Is Your Home Odor Driving Buyers Away?

Is Your Home Odor Driving Buyers Away?


Don’t be in denial about home odor.  Following is how you can help address smells that are driving buyers away.

Researchers studied over 400 people in a home décor store to find the most pleasing scents for customers and found that chocolate chip cookies, potpourri, gourmet foods, and other baked goods actually may be the worst scents for real estate open houses.  They could be a distraction to the buyers – as they subconsciously try to figure out what the scent is rather than staying focused on the house.  In contrast, researchers found that simple scents are easier to identify and less distracting, which promotes buying.  The most pleasant smells that the study found were lemon, green tea, cedar, pine, basil and vanilla.

It’s not just food odors that turn buyers off.  Common household offenders include pets, dirty laundry, mold, smoking and air vents.  Odor is caused by bacteria that attaches to ceilings, walls, carpets and draperies.  The seller needs to identify the source of the smell and eliminate it.  You can temporarily treat the air with sprays or plug-ins but the odor will resurface by your next showing.  If you can’t afford to hire a professional cleaner, try some of the following steps:

Take out the trash every day.

Bathe pets regularly and clean bedding, toys, and litter boxes often.

Avoid cooking strong smelling foods like fish and garlic before showings.

Use the fan over the stove when cooking.

Do laundry regularly.

Place fabric softener sheets between clothes and in drawers.

Place lemon peels in the kitchen garage disposal.

In many cases, sellers don’t realize the impact that odors have on the effect of their home sale.  Listen to your REALTOR® and follow any suggestion they may have on how to address the stench.

For assistance selling your home, visit for a list of REALTORS® in your area.

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