Smoking does more than kill your lungs – it can kill the sale of your home.
I grew up in the home of not one, but two chain smokers. I was so used to the smell of cigarette smoke, that I had no idea why kids on the school bus told me I smelled – I could not smell it. I never understood until I went to college, and the RA demanded to know who was smoking in my room!
Smokers, and the people who live with them, can’t smell it anymore. My daughter brought home a cupcake from a birthday party at school – she said “I don’t want to eat it…” even though it was all pretty, pink frosted with sprinkles. I could smell why – it smelled like an ash tray. But the birthday child and her mom probably had no clue how disgusting their “treats” were to the outside world.
Sure, it’s your home, your life, you can do what you want. HOWEVER – when you are putting your home on the market, while it is technically still YOUR home, you are trying to convince someone else to make it THEIRS. And chances are, a great deal of your potential buyers will be non-smokers who stop at the door and refuse to enter once they catch a whiff of your Marlboro’s. Nothing will kill a deal faster on a home sale than a stench that makes you want to cover your face upon opening the door. Smokers may think non-smokers are overreacting – after all, the smell doesn’t bother you! That’s because you’re used to it.
Apart from having only buyers who smoke express interest in your home, or handing out respirator masks at the door, there is hope.
Some fixes are easy, but most will require a lot of elbow grease and dedication, especially if there is years of buildup:
1. Stop smoking in the house once you put it on the market. Yes, it’s a pain to go outside, but you want to sell your house, right? Get rid of all traces of smoking inside – no ash trays sitting around!
2. Professionally clean carpets & upholstery. I suggest using a company that cleans homes after fires – and have everything cleaned, including all upholstered furniture. All the cleaning and staging in the world is not going to help if the couch still stinks. Here is a list of cleaning services near Hawley, PA.
3. Clean everything else – and I mean everything, from the ceiling down to the floors. Nicotine gets EVERYWHERE. When I brought an oak dining room set from my parent’s home to mine, my husband wouldn’t let me bring it in the house until it had been thoroughly cleaned – it took at least 4 good cleanings before the rinse water stopped turning YELLOW.
4. Repaint – after scrubbing the walls, apply a good primer, such as KILZ, to help block odors and repaint your walls and trim in neutral shades.
5. Declutter and remove extra knick knacks which are collecting nicotine and smoke odors…especially items such as books and magazines which can not be cleaned.
6. Get an air purifier or filtration unit. I took an Alpine Air purifier to my parent’s home when my mom was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Within a day or two, the air smelled noticeably cleaner and fresher. I am unsure if it actually removed the odor, or merely masked it, but it did make the house smell clean, like the outdoors after a rain. (By the way, my dad died of congestive heart failure…wonder how much smoking had to do with their diseases?)
Sure, this is a lot of work and costs money, – but you want to get top dollar for your home, don’t you?
All the marketing in the world by the best real estate agent on the planet will not sell your home if buyers won’t go inside.
I previewed a nice home for sale the other day. Just cute as cute can be. Fresh paint outside. Nicely situated on a large, landscaped lot. Tons of curb appeal. Price seemed reasonable, perhaps a tad high, but not out of the ball park…why has this house been on the market for over a year?
Could it be that the home reeked of cigarettes once I went inside? Ya think, maybe?
There were overflowing ash trays on every table. Even I was grossed out – in spite of the fact that I grew up with two smokers. I’ve been out of a smoky environment for 12+ years and man, I can’t handle it!
I expect that any buyers who DO get past the front door will make their offer much lower, when they consider all the cleaning that will have to be done after the closing.
Why not beat them to the punch, and get that cleaning done NOW – and get a better offer on your home? And perhaps – sell it?
Additional Reading on Selling a Smoker’s Home:
Smoke Gets in Homebuyer’s Eyes – by Douglas Brown, Denver Post
On Tobacco Road, it’s A Tougher Sell by Antoinette Martin, New York Times
Getting Rid of Smoke Odors – Active Rain blog by Rick Bunzel
|WEICHERT, REALTORS® – Paupack Group
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