Our sense of smell is a strong memory-inducer. The smells of our childhood can instantly transport us back to that time. Studies have shown that smells have the power to conjure emotional memories even more effectively than sounds, as referenced by this Telegraph article from 2012.
Realtors have long been using the smell/memory connection to help sell houses. Popular home scents in the past have been smells like pumpkin pie, cinnamon or fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies. But a recent article in the Wall Street Journal casts doubt on this time-tested realtor’s trick; it suggests that while these traditional smells may be comforting, the key to convincing people to part with their money lies deeper in the cognitive processes than merely triggering warm memories.
The article references a Swiss study that found that people were more likely to buy things when presented with fresh, uncomplicated smells like orange, lemon, basil and green tea.
According to the article: “Complex scents, even if they’re pleasant, can be a distraction because some people subconsciously dedicate time and energy to figuring out what the aroma is.”
Here at the The Apostal Group, we like to rub a little vanilla on the lighbulbs prior to an open house for a subtle, uncomplicated home scent.
What do you think? Will you stick with the traditional scents that trigger warm, complex memories, or opt for something more simple and stimulating during your next open house?
*Photo of basil courtesy of Flickr user The Marmot