Cynthia's Blog

January 3, 2011

When Sellers Are Smokers

Cynthia's Blog > Stage to Sell Homes

 Feedback: "Buyers were turned off by the smell of stale cigarette smoke."

 We're the land of the free and home of the brave, so we should be able to smoke in our own homes, right? Correct, until you decide to sell your home. When that happens it's no longer your "home" but a very expensive product that you're trying to sell.


This is truly a delicate issue. There's the "It's my home, d*** it!" point of view, competing with the "Ick!" point of view. Both are valid.

Poor smokers: they've been ostracized from every public building and now they cannot enjoy a puff in the comforts of their own home. (Nudists probably feel the same way, but that's a topic for another time.)

Here's the thing: because smoking has been banned pretty much everywhere, buyers are no longer desensitized to it. Folks can now smell it a mile away. And in case you missed it, "scent" has become big business. Plug-Ins, candles, reed diffusers, oil warmers…we want our homes to smell pleasant. Buyers are very sensitive to the way their potential new home smells.

The good news is that it costs sellers ZERO dollars to smoke outside, and smoking in the bathroom with the fan running–or in the garage–doesn't count; the smell WILL seep into the house!

An occasional garage seepage can be remedied with a nearby Plug-In (just one per floor please!). On the other hand, if there is a brown film throughout the house, more drastic measures are needed:

(1) Fresh paint will cover up stale odors and the smell of new paint is less offensive.

(2) New carpet (and padding!) will work miracles.

(3) Launder everything possible: window fabric, decorative blankets, rugs, towels, coats, clothing, stuffed animals, bedding…everything.

(4) Invest in a 55-gal. drum of Febreze, even after doing items 1-3 above. The Febreze needs to be sprayed directly onto every inch of fabric in the house: upholstery, decorative pillows, clothing…everything.

I'm sometimes asked about using an ionizer, but to me, they scream, "This house smells funky and we're trying to cover it up!" Personally, I prefer to remedy an issue rather than cover it up; it's a "treat others as you want to be treated" thing. And no one wants to be sued for what could be construed as non-disclosure.

The good news: other than carpet and padding, the above remedies don't cost as much as a giant price reduction! Other questions or "sticky issues"? Contact me and I might address them here!


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