Should You Buy a Cigarette Smoker's Home, and Is It Possible to Get Rid of the Smoke Smell?
Cigarette smoke odors have a profound effect on a home’s resale value. One study found that smoking in a house can reduce its resale value by up to 29 percent! What do you need to know when considering if you should buy a cigarette smoker’s home, and what can you do to remove that awful smoke smell? Let’s take a look.
The lingering cigarette smoke smell is a residue called THS or “thirdhand smoke.” It’s not just unpleasant; it’s been linked to cancer in specific studies, and it’s especially dangerous for small children and pets who often handle dust and particulate matter on their hands and paws and then put them in their mouth.
Do sellers have to disclose if a home has been smoked in? No. However, it’s a good idea to ask your home inspector to provide his opinion about the presence of cigarette smoke in the home. Another good idea is to ask the listing agent if a smoker has ever lived in the house. A reputable professional must answer honestly even if she or he doesn’t represent you.
Ultimately, it’s up to you if you decide to purchase a smoker’s home, and there are ways you can mitigate and potentially eliminate that smoke smell in the house.
Have a licensed HVAC technician get to work on the heating/cooling system:
Wash the walls and ceilings. Start with a 3:1 vinegar:water solution and clean all of the walls, including the ceilings. If that doesn’t work Trisodium phosphate (TSP) is a robust and multi-purpose cleaning product that may remove smoke smell and stains.
Thorough cleaning and/or replacement. Wash or replace the blinds, curtains, and/or drapes. Replace light bulbs throughout the house. Wash the interior of the windows.
If washing doesn’t eliminate the smoke smell, your next best option is to first seal all of the walls with an odor-neutralizing primer like Kilz. Resist the urge to forego the primer, as the smoke smell will eventually bleed through paint. After your primer has been applied, paint the walls like you usually would.
Clean the floors and carpets. Try a professional steam-clean first. If that doesn’t work, carpet replacement is the next option.
Consider getting an air filter, preferably with a HEPA filter and charcoal odor prefilter. A dehumidifier can help reduce the smoke smell in more humid weather.
If you have questions on how a smoke-filled home affects your selling or purchasing power, reach out to me anytime. I’m always here for you, and I’m happy to answer your questions.
Photo by Ali Yahya on Unsplash.
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