Music is powerful and, while undeniably enjoyable, it has other surprising attributes. Reminding yourself of this could help you feel better and possibly have a more successful outcome if you are trying to sell your home.

Here is a quick quiz. What products or shows are these from: “For those who think young!” “Snap, crackle, pop, makes the world go round,” and, “A three-hour tour, a three-hour tour." As you were thinking of the answers, did you hear the tunes immediately and hum them as you said the words? You may not be able get them out of your mind for a while. Marketers have used music shamelessly forever, so why shouldn’t you?

I’m an easy sell when it comes to piping in music. I’m the one dancing down the aisle at the grocery store popping things in my basket I didn’t know I wanted. My boys figured this out when they were little. I would get to the checkout and wonder if I had someone else’s basket. Until I looked at their faces and saw the smile as I unloaded some dinky doughnut cereal with marshmallows, when they knew all we ever ate was oatmeal. Still, if music was playing and it was the right tune with the right swing, I probably smiled and bought it.

How does music do that to us? There is a connection with the beats and the tones far beyond the rational.

If you are selling your home, you should also be shameless about using music. I was touring homes for sale with some buyers when I walked into a vacant home. The radio was turned on in the kitchen. It immediately felt like someone was home. The music warmed up the home and welcomed me somehow. Other sellers I have noticed put on their television turned to a music channel. It worked for me better than the news on CNN or silently walking around hearing each creak in the floor.

When trying this sales technique, you will want to do your homework about what music to choose. Know your home and think about who might be a likely buyer. Try to create the type of atmosphere that would fit the lifestyle of your new owner. When in doubt, neutral music will certainly be better than none, as long you make sure it is background music and not rocking the rafters.

If you are a cat lover, you may be interested in a recent study from the University of Wisconsin. Psychologist Charles Snowdon found that cats responded to tempos and sounds produced by felines rather than random music their owners tuned in for them while they were home alone. Your buyers may be the same, so do your homework and it could pay off by helping sell your home.

I am amazed how I can hear a tune and it will stop me in my tracks. I can close my eyes and have perfect recall of that point in my life when I listened to the song. I will remember where I was, what I was doing, who I was with and even foods that I was eating at the time that song was playing. How can music do this? It’s not hard to understand when you see a toddler bouncing to a beat or a loud group of fans at a football game rocking in sync to “We will, We will rock you."

When you experience this, you know that the sounds, the beats and the words become automatic. You don’t have to think about what you are hearing or experiencing; you are just a part of a moment.

The documentary “Alive Inside” directed by Michael Rossato Bennett demonstrates the remarkable effects that music can have on people with the severest forms of dementia.

Dan Cohen, a social worker, implemented a project that connects patients with tunes that bring back smiles to their faces and songs to their voices. While watching the movie, I had to hold back tears watching a person sing after they hadn’t spoken for years.

I was also moved by the story of a couple in their 50s. The wife had Alzheimer’s, and her husband wanted to care for her in their home as long as possible. Their lives changed when they set up a shuffle of music from her youth. Life became much easier for both of them and they could successfully enjoy their home life. 

When you see this in action, you think it is obvious. But when you are in the middle of a stressful situation, you may not think of this apparently simple solution. Missoula is fortunate because we have the Missoula Music and Memory Project, which was inspired by this documentary. The intrinsic value and powers of music should not be overlooked, whether for health reasons or shameless marketing.

People often wonder whether it’s time to make a move. If you are evaluating your current home and whether it still meets your needs, don’t overlook the merits of music. Whether you decide to renovate your home, invest in some music to fill the rooms. Whether someone in your home needs some energizing, think of music that may have filled their life in better times. Or if you decide to sell your home, market it with some fabulous tunes.

This has to be one of the easiest ways to make a difference. Bring more music into your life and it may help you in ways you never expected.


Columnist Joy Earls is a broker/owner of Joy Earls Real Estate. She can be reached at 531-9811 or

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