Don't bother baking cookies before your open house. Contrary to popular belief, the scent of freshly baked cookies won't sell your home any faster! That's the conclusion of a new study from Washington State University. Researchers say the problem with most cookie scents is that they’re too complex, even if homebuyers like the aroma. There are too many different fragrances that make up the smell of cookies – like vanilla, chocolate, and cinnamon – and trying to figure it out distracts our brain. So, instead of focusing on how great the house is, and how we'd like to bake cookies in it with our own family, all we can think about is “What's that smell?”
And researchers say that same logic applies to selling just about anything. Because plenty of retail stores use scent to attract customers and get them to spend more money, but not all scents work to increase sales. For example, studies found that when stores used a simple orange scent, shoppers spent 32 percent more than when the same stores used complex scents, like potpourri.
So, if you're trying to sell a home, what’ll work? Researchers recommend simple, single-note, natural scents that match your home in some way. For example: If you’re selling a house in the mountains, cut fresh pine or cedar branches. Or, if you’re selling a beach house, pick fresh lavender and mint. You can also try squeezing lemons for a fresh scent that works in every home, or spraying counters with Windex. Experts say that’s one chemical smell that DOES work because people equate it with cleanliness. But don't use a scented candle or room spray because people respond to fresh and natural aromas, but artificially produced scents will turn people off.