Bill  Keay

Bill Keay

Sales Representative, B.Comm, SRES, CNE, ABR®

RE/MAX Aboutowne Realty Corp. , Brokerage *

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Buyers Beware when Purchasing a Home from a Smoker

Wow, recently I showed a home that had terrible smoke odor.  Since I am a non-smoker the second I opened the door I could smell the smoke and so could my Buyer clients. 

Cigarette smoking in a self-contained area can cause Third Hand Smoke (THS).  THS is defined by the Mayo Clinic as a “residual nicotine and other chemicals left on indoor surfaces by tabacco smoke”. 

THS is a concern because people may touch these contaminated surfaces and breath in the off-gasing from these surfaces long after the smoking has stopped.  THS attaches itself to all surfaces like walls, countertops, cabinets, fabrics, furniture, window coverings, windows, carpets, clothes and more. 

The Mayo Clinic says that “adults and children might be at risk of tobacco related health problems when they inhale, swallow or touch surfaces containing THS”.   Opening windows and burning scented candles will not eliminate the THS problem. 

Here are 5 things a Buyer should consider when purchasing a home from smokers according to a recent blog post by Investopedia:  

  1. Possible health issues from THS and “off-gassing”.  THS contains nicotine and other harmful chemicals.
  2. Smoke Odor can last long after the smoking has stopped.  Using deodorizers to mask or cover up the smell are futile. 
  3. Smoke damage from burning cigarettes that were left to burn on surfaces in the home. 
  4. The costs of paint and cleaning supplies, labour, time and other treatments like fogging and ozone to restore the home. 
  5. Resale value: according to smoking can reduce a home’s resale value by 30%.

Buyers should get a quote from a restoration company to get a reduction in the purchase price.   The offer could require the Seller to restore the home professionally with a Restoration Company (like PuroClean, Paul Davis and ServePro).  In this case the offer should ask for a certificate and or proof of a professional restoration. 

If the Buyer or Homeowner want to restore the homes themselves they should do the following this to reduce THS in the home and create a smoke free environment:

-open all windows and doors and let as much fresh air in as possible

-replace furnace filters, air filters and AC filters

-clean walls and ceilings using products with ammonia and glycol so that bad odors will be neutralized and repeat this step if necessary

-repaint the walls and ceilings with latex paint and use a special primer or sealant to lock in odors before painting

-clean everything in the home: flooring, windows, carpets, furniture, window coverings and household surfaces and fixtures 

-sprinkle baking soda on the carpets and leave it overnight to neutralize the smell

-these steps are courtesy of

Rectifying the problems of smoke odor and THS can be complicated.  If the situation is not that bad the owners may be able to resolve it with some sweat equity.  However, if it is a severe case of Third Hand Smoke a professional restoration company should be used.  Consult your physician before buying a home that was formerly occupied by smokers. 

Posted by:  Bill Keay on November 26th, 2019. 

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