I have a very strong sense of smell as I also find many of my clients have. Often when previewing homes a predetermination of the house is made based on the smell.
How many times have you heard that you need to bake some chocolate chip cookies when you’re having an open house? Or to have potpourri simmering in the kitchen or light candles when prospective home buyers drop by to tour your home? Does having something baking or simmering in the kitchen invite buyers to take a greater interest in your home?
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 home buyers 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 vanilla.
As I think about certain showings I tend to agree as long as the scent is not overpowering. If there is too much of an odor many times buyers tend to think there is a need to cover up an odor such as smoke, mold, pets, and other things.
My best advice to home sellers is to ask your realtor or a friend with a good sense of smell to give you an honest evaluation of your home’s scent. This may just be the kick start you need to get your house SOLD! And for home buyers try to schedule a second visit to a house on short notice with the sellers gone and see if you find the smell inviting!