House Value or Home Worth and Smoking

Posted by on Saturday, March 1st, 2014 at 8:41am.    7867 Views

Smoking Destroy's Your House Value and Worth!

smoking destroys Ohio home valuesIf all the evidence and health warnings haven't scared  you in to quitting smoking, maybe the damage to your home's value might work.  And yes, I can speak to this, being a former smoker of almost 2 packs a day for 30 years. Today is one full week of not smoking and it feels great! Seems to be a trend lately, my business partner Greg Hancock also a two pack a day smoker has been free of the habit now for 38 days having quite on January 22. I don't mind saying it's hard, but entirely worth it. 

House Value; Evidence of Smoking's Effect on Worth

Some recent events have compiled to give one pause about whether the real estate industry — and, of course, consumers — might want to take a longer, harder look when it comes to the buying or selling of smokers' homes. Too, you may want to get more familiar with a new, all to real and frightening term "third-hand smoke."

A recent study of Ontario Canada real estate agents suggests that smoking can actually significantly damage a house and drastically reduce the value by thousands. Pollsters found in talking with expert real estate agents that having a regular smoker in a home can reduce the property's value by 20 percent on average. Ouch! The poll was commissioned by pharmaceutical manufacturing giant Pfizer, Canada.

"About 44 percent of the agents surveyed said smoking will reduce a home's value by some measure. Of these, one-third said the reduced value may range from 10 to 19 percent; another one-third said it could lower the value by 20 to 29 percent." - Chicago Tribune News on the Pfizer, Canada survey. "That is, of course, if the homes find buyers at all. A whopping 88 percent of the agents said that in any case, it's more difficult to sell homes where the residents are smokers."

house value home worth real estate smokingOf course, pungent smells of any kind — smoke, spices, pet odor, mildew and mold, some chemicals (not the cleaning type) even a homeowner's profound affection for garlic can affect a home's sale price, though there's no solid formula for appraisers to reference or adhere to regarding these conditions. While the appraiser may give a decent value, on the market buyers may walk on by, "no thank you" until a drastic price drop well below market value makes it worth it.  Even smoking only in the garage creates unpleasant experience for potential non-smoker buyers. You walk into the garage and it's positively overwhelming if you're a non-smoker.

Real Estate Effected by "Third-Hand Smoke" 

People in general have become familiar with the concept of second-hand smoke, knowing there are serious risks, even if they don't know what those risks are. Second hand cigarette smoke is mix of exhaled smoke and the other toxic ilk that enters your atmosphere from off the end of a lit cigarette. Health effects aside, it' manifested as a serious concern in the real estate world especially regarding apartment and condo buildings where residents find themselves inadvertently inhaling it via shared ventilation and heating systems and seepage through walls. Some landlords, including some of the nation's largest ones, have banned smoking because of it.

People are developing a similar familiarity with third-hand smoke,  a term that now makes its way into common usage in the real estate world and consumers. Third-hand smoke is what lingers after second-hand smoke has dissipated, the noxious residue of cigarette gases and particles that settles on carpets, drapes, dust and other surfaces of a room. There are various schools of thought about the real impact on health and house value with third-hand smoke. Disturb the carpet or drapes, you're releasing some of that toxic poison back into breathable air, as if the smell wasn't bad enough. 

Third-hand smoke odor is nearly impossible to be rid of. I was just in a totally rehabbed ex-smokers house, and new ceiling stucco, fresh paint, new carpet and window treatments and the home still reeked of cigarettes, just with fresh paint and carpet mixed in. My clients noticed the funk as soon as they walked in the door and said "no thanks". 

Third Hand Smoke in The House; Difficult to Eradicate & Dangerous 

Recently, researchers at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California claimed that they have shown that third-hand smoke causes significant damage to human cells. It's carcinogenic, they say, and humans can be exposed to it through inhalation, ingestion or skin contact. 

"Tobacco-specific nitrosamines, a group of the chemical compounds found in third-hand smoke, are among the most potent and health threatening carcinogens there are," Lara Gundel, a Berkeley Lab scientist and co-author of the study, stated "This type of smoking carcinogen bonds and stays on surfaces, and when those surfaces are clothing or carpets, the danger to children is especially serious." 

The researchers, whose work was published in the medical journal Mutagenesis, went on to point out that third-hand smoke is extremely difficult to eradicate. If that isn't enough, other studies found nitrosamines and other cigarette carcinogens in dust and on surfaces of rooms more than two months after smokers vacated. Vacuuming, wiping and improved ventilation had little impact on reducing contamination, the Lawrence Berkeley researchers stated. "The best solution, they said, is to substitute materials, such as changing out the carpet and repainting but that won't totally "cure" or remedy the toxic conditions completely."

Remember when homes permeated or overcome with mold became a hot and exploding legal issue? And though the medical effects were very disputed for a long time, now Realtors have to point out potential mold issues on properties, HUD homes and foreclosures have sticker disclaimers in windows citing "potential mold and health risk" verbiage that basically boils down to "enter at your own risk" ....  

Sellers in most states have to sign a mold-disclosure form, this in addition to being forthcoming with knowledge of the presence of such health-impacting conditions such radon gas, asbestos and lead paint in the house. One wonders when smoking will make the the list too? Bear in mind, all of this is a serious turn-off for non-smoking buyers, and even some smoking buyers who never smoke inside at all. 

Now you'll need to take a deep breath and ponder of all of this,  but I recommend not inside a smoker's home.

8 Responses to "House Value or Home Worth and Smoking"

Liz wrote: Wow, that's worse than I thought! found your post very enlightening as we have one smoker in rental house but only one or two a day (so she says) but we're also considering selling it later this year. I love the photos too, definitely got the point across and how i personally feel. CONGRATULATIONS ON QUITTING!!!!!!

Posted on Saturday, March 1st, 2014 at 11:43am.

Marty Snyder wrote: Thank you, Liz. I've quit smoking previously, but it is so easy to start back up. I've never been a heavy drinker and never been a drug user at all, but I can see how difficult it could be for those folks to quit their addictions as well. I'm a "smokaholic" and I am sober. LOL.

BTW, the condo that I was referencing in my blog post was absolutely adorable, priced well and clean as a pin. BUT, the moment my client smelled the heavy cigarette smoke, they were ready to leave. (me too)

Posted on Saturday, March 1st, 2014 at 11:57am.

Josh Holcomb wrote: I am a smoker. It sucks to be such an outcast nowdays, but it is what it is. I get sick of people telling me how bad it is for my health, really hate "secondhand" screamers (as if the world is ending), and dislike the idea that there even is such a thing as "third hand". People don't like the smell. Kilz and paint and my house should sell just like everybody elses.

Posted on Monday, March 3rd, 2014 at 2:09pm.

Marty Snyder wrote: Josh. I can relate to your comments, however, facts are facts. Smoking is bad for your health and everyone else's for that matter. While eating lunch today, I saw another anti-smoking commercial. It was a true story about a 54 year old man that died from 2nd hand smoke. (he never smoked). I quit "cold turkey" and when I get a super duper urge for a smoke, I use a piece of nicotine gum and is helps ease the cessations. Now that I'm an ex-smoker, I can REALLY smell the odors in people's homes and yes, I'm sorry to say, it does make a big difference. Thank you again for your comment. Should you ever decide to quit and need someone to talk to, I'm a good listener too.

Posted on Monday, March 3rd, 2014 at 3:17pm.

Jim wrote: Marty, great article. I was in a difficult situation as a landlord when my tenant denied smoking was taking place in the house and it was obvious it had. His word against mine. I have since developed a prototype of a test device that can detect surface nicotine in seconds and it is easy to use. Seems to me that as a buyer this would be a good item to add to the inspection list given the large investment under consideration not to mention the added price leverage you have if nicotine is indeed detected. For less than $10, the test can determine if nicotine resides in the home from either tobacco smoke or electronic cigarettes which both are under serious testing at the moment for Third Hand Smoke and the potential negative effects it has on people. I would love to better understand if there is a need for such a product from a buyer/sellers perspective as well as home inspectors and other landlords like myself. Thanks for sharing the article and great job on giving up the habit, not easy to do!

Posted on Saturday, November 15th, 2014 at 3:47pm.

Marty Snyder wrote: Thanks for your comment and input, Jim. I think it's pretty awesome that you have developed a device to be used for testing for nicotine. If anyone asks me for your contact information, would you like for me to pass it along? Or, better yet, you are welcome to put your contact information directly on this post.

Posted on Saturday, November 15th, 2014 at 3:59pm.

Jim Schlosser wrote: Thanks Marty, my contact information: Jim Schlosser, 509-496-4322,

Posted on Monday, November 17th, 2014 at 12:18pm.

Marty Snyder wrote: Thanks Jim!

Posted on Monday, November 17th, 2014 at 2:18pm.

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