Where There’s Smoke…
Welcome to our weekly feature, Ask the Rocca Sisters, where we answer the important questions from clients, colleagues and members of our community. This week our question comes from Sam D. who asks, “My wife and I have been looking for our dream home for some time and finally found one that checks just about all of the boxes, except for one thing: The current owners have smoked in the home for years and the smell was very noticeable right off the bat. We also have an infant daughter, so we are concerned about the effects on her health. Is it ever possible to completely remove the smell from our home and make it safe for our baby, or should we move on?”
Question: Is it Possible to Completely Get Rid of the Effects of Smoking in a Home?
Hi Sam, Tanya Rocca here to answer this terrific question, which is one that we have gotten a lot. Firstly, a survey of Ontario real estate agents and brokers found that smoking in the home could lower the value of your property by up to 29 per cent, meaning that it is an understandably strong deterrent for potential buyers. When it comes to selling your home, buyers’ first impressions are critical for a quick sale. Many potential buyers are put off by a home that has been smoked in – the smell is difficult to get out and the discolouration on the walls & ceiling can be difficult to remove.
An overwhelming majority of Ontario real estate agents and brokers agree that it is more challenging to sell a home where owners have smoked.
That said, if you have found your dream home and it is a price that you are comfortable paying, there is a lot you can do to rehabilitate the home, even after it has been smoked in for years. We had a client a few years ago who bought a home that had been smoked in, but with some hard work and a bit of expense, the home was move-in ready for the non-smoking family. Depending on where the previous owners smoked (everywhere in the house or just in one room?) and how much they smoked (a few cigarettes a day or a few packs?), will make a difference on how to handle a smokey home. If the smoking was relatively light, simply removing the furniture, window coverings, carpeting and a fresh paint job on walls and ceilings might do the trick. Homes that have been moderately or heavily smoked-in may require a more expensive option such as a chemical treatment and de-ionizing to remove the smell. This might be the best option for you, since you have a small child, as it will give you peace of mind that the chemicals from cigarette smoke are removed on a molecular level. An extreme option might be to replace duct work, but in our experience, this is rarely required.
The important thing is to do a cost-benefit analysis of buying the home, with help from a knowledgeable agent. The DIY options such as carpet removal and painting may not add too much to your cost of purchase, but if the home requires a chemical treatment it may become much more expensive. We have seen people spending several thousand dollars to make their home completely smoke-free. With our extensive experience, we have proven solutions to help bring a home that has been smoked in back to a better environment, and with our exclusive RSVP program for clients, we can put you in touch with our network of experienced professionals such as cleaners and painters who can help. For more information, please contact us directly at 905-332-4102 or email us at email@example.com.
Best of luck, Sam!
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