Good smells sell…

smell the bacon
It is time to wake up and smell the bacon
We spent a lot of time and effort visually improving our home for sale, but we often ignore, or neglect to pay attention to how our home smells.

Bad smells don’t!

I was showing a house on the weekend that smelled like bacon. As soon as we opened the front door, the smell was obvious. I suppose being the weekend and all, the family living there got up and had a nice breakfast together. That’s nice. 

My client asked, either innocently or sarcastically if the bacon smell was a marketing tactic. I told him, straight faced “probably not” and left it at that. 

Bacon is not a bad smell

Bacon is not a bad smell, but I wouldn’t recommend it if you are trying to sell your home. Maybe trying more traditional smells that might include, baking cookies or scented candles would be a better idea.

It is interesting that the bacon-smelling house was obviously staged. You could tell that some thought went into depersonalizing and decluttering the home for sale. The love seat for example that matched the living room sofa was in the garage, stacked high with boxes (which presumably were full of personal belongings and knickknacks).

Smell staging

The point is, we spend a lot of time and effort visually improving our home for sale, but we often ignore, or neglect to pay attention to how our home smells.  One of the reasons for this is simply that we have grown accustomed to our olfactory environment and simply do not notice the odours. But other do. It’s like visiting a farm for the first time and realizing that TV commercials advertising “farm fresh” are clearly not considering the animal smells. TV after all is a visual medium.   

 So there are bad smells and good smells. If you are selling your home, the idea is to get rid of the bad smells, get rid of the source of the bad smells not just mask them with good smells. That never works. 


The source of many kitchen bad smells is in the kitchen garbage. That’s an easy fix. It is a good idea to remove all garbage from the kitchen before all showings. 

The refrigerator is also a source of bad smells. Cleaning out the fridge and installing a box of baking soda is also recommended. 

Finally, cooking smells, be that bacon or spices or many other things are at least a distraction, at worst a deterrent to getting your home sold. It might be a good idea to keep meals simple and somewhat bland while selling your home. 

Since we are in the kitchen though, now would be a good time to mention again cookies. That’s a good smell. I know some local real estate agents that bake cookies at all of their open houses. Yum. 

Coffee is another good smell. 

My mom tells me that one time when we were selling a home, it happened over Thanksgiving weekend and we were forced to get out of the house for a showing when she had a turkey in the oven. 

I’m not suggesting that you cook a turkey dinner before all showings. That would be a little extreme. 


I’m not going to continue this blog post by going into detail about bad and good smells and what to do about them. Most of this is common sense and information can easily be found on the internet. Before you list your home for sale, look for (smell for):

  • musty basements, 
  • pet odours (especially litter boxes), 
  • stinky bathrooms, 
  • dusty carpets, 
  • and sometimes stinky shoes and clothing smells. 

Pro tip

A good deep cleaning of your home will be a good first step in a successful sell.

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