Buying real estate involves weighing a lot of factors: location, price . . . smell?

Some condo developers are betting that the best way to a buyer's heart is through the nose. The latest sales tools are signature scents designed to enhance a buyer's or renter's impression of a building.

condo:公寓         scents:气味,踪迹

The Zaha Hadid Architects-designed condominium One Thousand Museum, soon to begin construction in downtown Miami, will have a subtle fragrance in its reception area that is meant evoke the feeling of a beach breeze on a warm day -- though the building isn't on the beach.

condominium:共同统治,多层大厦           fragrance:香味,芬芳

The building's developers worked with New York-based company 12.29 -- which has created fragrances for fashion designer Zac Posen and musician Lady Gaga, among others -- to come up with scents to match the brand of the 62-story skyscraper. The sculptural tower, with a curved, concrete exoskeleton will have four custom scents, including ones for the fitness center (citrus, with a little dark wood), rooftop aquatic center (creamy coconut with a hint of orange flower) and the spa (tea and spice notes).

sculptural:雕刻的,雕塑的         aquatic:水上的,水生的

'The sense of smell is something that's most memorable to people,' says Louis Birdman, one of the developers. So far, just over 30% of the building's units, which range from $5 million to more than $15 million, are in contract.

The Printing House, a converted industrial building in New York's West Village that has luxury condos, uses a subtle fragrance called Australian Coast, pumped in by several scent machines placed around the lobby and in model units. It is meant to smell 'fresh and airy,' to complement the building's loft-like units and high ceilings. 'I think we really nailed it matching the aesthetics of the place to the scent,' says Matt Muller, the development's project manager.


Real-estate agents have long advised sellers to make sure their homes smell nice for showings, baking fresh cookies or a loaf of bread to give off a comfortable, 'welcome home' vibe. But luxury developers today are taking the olfactory factor a step further, working with fragrance makers and scent companies to pinpoint the smell that will help sell their type of building.

vibe:气氛,氛围          olfactory:嗅觉器官,味道的       pinpoint:准确描述

Tom Bakewell, the chief financial officer of StreetLights Residential in Dallas, says he has long seen industrial fragrances used in the industry to mask 'offensive' smells, like cigarette smoke and the mustiness of older buildings. Recently, he selected a signature scent for a new luxury-rental building in Dallas to help with branding. The Taylor has 308 units that average about $2,200 a month.


For the sales center and lobby, which are always filled with freshly cut flowers, he chose to add a light floral scent. For the fitness center, the smell is woodsier, he says.


The idea is to 'try to touch on all five senses' with prospective renters, he says. Clients view and touch sample finishes such as granite countertops while they listen to music played in the background, and drink soft drinks, beer or wine. The fragrance is a final, subtle, marketing tool.


Signature scents are the latest amenity that real-estate developers have borrowed from the hotel industry -- after in-house spas, concierges and valet parking. In 2006, Westin became one of the first major brands to create a signature scent when it introduced its White Tea aroma. It now features the scent at all its locations world-wide, so that a hotel lobby at the Westin Chicago O'Hare smells the same as one in Shanghai. Retail stores, such as Hugo Boss, also have used custom scents designed to keep shoppers in their stores longer.

amenity:舒适,愉快         concierge:门房,看门人         valet:贴身男仆,服饰      aroma:芳香

Ed Burke, director of marketing for ScentAir, one of the world's largest scenting companies, says residential buildings were the fastest-growing segment for the company in 2012. The company also sells scents for hospitals (calming smells or whimsical notes such as cotton candy for children's wings) and amusement parks (often robust scents like cinnamon and woodsy smells), as well as casinos and hotels. With a 3,000-scent library, the company tabulates everything from a building's color palate and finishes to demographics and piped-in music when presenting developers with potential scents that will fit their projects.

casino:俱乐部,赌场          tabulate:平板状的,制表

Samantha and Dawn Goldworm, twin sisters and co-founders of 12.29, say the trick with residential projects is to make sure 'nothing that we do smells like perfume.' Scents should be subtle enough so as not to overpower, yet distinct enough to leave at least a subliminal impression. Creating a custom scent for residential buildings and private homes, a growing part of their business, involves considering ambient smells and designing a smell that works well with the overall feeling of the building's brand. For One Thousand Museum, they also took into account the ambient smell of construction nearby.

subliminal:潜意识的        ambient:周围环境

'I equate it to if you're creating a logo for the space,' says Dawn.

For One Thousand Museum, they took into consideration the cultural preferences of potential buyers coming from places like Brazil, for whom the smell of various things would be different from what Americans or Europeans would expect. In Brazil, for example, cultural preferences lean toward scents with fruitier notes, while Europeans are more drawn to woodsier or balsamic vanilla notes.


'It's not what they like,' says Dawn. 'It's what they won't reject.'

The scent of everything from local cleaning products to cheese can influence how scents are perceived culturally. Petrol, for example, has a different smell in the U.S. than in other countries, which can play into how urban smells are perceived. For One Thousand Museum's aquatic center, the Goldworms say they took into account the different ways suntan lotion smells in countries from where the buyers would likely come.


Buyers at One Thousand Museum also will be able to work with 12.29 to create a custom scent just for their apartment, for a yet-to-be-determined fee. Ms. Goldworm says they will talk with families and individuals about their lifestyle, and the way they want to 'brand' their homes. They have started working with a few wealthy families who own homes around the world to create custom scents that will give every home the same smell.

Mr. Muller, of the Printing House, says he spends about $10,000 a year leasing the scent-dispensing machines ('a drop in the bucket' of their advertising and marketing budget, he says). Feedback from buyers has been so positive he is considering choosing a second scent to brand a set of townhouses that are part of the development and scheduled to hit the market in a few months. 'Our thinking was, this was just another element to add to the buyer's experience,' he says.


Miami-based development company Key International's new 1010 Brickell will have a woodsy, earthy feel with a lobby decorated with a wall-size, three-dimensional photo composite of a forest. The building's scent is meant to evoke that same atmosphere, combining notes of sandalwood, vanilla bean, oak and clove.

With prices from $600,000 to $3.5 million, 'the idea is to walk into that lobby and feel like you're not in the middle of Brickell,' says Liliana Paez, director of sales.

To make sure buyers remember the building's pleasant smell, the fragrance travels home with them in scented sales materials and invitations to an opening party.

'When you smell something beautiful, says Ms. Paez, 'it's part of your whole first impression.'

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