Professional Home Staging and Photography Blog: Mmmmmmmm... What Is That Delicious Aroma?

Mmmmmmmm... What Is That Delicious Aroma?

Mmmmmmmm... What Is That Delicious Aroma?

How many times have you heard that you need to bake some bread or chocolate chip cookies when you’re having an open house? Or to have potpourri simmering in the kitchen when prospective homebuyers drop by to tour your home? And that having something yummy baking or simmering in the kitchen invites buyers to take a keen interest in your home?

Oh, they’re taking a keen interest alright. But not in your home. It turns out that the aromas of potpourri, gourmet foods, chocolate chip cookies and other baked goods could actually hinder the sale of your home! Instead of taking the time to determine if your home is a place where they want to plant roots, prospective homebuyers will take the time to enjoy that delicious aroma that’s permeating throughout the house.

Recent research indicates that chocolate chip cookies baking in the oven is one of the worst scents to have when someone is deciding whether to buy your home. According to Eric Spangenberg, who is one of the authors of the study and who is the dean of the college of business at Washington State University, “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. At open houses, they are not there to process the smells. They are there to process whether this is a place they want to live.”

If the Smell of Baking Chocolate Chip Cookies Doesn’t Work, What Will?

Researchers sampled shoppers in a home decor store in Switzerland to find out which scents their customers liked most as they shopped. They found that certain simple scents helped shoppers to spend more money — up to 32% more. These scents can also help when prospective buyers are touring your home. “Simple scents — such as pine, lemon, cedar, and vanilla — can be easier for buyers to process and are less distracting,” Prof. Spangenberg says.

Prof. Spangenberg and his co-authors found that when the store was scented with a simple orange scent, shoppers on average will spend 31.8% more than when it was scented with a complex blend of orange, basil and green tea. “The same principles apply to open houses,” Prof. Spangenberg says, “because in both cases, the aromas may affect cognitive functions in the same areas of the brain involved in decision-making.”

However, “scents need to be congruent with the home,” says Prof. Spangenberg. “A cedar smell might work with a mountain home, but it could seem out of place at a beach house. You need to think, 'What scent will buyers associate with this environment?' It must be simple and positive and congruent."

The best scents to use during an open house? Lemon, green tea, basil, cedar, pine, and vanila.

If you really like this blog post, please comment below and/or share it with your friends.


East Bridgewater, MA 02333
Phone: (508) 443-1332

Lew Corcoran, ASP®, IAHSP, IAHSP-CB
Accredited Home Staging Professional
Professional Real Estate Photographer

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Comment balloon 73 commentsLew Corcoran, ASP® • September 03 2013 07:05AM


This post should be read by agents who hold open houses too. 

Careful though.  I've entered homes where the whatever they used was absolutely gagging. 

As for the day to day homes on the market, I find that about 10-15% have bowls of candy.

New home builders often have cookies or bottles of water.  That is welcomed.

Posted by Lenn Harley, Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland (Lenn Harley,, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate) over 4 years ago

Showed one recently that was so heavy with vanilla, you could hardly breath.  Keep it light, whatever it is.

Posted by Jeanne Gregory, The most important home I sell is YOURS! (RE/MAX Southwest) over 4 years ago

Interesting comments. Goes against real estate 101 but i agree with you. Much prefer vanilla myself.

Posted by Bill Reddington, Destin Florida Real Estate (Re/max Southern Realty) over 4 years ago

Interesting article, thanks for the information!

Posted by Kelle & Kevin Wirt, "There is a new Horizon in Hill Country RE!" (The Wirt Team - Horizon Realty) over 4 years ago

Very interesting article.  I appreciate you sharing this information with us.  

Smells are very important when selling a home.  Whatever smell you do decide on, just make sure it's not over powering.  

Posted by Amanda Christiansen, Christiansen Group Realty (Christiansen Group Realty (260)704-0843) over 4 years ago

Yes to this post, comments and subject matter...May I add that the smell of Pine-sol also makes the point especially in certain rooms like the kitchen, laundry and bathroom along with closets...Its a fresh disinfectant type of smell that says...READY 4 U

Posted by Richie Alan Naggar, agent & author (people first...then business Ran Right Realty ) over 4 years ago
I don't know about that. I was recently at a new home sales office. The smell of fresh baked cookies were Devine. Speaking with the sales associate some people come by JUST for the cookies. At times some of the residents who already bought a house, still come by for a cookie and a chat. It is sometimes a meeting place for the residents. Did I mention this was a 55+ community. The seniors really like meet and greet and a warm cookie. Great post.
Posted by Lisa Perry, Northern VA-80/15/5 100% Loans - Grant Money (FHA, VA, Jumbo, Downpayment Assistance, Conv.) over 4 years ago

Green tea?  I drink it everyday, and didn't know it had a fragrance.

Posted by Raymond Denton (Resolute Federal Savings Bank) over 4 years ago
Interesting info on aromas. My favorites are light & natural ones..... anything that is so strong you can't breathe is a definite turnoff - as is anything that seems to be for the purpose of covering up some undesirable smell (litter boxes, cigarette smoke, ripe garbage etc etc).
Posted by Nancy Conner, Olympia/Thurston County WA (Managing Broker - City Realty Inc) over 4 years ago

Lenn - Your absolutely right. Too much of a good thing is too much. And we all like the candy and other goodies that are left out.

Jeanne, Amanda and Jared, and Nancy - Never overdo it on the scents. As Lenn says, it can be gagging. That and the buyers will think you're hiding something.

Bill - Thanks. I much prefer pine, but will accept vanilla.

Kelle - Thanks for weighing in.

Richie - Good point. People like to know the place is clean.

Lisa - Thanks. It sounds as though baking cookies were served for another purpose.

Raymond - I didn't know either. I'll have to try it out sometime.

Posted by Lew Corcoran, ASP®, Home Stager & Real Estate Photographer (Scena Home Staging & Decora Photography) over 4 years ago

I love to lightly use the smell of coffee. I think it's simple enough most people won't get stuck on it. I feel that even complex scents will fade within minutes, sinuses filling an such. But yea you don't want anything gag inducing.

Posted by Christine Farkas, Awesome Customer Service Experience (Keller Williams Western Realty) over 4 years ago

I think too much of any scent can be distracting. Always best to keep it clean and light.

Posted by Suzanne Otto, Your Montgomery County PA home stager (Six Twenty Designs) over 4 years ago

I have many buyers who wonder what they are trying to cover up with the smell!  There is nothing like the smell of a nice clean house!

Posted by Christine Smith, Exclusive Buyer Agent & Attorney, Canton, MA (Buyers Brokers Only LLC - over 4 years ago

Christine - Thanks for your comments. 

Suzanne - You're so right. The idea is to keep it simple without overpowering the buyers.

Christine - Thanks. If it's clean, they'll notice. A clean house will sell!

Posted by Lew Corcoran, ASP®, Home Stager & Real Estate Photographer (Scena Home Staging & Decora Photography) over 4 years ago

As I was reading this, my very first thought was lemon.  Interesting study.  

Posted by Juli Vosmik, Scottsdale/Cave Creek, AZ real estate 480-710-0739 (Dominion Fine Properties) over 4 years ago

As professional home stagers, we recommend that our seller clients use "Pure Citrus," which is the brand name of an enzyme-based spray .... it has no chemicals.  It's light and when used properly, gives a wonderful citrus scent in the home that's pleasant and not overwhelming at all.

I personally love the smell of cookies baking whether the house is for sale or not, but can imagine the cookies might be distracting!  My mother used to bake an apple pie and that scent helped sell quite a few homes.

Posted by Maureen Bray Portland OR Home Stager ~ Room Solutions Staging, "Staging that Sells Portland Homes" (Room Solutions Staging, Portland OR) over 4 years ago

Lew - I have to agree with several of the previous comments that whatever you use, keep it on the light side... and stay away from the "plug-in" models.

Posted by AJ Heidmann, YOUR Alexandria & Arlington, VA Real Estate Expert (McEnearney Associates, Inc.) over 4 years ago
LEW- to me, anything that could be a distraction should be eliminated. There's nothing wrong with the scent of clean! That said, keep it simple!
Posted by Kathy Streib, Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224 (Room Service Home Staging) over 4 years ago

Perhaps the smell of fresh pumpkin bread may change someone's mind when buying a home.

Posted by Harry F. D'Elia, Investor , Mentor, GRI, Radio, CIPS, REOs, ABR (Real Estate and Beyond, LLC) over 4 years ago

I generally tell my sellers not to clean with a strong pine smelling cleaner because so many people in our area seem to be allergic to pine.  Cedar is another smell that can be overpowering.  I showed a house the other day that has two very large rooms that the walls and ceilings are cedar and it almost ran us out of there.  I would much rather smell chocolate chips cookies and let me keep the buyers on track while they are eating.  On a side note, I actually gave up two new construction listings because the builder thought that buyers would want the strong scent of the plug-ins over the new home smell and every time I would show the houses I would come away with a searing headache.  It just wasn't worth it.  Please whatever scents you use, if you do, keep them light and let a new house smell like a new house.

Posted by Don Taber, REALTOR / BROKER / CRS / GRI (Our Town Properties, Inc., Wilson, NC) over 4 years ago

Greta post.  There's still a lot of agents tell their clients this and it IS distracting.  Most times buyers are wondering what they're covering up.

Posted by Marc McMaster, Putting my clients before myself (RE/MAX Centre Realty) over 4 years ago

Juli - Hah! Gotcha. Yeah, me too - I'm surprised lemon didn't make the list.

Maureen - Thanks for the info. Will have to check that one out.

AJ - Thanks. It's always best to keepthings in moderation.

Kathy - As Richie says, Pinesol seems to work pretty good - and the smell says the house is fresh and clean!

Harry - Ah - you're back to baked goods which seems to be a distraction. But baking pumpkin bread sure smells good! Righ tup there with chocolate chip cookies and home-made apple pie.

Posted by Lew Corcoran, ASP®, Home Stager & Real Estate Photographer (Scena Home Staging & Decora Photography) over 4 years ago

I'm so happy to know this information! It will definitely come in handy at our next open houses. It is true that the scent needs to match the house.

Posted by Trisha Bush-LeFore, Providing Realtor Services in the Walla Walla Area (Preferred Properties Land & Homes) over 4 years ago

I found this blog quite interesting. I do think there are certain smells that work. Maybe 15 years ago I was holding an open house at an antique farmhouse on a crisp Fall day. I put a chicken in the oven half an hour before the open house. That chicken was cranking out its delightful aroma from 1-3 p.m. Can't prove it, but I think it cheered people up. I did sell the house shortly afterwards, but not to an attendee of the open house. Oh well, at least I enjoyed the fragrance. Good blog.

Posted by Millie C. Legenhausen, CRS, GRI, CIPS, MBA, Realtor (Calcagni Real Estate, Hamden, Connecticut) over 4 years ago

I'm not sure I agree 100%.  I certainly believe overpowering scents, pleasant or otherwise are a deterrent, but a light, pleasant aroma has never hurt any of my homes for sale, nor the one I sold myself years ago.  I occasionally use candles with scents like Grandma's Apple Pie, Pineapple Sorbet (which smells like a Pina Colada to me), and Maple Toddy.  Especially on cool fall or winter days.

My own favorite personal scent is White Tea and Ginger.

Posted by Geri Sonkin, Long Island Real Estate & Staging Expert (Douglas Elliman Real Estate 516-457-7103) over 4 years ago

Great POST!  Helps settle a discussion we were having this past weekend. Natural scents seem to be better than cookies in my opinion.  Will share with others!

Posted by Jeff Fisher, RE/MAX Fine Properties (RE/MAX Fine Properties) over 4 years ago

I subscribe to the no smells, no exceptions school of thought.  I've had clients who were overly sensitive to smells and were so distracted by the scents that they couldn't even look at the whole house and instead chose to leave early.  If something assaults your olfactory senses the moment you enter a house it is a lasting impression that you can't shake.  Even if it's something good like vanilla or lemon.  No scents are the way to go.  

Posted by Kevin Mackessy, Dedicated. Qualified. Local. (Blue Olive Properties, LLC) over 4 years ago

So interesting.  I always battle with my partner over this and I guess she is right!

Posted by Jay & Michelle Lieberman, Creating Calm in the Buying and Selling Chaos (Keller Williams World Class) over 4 years ago

Interesting post smells can make a huge difference. The biggest concern in how clean a home is if it is clean it is maintained if it shows signs of being dirty well it is just not maintained at all and buyers will look for what is wrong. So clean up freshen up and the smell of clean goes a long way.

Posted by Laura Filip, What can we do for you today? (RE/MAX UTOPIA , Serving all of Texoma ) over 4 years ago

The only scent I like is the scent of clean.  Many buyers do believe that strong scents are masking something.

Posted by Marnie Matarese, Showing you the best of Sarasota! (DWELL REAL ESTATE) over 4 years ago

We always run the risk of buyers thinking that the scent is masking something that they do not want us to smell.  Not everyone likes every scent. Citrus smells fresh and clean to most people.  I'm going to check out "Pure Citrus" recommended by Maureen Bray.

Posted by Sharon Parisi, Dallas Homes (United Real Estate Dallas ) over 4 years ago

I bought a house once because it smelled like bleach.  The owner was a neat freak and I knew I wouldn't have to do much to "remove him from the home".

Posted by Chris and Dick Dovorany, Broker/Associate at Premiere Plus Realty ( Homes for Sale in Naples, Bonita Springs and Estero, Florida) over 4 years ago

Lew, what great tips. Appealing aroma could really make a difference, the aroma to suit the type of home. Of course for the Beach House: The Ocean Smell or Linen and Sky. The Cabin in the Woods: How about some Pine. For the Ranch: How about some Lemon...etc...Great post, Lew!

Posted by Tamra Lee Ulmer, FORCE~NRBA ~ Over 1000 REO Assets SOLD! (Arizona Resource Realty) over 4 years ago

Lew, Great advice on those sensory triggers, especially the smell of chocolate. 

Posted by Brian Sharkey, SharkeyRE - #SouthFloridaBroker (SharkeyRE LLC) over 4 years ago

Thanks for the post. I've run the gamut on this. When I started in real estate, I took a bread machine to open houses but quickly got over that. I then switched to boiling an apple, a half stick of cinnamon and 2 cloves.  Now I don't do anything except ask the sellers to keep it clean. I absolutely detest vanilla candles and always wonder what they are covering. I agree that clean is best, and if you are going to use scents they should be light and not overwhelming.

Posted by Debra Hight, Debra Hight (Coldwell Banker United, Realtors) over 4 years ago

Lew, good points & an interesting study - when I look at homes, an overpowering scent, no matter how good, leaves me wondering if the sellers are hiding something more unpleasant smelling.

Now fresh baked, homemade cooking on the counter for prospective home buyers to a different story entirely!

Posted by John Meussner, #MortgageMadeEasy Walnut Creek, CA 484-680-4852 (Mason-McDuffie Mortgage, Conventional Loans, Jumbo Loans, FHA, 203(k), USDA, VA,) over 4 years ago

Very interesting post and one that I will take to heart!  Sounds like keeping it simple is the way to go!  Re-blogging!  K

Posted by Kathy Schowe, La Quinta, California 760-333-8886 (California Lifestyle Realty) over 4 years ago

When I smell pine and lemon in a house I think of scented lysol .  I'm a vanilla fan myself and I've also read Pumpkin is the best scent for men. 

Posted by Cindy Jones, Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News (Integrity Real Estate Group) over 4 years ago

Thank you for the excellent post Lew.  I prefer a natural smell, such as grinding lemons in a garbage disposal shortly before an open house.  Citrus is a good clean scent.

Posted by Bette Gottwald, "Bet"on Central PA Real Estate! (UNITED REAL ESTATE | Central PA) over 4 years ago
Lewis, Awesome post! For open houses I usually put some water simmering in a pot with a vanilla bean. Nobody has ever complained! ;)
Posted by Wayne and Jean Marie Zuhl, The Last Names You'll Ever Need in Real Estate (Hallmark Realtors) over 4 years ago

Whenever I've toured properties with clients and there is a heavy scent of . . . whatever, my clients always want to know what the owners are trying to mask.

Posted by Carla Muss-Jacobs, Principal Broker (503) 810-7192, Buyer Focused ~ Buyer Results ( | Portland Metro Exclusive Buyers Agent | 100% Buyer Representation ~ 100% of the Time) over 4 years ago

OK -- I have put the chocolate chip cookies on Hold.


I think this paragraph sums it up:

"However, “scents need to be congruent with the home,” says Prof. Spangenberg. “A cedar smell might work with a mountain home, but it could seem out of place at a beach house. You need to think, 'What scent will buyers associate with this environment?' It must be simple and positive and congruent."

Posted by Joan Whitebook, Consumer Focused Real Estate Services (BHG The Masiello Group) over 4 years ago

If I'm reading this correctly, it would be best to make sure there are fresh cut oranges in the kitchen before every showing

Posted by Ed Silva, Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally (RE/MAX Professionals, CT 203-206-0754 ) over 4 years ago

I suspect a lot of personal preference comes into play!  I know I prefer most anything that smells better than cat litter boxes, fish and embedded curry in the walls.  Ditto for cigarette smoke.  I'll gladly take Apple Pie, Cookies, Orange, Lemon, Basil, Vanilla. . .anything sweet smelling or natural!

Posted by Myrl Jeffcoat, Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent (GreatWest Realty) over 4 years ago
I like the smell of citrus. Boil some orange peels and add a dash of cinnamon. I like the grinding lemons in the garbage disposal idea too.
Posted by Rosie Moore (Serving Sugar Land, Richmond, Rosenberg, Missouri City) over 4 years ago
Lew - An interesting idea as so many choose to bake chocolate chip cookies for open houses.
Posted by Christine Donovan, Broker/Attorney 714-319-9751 DRE01267479 - Costa M (Donovan Blatt Realty) over 4 years ago

Interesting!  I can tell you from personal experience that a house full of plug-in "deodorizers" is awful!  And the rest of the day I smell like Summer Meadow.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 4 years ago

Hey Lew-that was a big surprise! I always thought that chocolate chips were the big deal maker!

Posted by Marco Giancola, Realtor (305)608-1922, Miami Beach Florida (Beachfront Realty) over 4 years ago

We don't really have open houses here in Miami Beach, for the most part. However, when I lived in Atlanta, and open houses were very popular, I sometimes would simply put a few drops of vanilla extract in the oven on very low during open houses... it's a very simple method to create a very light, clean and inviting scent without overpowering. Some real estate maven who mentored me as a newbie taught me that one.

Posted by Chris Jenkins-Sarasota Realtor, "Expect Success" (PalmerHouse Properties) over 4 years ago

I do like your post and found it very helpful so I tweeted it.

Posted by Jill Sackler, LI South Shore Real Estate - Broker Associate (Broker Associate, Charles Rutenberg Realty Inc. "Said and Done!") over 4 years ago

We tried chocolate chip cookies at our 1st open house, and you're right... no offers.  I asked my wife if she could start her wonderful roasted chicken dinner (one of my favorites) early on the day we held the 2nd open house .... and we got a full price offer.  It could have been a coincidence but I want to believe it was my wife's chicken, and I didn't hear any mention of the simple scent of poultry, just a thought.  The big plus is eating once everyone is gone!

Posted by Trent Dalrymple (248) 854-0625, Helping Mortgage Brokers & LO's Lend Nationwide! (American Mortgage Bank) over 4 years ago

That is a very interesting point- I never thought about the different scents- other than "What are they trying to cover up?"

Posted by Shanna Hall, I love selling houses!!!St. Louis, MO 314-703-1311 (Real Estate Solutions) over 4 years ago

Trisha - Glad to be of service. Hope your next open house goes well with the wonderful new smells.

Millie - did you at least try making chicken soup? I know that always works wonders!

Geri - Glad to hear you're having success with the other methods.

Jeff, and Jay & Michelle - Glad to have settled an argument! And please, do share.

Kevin - Sometimes no scents are better than light scents. And it's better than complex scents.

Laura, Marnie, Chris & Dick, and Debra - There's no doubt a house has to be clean. Some comments mentioned PineSol as having a big impact - especially if used in kitchens and bathrooms. 

Sharon - Let us know how you make out with 'Pure Citrus. I guess I should try it out myself.

Tamra and Brian - Thanks for weighing in

Sharon - I agree with you - especially if the scents are overpowering. 

John - Couldn't agree more on the cleanliness. And, I'll still hang around for those chocolate chip cookies!

Kathy - Thanks for the reblog!

Cindy - When Halloween comes around, I can't get enough pumpkin flavored coffee. But, I still like the pine and vanilla scents.

Bette - Thanks for the tip!

Wayne and Jean - Where do you get vanilla beans? I should try that one!

Carla - That's why you use light and simple scents - or none at all!

Joan - Give up fresh baked chocolate chip cookies? Never! But if I'm trying to sell a home, I rather put a plate of them out (baked before hand, of course) for people to enjoy.

Ed - You're reading it correctly. Simple scents - such as citrus - works.

Myrl - Thanks for weighing in. Anything light is better than some of the other odors we encounter.

Rosie - See all the ideas we learned from this? Keep it simple and fresh. Good idea!

Christine - I wonder how many agents will find something new to try?

Jay - Yeah, plug-ins don't work very well. I never use them myself.

Marco - I did so as well. I guess I'll have to toss them aside for something else!

Chris - Great idea! Thanks.

Jill - Thanks for the tweet!

Trent - Millie tried that, but it didn't work for her. Sounds like you got the best of both worlds on that one.

Shanna - That thought many times crosses people's minds where touring a home. Keep it simple and light, and it shouldn't be a problem.

Posted by Lew Corcoran, ASP®, Home Stager & Real Estate Photographer (Scena Home Staging & Decora Photography) over 4 years ago

WOW - just the opposite of what we've been taught! It'll make it easier on my wife, the baker!

Posted by Travis "the SOLD man" Parker; Associate Broker, email: / cell: 334-494-7846 (Team Linda Simmons, Enterprise, AL 36330) over 4 years ago

You're so right, Lew. I have noticed your statements to be true in my own experiences. When you posed the question, "what scents do work?", my immediate response was, "pine, lemon". Those scents represent clean and neutral to me, and are honest. Everyone knows that the chocolate chip cookie baking in the oven is a disguised  marketing ploy. 



Posted by Nora Sims, helping folks like you since 1978! (Northern Shadows Realty, Inc.) over 4 years ago

Hi Lew, Disney World vents their bakery odor to Main Street.  There must be something in it!

Posted by Bob Miller, The Ocala Dream Team (Keller Williams Cornerstone Realty) over 4 years ago

I have found that scents reminiscent of RAIN work well in our area. Maybe because we get so little of it naturally. The other water scent is ocean breeze.

Posted by Sylvia Jonathan, Broker Associate, SFR (Coldwell Banker Platinum Properties) over 4 years ago

I love the roasted chicken idea.  It probably made the buyer think about eating a nice dinner with his family. (#51)

Posted by Karen Steed, Associate Broker Haralson Realty (Tallapoosa, Bremen, Waco, Buchanan, Temple, Carrollton) over 4 years ago

You know, Lew, I've always been a bit of a skeptic when it came to the "chocolate chip cookies baking for an open house" idea.  Now I know why!  This is interesting indeed.  Scent is our most powerful sense in connecting with emotion.  Great post!

Posted by Jennifer Prestwich, Your Castle RE Colorado (Henderson, Thornton, Broomfield and Westminster) over 4 years ago

It is also good to have no scents as there are many clents(people) that are allergic to these artificial scents.  There are also a lot of people that will wonder what is being covered up.

Posted by Ric Mills, Integrity, Honesty, and Vast Real Estate Knowledge (Keller Williams Southern Az) over 4 years ago

People don't realize that many others are allergic to different scents. Had a client who wanted to bake cookies and all kinds of treats for an open house. I told her to just rub some lemons together and we would open a few windows just a crack with a couple fans to circulate the fresh air from out side.  I absolutely do not want to deal with cookies at all. They can be a mess to clean up. If I serve anything, it's bottled water. Absolutely nothing with nuts. Too many chances of someone going into aniphylactic shock.  I cringe when I see/hear of agents serving wine or anything with alcohol. Are you nuts? Gonna check for ID? I have seen agents get inebriated at their own open houses. Ok, I got carried away again in the comments. Keep it simple and don't put those atomizers in with the HVAC.

Posted by Theresa Akin (CORPUS CHRISTI REALTY GROUP) over 4 years ago

I've never given any thought to the aroma of baking cookies - but know I want to turn and run from a house with ANY kind of chemical air freshener. In fact, now that I'm not an agent, I DO decline to enter. 


Posted by Marte Cliff, your real estate writer (Marte Cliff Copywriting) over 4 years ago

Had t smile on nthis one.....I recall fondly a client saying that she loved teh aroma in a house....turns out that the seller was baking hash brownies!!!

Posted by Paddy Deighan JD PhD, Paddy Deighan J.D. Ph.D ( over 4 years ago

I just had an experience this weekend with showing homes where people thought making them smell pretty was an asset.  One problem though, what smells sweet to one person may be offensive to someone else.  Add in allergy problems and you no longer have a house people want to take their time looking at but rather how fast they can get outside of it where they can breathe.  Subtle smells can be really offensive to some clients and can give the impression that the seller is covering something else up. 

Posted by Sandra Paulow, REALTOR, Associate Broker, GRI, SFR (Aspen Properties, Inc. ) over 4 years ago

Times certainly do change.

Posted by Bernadette A. James, Broker-Associate, Keller Williams Realty SW (Serving Sugar Land, Missouri City, Richmond and Pearland) over 4 years ago

Interesting information...I enjoy a simple, pleasant fragrance in a home from a candle but the smell of baked goods...makes it just too personal for me.  Thanks for sharing the research.

Posted by Mary Hutchison, SRES, ABR, Specializing in Brookside, Waldo, Prairie Village (Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate-Kansas City Homes) over 4 years ago

It is good to hear that there are particular scents that work well. I know that too much of any scent is distracting but just the right amount is refreshing and pleasing.

Posted by Dana Basiliere, Making deals "Happen" (Rossi & Riina Real Estate) over 4 years ago

Dear Lew,

I read about this study too. Always thought that a plain clean smell is best, so break out the pine sol!

Posted by Dörte Engel, ABC - Annapolis, Bowie, Crofton & rest of Maryland (RE/MAX Leading Edge) over 4 years ago

I'll take the fresh baked cookies, aroma and all, over any other scent and I'm sure I'll get many more offers because of it than not. When buyers are serious about a home they like, it really doesn't matter what type of scent is more favorable than another because they're buying the house and not the scent, right?

Posted by Kimo Jarrett, Pro Lifestyle Solutions (WikiWiki Realty) over 4 years ago

Fresh air - clean linens - imagine being able to bottle that odor?  I think the concept of keeping in mind the natural enviroment makes huge sense - clean and fresh always ranks high in my book - and nose! :)

Posted by Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD, REALTORS® in Clark County, WA (ViewHomes of Clark County - Nature As Neighbors) over 4 years ago

Travis - And your wife will love you for it!

Nora, Sylvia, Jennifer, Bernadette, Mary, and Dana - Thanks for weighing in.

Bob - Maybe Disney knows something we don't. Else the Disney characters are tired of the aromas.

Karen - And if the houses doesn't sell, at least dinner is ready!

Ric and Sandra - Sometimes no scents is better than complex aromas. And you're right, people sometimes do think something is being covered up.

Teresa - Thanks for your input. I myself would never serve alcohol at an open house. Too many liabilities.

Marte - Thanks. Your comments should give everyone something to think about before putting any chemical odors into a home.

Paddy - Wow.

Dorte - There's something to be said about Pine Sol. It says the house is clean!

Kima - Not my study. I too love the smell of baking chocolate chip cookies. But why make it harder on yourself when you don't have to?

Debb - People used to hang their laundry out to dry. My mom used to do it. Nothing says clean and refreshing more than outisde dried laundry!

Posted by Lew Corcoran, ASP®, Home Stager & Real Estate Photographer (Scena Home Staging & Decora Photography) over 4 years ago

My clients smell the "intentional scents" as a form of manipulation and try desperatley to figure out what the seller is trying to cover up. It is a total distraction. I find a fresh smelling bathroom is the exception to the rule. My buyers seem to expect an air freshener in there. 

Posted by Dana Hollish Hill, Lead Associate Broker (Hollish Hill Group, Keller William Capital Properties) over 4 years ago

Dana - If you go heavy on the scents, that's what buyers will think. Go light and airy to make them want to buy!

Posted by Lew Corcoran, ASP®, Home Stager & Real Estate Photographer (Scena Home Staging & Decora Photography) over 4 years ago

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