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Effects of cigarette smoke on home value

Cigarette smoke significantly impacts the sale of a house. Buyers are much less likely to consider a home in which the homeowners have smoked. Those who are willing to look will reduce bids substantially. A study by Pfizer Canada in 2013 concluded that smoking in a property may lower its value by up to 30 percent. That does not include the money lost by the continued cost to own and maintain the house during extended days on the market.

Cigarette smoke penetrates the entire property. Extensive knowledge, time and effort are required to counteract the effects of smoking. This is not a DIY project. After days and weeks of hard work and expense, homeowners will realize they have bitten off more than they can chew. Hiring the professionals from the start will save you time and money in the long run.

Cigarette smoke is pervasive. An amateur following a general checklist will likely miss integral spots, resulting in untreated or inadequately treated areas. Any contamination that is not removed will re-infiltrate the house.

When you call in the pros, expect that they will require the removal of anything porous such as window treatments, carpeting and padding, laminate, vinyl and furniture. Often, light fixtures and ceiling fans will need to be replaced. Cabinets and other wood surfaces, counters, tile and grout may not be salvageable. The list goes on.

Ozone treatment alone will not correct the problem. The pros will focus beyond the visible, and will treat into the walls, under the baseboards, switches and plates, and into the subfloors and ducts. And don’t forget the attic. Insulation needs to be removed, the attic scrubbed properly and new insulation installed.

Smokers can expect to have to totally move out. There cannot be any further smoking in or around the property. They can anticipate paying thousands of dollars for the restoration. This investment is vital to make the home marketable and help secure their equity. Documentation that the work was completed professionally helps.

You are not done yet – an unfinished house is not marketable. Once the pros have repaired the smoke damage, sealed and primed the walls, it is time to repaint and replace all the finishes that were discarded.

The expenses continue. Showcasing a house that is for sale by using the homeowner’s furnishings saves the seller money. This is not an option for smokers. Furnishings must be removed and cannot be returned (with a few exceptions). Now you are selling a vacant property and should consider vacant staging in which a company will bring in all the furniture, art, lighting and accessories.

Smokers beware. If you are unwilling or unable to take these steps to correct the effects of smoking on your property, anticipate a substantial financial loss. Also, don’t be surprised if many Realtors® pass up the opportunity to list your house.