Appealing to a Buyer's Senses

When buyers are on the hunt for a new home, they do something similar to speed dating where they move from house to house, comparing several properties, over a brief period of time to find that true ‘love’. And, like speed dating, first impressions make or break the outcome.

To sell your home, you need to appeal to all of the senses to make an emotional connection. You want it to look good, smell good, sound good, taste good and feel good. Here’s how:

Looking good

  • every aspect of your home needs to shine - from the curb appeal, through the house itself and into the backyard/property

  • re-establish each room’s original purpose (if you’ve been using say a bedroom as an office, stage it as a bedroom)

  • remember, the less you showcase your personal tastes, the better

Smelling good

  • the air needs to be clean and fresh, weather permitting, open windows to let the fresh air in

  • smoke - if you have smoked in the house, it will need to be professionally addressed - (this is the number one deterrent, hands down)

  • no artificial fragrances since this can give the message that you are trying to cover something up

  • ensure all garbage kept outside or in garage

  • pet odours are a big problem - make sure you’ve dealt with cat litter, etc. (lots of tips and tricks online)

Sounding good

  • set the mood so that buyers feel like lingering

  • if there’s a chance of road noise or noise from neighbours, close the windows!

  • keep in mind other house noises like leaky faucets or squeaky steps

  • Soft, pleasant music playing in the background is also an option

Tasting good

  • keep a simple treat on hand (wrapped candy or small candy bars) for buyers to enjoy or bottled water (snacking slows down buyers!)

Remember, buyers want to feel good!

The home shouldn’t cause any discomfort but rather be easy to navigate and pleasant to be in - this can include factors like the home’s temperature, floors being easy to walk on, walkways clear and safe, etc.

Bottom line is this - buyers often talk about falling in love with a house but it’s not necessarily the house … rather, it’s the concept of living in the house. You need to start a romance with the lifestyle your house represents. Remember, people buy aspirationally!


What Staging Is (and is not)

One of the biggest misconceptions surrounding staging is that it’s something akin to setting the stage for a magazine shoot or ‘overdecorating’. Nope.

Decorating or designing (the terms most commonly used) appeals to the person living in the home; staging is removing the owner’s personal connection and targeting the buyer who is likely to purchase your home.

Here’s a quick chart that should help:


Staging focuses on improving a property by transforming it into a welcome, appealing and attractive product for sale.

Remember, timing is everything. Stage your home before you list so that you don’t risk making a less-than-favourable first impression with a potential buyer.

What Your Home Needs to Appeal to Buyers

When you list your home, you want the best chance at having it appeal to buyers and standing out from the competition. Putting it out there “as-is” probably won’t cut it. So, to make sure your home makes a positive impression, here’s what you need to focus on:

Curb appeal

The first impression a buyer gets of your home is crucial. Nothing that you do on the inside matters if you can’t grab their attention from the curb. Oftentimes, they can’t get past the exterior to even take the next step of touring inside.

Maintain the lawn and landscaping, pressure wash decks and other needed areas (garage door, siding), and give the home a fresh coat of paint if needed. Extra touches like a welcome mat, potted plants by the front door, and new light fixtures will help it stand out.

Clean, uncluttered space

No one enjoys going into a home that is packed with clutter. Even if the home has had a deep clean, it won’t feel like it is if there are items everywhere.

Put away personal items and family photos, neutralize the décor, and create as much space on the shelves and other surfaces as possible. As for the cleaning, hire a professional for a thorough job.

Plenty of light

The majority of buyers prefer bright, open spaces. They look larger and feel more inviting. Allow natural light in from windows by choosing window treatments that don’t block the light. Move furniture out of the way and trim back trees that could be blocking the light from the outside. Other tricks like mirrors and reflective surfaces can bounce light to help out too.

A welcoming vibe

Have you ever walked into a home and something felt off? Or you felt nothing at all? A cold, unwelcoming home won’t impress buyers. In fact, many of them decide on what home to offer on based on the way it makes them feel rather than how many things it checks off on their list.

To create that ‘feeling’, make sure the décor is neutral so that it appeals to the widest number of buyers possible. Once it’s been decluttered and cleaned, add in some special touches to make it feel like home (coffee cups in a tray, flowers, hanging robe in an ensuite, etc). Small touches can go a long way.

Rooms with a clear purpose

Many buyers struggle to imagine how a space can be used without seeing examples in front of them. Rooms that are empty or have multiple purposes can confuse buyers and make them feel like the space is wasted or won’t work for what they need.

To make sure there is no confusion, make sure every room in your home has one clear purpose. Keep in mind who the most likely buyer will be and cater to that demographic accordingly.