Which fragrances will lure prospective buyers when viewing your home? Discover the scents to welcome, entice and ultimately, sell your property...
Did you know that the right scent can help sell your home more quickly? The power of fragrance is so strong that it has long been harnessed in hotels, spas and luxury boutiques to energise or relax people, or just create a welcoming atmosphere. Now the concept has started making its way into property sales thanks to luxury developments such as One Thousand Museums, in Miami, and Millgate Homes‘ Westbrook House in Ascot (pictured).
British developers Millgate Homes have plumped for the gentle fragrance of white tea and fig by scent innovators ScentAir to turn their show homes into soothing, luxurious havens. "An extraordinary amount of care and attention goes into each and every one of our show homes, from the interior design through to the soft furnishings, the brand of hand wash in the bathrooms and what is stocked in the wine cellar or pantry," explains Sales and Marketing Director Johnathan Cranley. "This obsession with detail led us to consider not only what our homes look like but also how they smell to potential buyers." Millgate piloted the scent at their Westbrook House development, in Ascot, Chart Ridge, in Trevereux Hill, and Holland Place, in Sunninghill, with great success. At Westbrook House, eight apartments were bought within a few weeks of launch, so they are now rolling this out to all their show homes. "Using more of our buyer's senses to form a bond with a home could play a vital role in the buying process," says Johnathan.
The American developers behind One Thousand Museums, in Miami, believe the right fragrance is so important that they have commissioned bespoke perfume factory 12.29 - the same people who make perfumes for Lady Gaga - to create custom scents that will charm prospective buyers. So the refreshing scent of coconut and orange flowers, reminiscent of the ocean breeze on a summer day, imbues the rooftop aquatic complex at the stunning Zaha Hadid-designed development, while citrus and dark wood combine in the fitness area to create a sense of purpose and motivation, and tea and spices fill the in-house spa for ultimate relaxation. The developers have even commissioned a signature fragrance that encapsulates their vision for the development to use in the Reception Hall. And to ensure that buyers really feel at home at One Thousand Museum, 12.29 have agreed to create custom scents specifically tailored to their taste and preferences.
Although commissioning a custom scent may be a step too far for normal property owners, there is still much you can do to make your home more enticing to buyers. "The property should be well aired with good old free, fresh air," recommends property buying agent Karen Goodin of Heaton and Partners. "Beyond that, smells such as freshly brewed coffee or bread and cakes being cooked make a property seem homely. Plants such as lavender, honeysuckle and jasmine also give off lovely scents and you could also burn essential oils." A small pot of lavender, such as this one by John Lewis (£45), is a cinch to add and can work wonders.
If you don't have time to bake bread or even brew coffee, you could always plump for a coffee-scented candle such as Bomb Cosmetics' Warm Espresso (£5.99 through Amazon.co.uk).
You could also take a leaf from developers Millgate and burn a candle with a soothing yet rich scent just before a viewing - Arran Aromatics do a captivating green tea and fig pairing (£10).
Charlotte Davey at luxury body and home brand Lilou et Loic recommends Moroccan Wood & Fine Leather, White Amber or Sweet Orange & Cedarwood as particularly suitable for creating a welcoming atmosphere at a property viewing. Moroccan Wood & Fine Leather is a sophisticated, grown-up scent, White Amber is a softer, gentle fragrance and the Sweet Orange is like a breath of spring air - sweet and pretty with a delicate aroma that gently fills the room.
Why stop at a single scent? Pay attention to the detail and you could make aromas really work in your favour. "We have found that at the higher end of the market it becomes about selling the entire lifestyle as opposed to just the house," reveals Gal Adir of boutique developer G&T London. "This includes things such as filling the decanters in the dining room with a good quality alcohol. It's surprising how many buyers actually take the lid off and have a quick sniff. They like that they can recognise a familiar scent and the tour starts to become a sensory experience where they can picture themselves living at the property, which is of paramount importance."
Vicky Williams of Berry Bros & Rudd suggests that you fill your decanter with Berry's William Pickering 20-year-old Tawny Port which has "wonderful aromas of nuts, spice, cinnamon and rich dark fruits." But be sure to decant it just before a viewing as, says Vicky, "it's a myth that port keeps for a long time in a decanter!"