Homeowners who smoke indoors could reduce the resale value of their property by as much as 29 percent, according to a new realtor.com survey. And those who do buy a home from a smoker should be aware that the odor won’t necessarily go away as soon as the previous owner has gone.
Realtor.com in its article notes that nitrosamines and nitrous acid derived from cigarette smoke can remain stuck to walls and other surfaces in a home for months on end.
“You could breathe in several hundred nanograms of these carcinogens long after the last cigarette burned out,” Joshua Miller, director of technical training at Rainbox International, a home restoration company, told the website.
Moreover, researchers from San Diego State University recently carried out tests, measuring third-hand smoke pollutant levels in a number of smoker’s homes two months after they’d vacated the properties. Those tests found that pollutants still remained, even though the homes were cleaned and vented.
While sellers are not required to inform anyone that they smoke inside the home, buyers themselves can usually detect the smell of tobacco themselves, or can perhaps conclude the seller is trying to hide something if there’s a strong scent of air freshener in the home. Home inspectors can also identify if a smoker lives in a property, or else sellers can simply ask the seller directly.
The problem, realtor.com says, is that removing the cigarette smell from some homes is not a simple task, as the smoke has a tendency to seep into everything.
“Clean the air ducts,” said Richard Ciresi, owner of Aire Serv in Louisville, Ky. “Professional air duct cleaning is an effective way to eliminate odors that manifest when you turn on the furnace or AC.”
Miller chimed in too, saying its a good idea to clean the walls and ceiling with a 3:1 vinegar-water mix, as ceiling especially as the “biggest culprit” with regard to the smoky smell persisting in a home.
Fabrics can also retain a smokey odor. “You can sprinkle a deodorizing powder like baking soda on carpets,” Miller suggests.