realtor even went so far as to challenge potential buyers to identify the fragrances they experienced. This approach could work anywhere.

In addition to the strategic placement of scents, creating a seasonal ambiance by varying chosen scents is an effective sales tool. Warm, winter vanilla, pine and cedar would not fit well in the warmer months of the year when lighter and fresher scents should be utilized.

Understanding That First Impression and The Halo Effect

Whether the property in question is a co-op, condo, office building or private residence, when it comes to realtors selling them, they all depend upon a positive first impression, whether it is generated by a salesperson, word of mouth reference, catalogue or reception area.

Coffee brewing and pie baking in an oven are often present at open houses because they are two aromas that are like no others when it comes to conjuring memories of home sweet home in the mind’s indelible eye.

For realtors to experience the sweet smell of success, ambient scenting is the most powerful selling tool in their arsenal. The perfect luxurious scent evenly diffused via commercial-grade, ambient scent marketing diffusers is a highly effective tool to gently trap potential buyers by influencing their perceptions about a property. Once that first impression takes hold, the halo effect comes into play.

This psychological phenomenon applies to all selling situations. It can be defined as a mental reaction to sensory information. An example would be the perception of positive qualities upon entering a pleasant-smelling lobby that then unconsciously and automatically gives rise to the discernment that an entire building has “nice” qualities. Research of the benefits of scent marketing also indicate that using scent cannot only close a sale on a property, it can also increase the perceived value of that home or commercial space by up to 100,000

Social psychologist, Richard Nisbitt, studied the halo effect back in the 1970s. His goal along with his colleague, Timothy DeCamp Wilson, was to demonstrate how little insight we actually have into the way our minds work. Their experiment which was titled: The Halo Effect: Evidence For The Unconscious Alteration of Judgments conducted at the University of Michigan, was focused on discovering human awareness of this powerful phenomenon.

A 2013 study published in the Journal of Retailing was conducted by Eric Spangenberg, renowned researcher on olfactory cues in retail environments and the current dean of the Paul Merage School of Business at the University of California-Irvine.

The study concluded that sales in retail stores decrease with the introduction of complex scents. While those buying homes are not in the retail orbit, they are still buyers and the findings are still viable. Blending vanilla with chocolate can artfully conjure memories of home, but they also require thought to identify, which interrupts decision-making.

In an interview with the Chicago Tribune, he said: “When you are in the real estate business, you want someone to walk in and want to stay in the house, so you want the scent not to be overbearing, but familiar. You want to encourage revisiting because sometimes it takes several visits to decide to buy. And if you are stuck on baking scents, skip the chocolate chips in favor of a simple scented cinnamon bun. Some homes for sale are scented with a potpourri blend that may be very pleasant, but it’s just too complex...”

In another interview with the Wall Street Journal, Spangenberg stressed: “They are not there to process the smells. They are there to process whether this is a place they want to live.”

His study recommended using simple scents such as the following:


This category includes lemons and oranges primarily because they are clean and fresh scents and their fragrance lasts for longer periods of time than other fruits. They also induce energy and uplift moods making them ideal for residences, exercise centers, gyms and spas and office complexes.


Using scented herbs, such as rosemary, thyme or basil in a home slated for sale, particularly in the kitchen, will create a warm and welcoming feeling for potential buyers of residential real estate.


Vanilla is a powerful memory inducer and it also renders a home or office cozy and warm. It should always be strategically placed in areas such as kitchens. For high-end residential properties, vanilla helps to create feelings of luxury and exclusivity.

• Green Tea

For commercial property developers, the crisp, lively aroma of green tea helps to restore harmony. Its clean and fresh properties are often appealing to first time homebuyers where price is the ultimate issue.

• Pine and Cedar

These two fragrances are complex and particularly effective in residential sales during the winter months. They work well because by nature they are easy to identify and less distracting.

Other scents that can heighten value perception include White Tea, Green Tea and Lemongrass, Sandalwood blends, Amber blends and Tonka Bean or clean fresh scents such as Green Bamboo, Fresh Breeze and Lavender Blossom to name a few. All of these are more effectively dispersed via commercial air fresheners that provide even, linear diffusion no matter how large or small the interior space.

In conclusion

A successful realtor must use ambient scenting to immerse every potential buyer, whether for a residential or high-end commercial property in a sensory adventure that will encourage him or her to imagine living, or working in that particular space.


Air-Scent International has well over 70 years of experience in manufacturing commercial-grade, ambient scent marketing machines, high quality fragrance refills that are RIFM safe, pure and free from dyes as well as molecular vaporous odor neutralizing solutions for the enhancement of any-sized interior.

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