True or false…
When you’re selling a house, you should bake cookies before a showing or an open house.
I guess you could say the answer is a hard and fast “true” because, after all, it can’t hurt. Who doesn’t like the smell of freshly baked cookies?
But it’s also kind of false…
It isn’t like you can Betty Crocker your way to a sale, let alone at the highest price possible. Your entire house still needs to be appealing. A batch of cookies isn’t going to hide bad odors enough or divert people’s attention from a messy house that needs repairs.
If only it were that simple…
Picture (and smell) this — a buyer shows up to a house and the homeowner has:
- Two dogs laying on the sofa (wet from being in the rain).
- Five cats roaming around. They share one unclean litter box and use every piece of furniture as scratching posts.
- A well-used ashtray in each room.
- A teenage son who has a pile of gym clothes under his bed.
- A freshly-baked batch of cookies on the table with a sign that says “Enjoy a warm cookie while enjoying our house!”
Think the buyer’s gonna want to grab a cookie, let alone buy the house? Nope. There’s more of a chance their son will figure out how to do his own laundry.
You’d think that’s far-fetched, but we real estate agents and our buyers actually walk into houses not too far from this reality.
The one smell that does sell…
Cookies won’t cut it. Nor will a cookie-scented candle. (Or any other candle scent for that matter.)
Pro tip: Some candles can actually turn a buyer off. Even if someone likes the smell of a particular candle, it may trigger curiosity about what the owner is trying to hide.
However, there is one smell that will help your house sell…
It’s called “clean.” But you can’t get it in a store, online, or from a late night TV infomercial. You can get the products that’ll get your house smelling clean from any of those places… but there’s no substitute for a good, thorough cleaning to create an aroma that will appeal to any and all buyers.
Whether you do it on your own, or hire a professional cleaning service, giving your house a good deep cleaning before (and while) your house is on the market is one of the most important things you can do.
That doesn’t mean it should smell like ammonia or “Spring Breeze” cleaning solution. It should smell like nothing, actually. Or at as close to it as possible.
Obviously there’s more to it than that…
A clean (and clean smelling) house is a good start, but there’s more to think about when preparing your house for sale.
Lots of homeowners do very little to prepare their house for sale, yet they expect their house sell quickly and for top dollar.
On the other hand, some homeowners go bonkers and do way more than they have to, or even should, to prepare their house for sale. These folks end up spending more time or money than they’ll receive in return.
The bottom line:
There’s a fine line between not preparing your house enough… and preparing your house too much. Always seek a trusted real estate professional’s advice on preparing your house just the right amount.