How Smoking Affects the Resale Value of Your House


I came across an article posted on twitter from the Edmonton Journal called "Smoking in the home burns up resale value: survey". (Updated Apr 2014, please note the article has been removed from the Edmonton Journal Site. I could not find a suitable alternative).

I found it very interesting and thought I would dig a little deeper, but first here is a quick summary of the key points from the survey:

  • Smoking in a home can reduce the value of the property on resale by 29%
  • An overwhelming majority of Ontario REALTORS® surveyed believe it is tougher to sell a home that has been smoked in
  • 56% of buyers are less likely to purchase a home that has been smoked in
  • In Canada, an estimated 15% of homes have at least one person who smokes regularly

The Trouble with Smoking in Your House

"Smoking stains carpets, and leaves a smell that can be hard to eliminate. Many prospective buyers are really put off by homes that have been smoked in and they can be very challenging to sell". David Visentin

I gave a call to Regina REALTOR® Rhonda Garratt from Royal LePage Regina Realty to discuss her experiences showing houses that have been smoked in to potential buyers. "Smell is usually one of the first things you notice when showing a house, and it doesn't get much worse than the smell of smoke". Rhonda went on to tell me that a lot of people will try their best to conceal the smell, but that usually leads to the use of heavy deodorizers which can possibly affect people with scent sensitivities or allergies. You have to ask yourself, if the home owner is trying to hide the smell of smoke, what else are they trying to hide from me?

"From my experience, if the property has been smoked in, the showing is usually over before we get into the living room". Rhonda Garratt

So in addition to the estimated 29% reduction of value upon resale, if you smoke in your house you also have to factor in the cost of limiting yourself to a diminished potential buyers group. This means your house could sit on the market for longer period of time. Ugly.

Smoke Remediation

Okay, so lets say you didn't know any better and have smoked in your house (but now you do and will never smoke in a house again), or you have a rental property that has been smoked in by tennants or you are selling a house for a family member who was a chain smoker, there are a few things you can do.

Here is a great resource on the "How to get rid of things blog" - called "How to Get Rid of Smoke Smell". Blogger Jonathan Hatch cites using vinegar, carpet shampoo, baking soda, fresh air & cleaning products with charcoal as a start. "Fresh paint and a bottle of Febreez doesn't cut it, to remove the smoke smell you almost have to do a complete overhaul of the property". "All fabrics should be cleaned and sanitized, carpets shampooed and walls painted, also consider removing the furniture that was smoked on" Rhonda Garratt added in our conversation.

"If you think beating cancer is a battle, you should try getting cigarette smoke out of a leather couch". Jonathan Hatch

Final Thoughts

I figured because everyone else got a quote on this post, I would throw in my 2 cents. As it relates to selling a property that has been smoked in, this is how I see it

"First impressions mean a lot, viewing a property that has been smoked in is like going on a blind date with someone who has BO. You might be polite and finish the date, but chances are, you are moving on to the next showing". Jackson Middleton

I am wearing a kilt right now. I have consumed coffee today. Family Man. Innovator. Follow me on Twitter @kiltedbroker | Formerly the Executive Editor of the First Foundation #OwnGrowProtect…

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