Getting rid of smoke smell


Dear David,

My relative is a heavy smoker who wants to downsize. They own a three-bedroom bungaloft in a great neighbourhood. They’ve smoked in the house since it was new, and the nicotine residue has built up over decades. We’ve tried to wash down the walls, but the smoke smell seems to be everywhere. The carpet is original and the ceiling is stained. Do we sell the house as-is, or try to eliminate the problem? – UP IN SMOKE

DEAR SMOKE: The style of home you describe could have wide reaching appeal, but no matter who the buyers are, they’re going to have a sense of smell. 

Heavy smells are one of the biggest turnoffs for potential buyers. Mould, pet urine, cooking odours  and smoke are all immediately noticeable and will often tarnish a buyer’s impression of a home, even if the property is beautiful, desirable or rare. 

When odour is an issue, you need to formulate a plan. Sometimes getting rid of smells (smoke in particular) is easier once the seller has moved out of the house and the property is free of furniture and personal belongings. With no clothes in the closets, cushions on the couch, or king-sized mattresses, there are fewer places for odours to hide, though any place that air can go will retain the smell in question.

Once the furniture is out of the house, a coat of paint with odour-sealing qualities will be extremely helpful. Be sure to zone in on habitual smoking areas like the kitchen, living room or den. Cabinets and vents will need to be washed down (along with the walls and floors), and window coverings will need to be laundered.

Carpeting can be cleaned, but replacing carpets is a fairly low-cost fix in relation to the value of the home, and goes a long way towards getting rid of a stubborn source of odour. Replacing the original carpeting with a quality underpad and medium-quality carpet can make a huge difference, without blowing your budget. Duct cleaning paired with an additional deodorizing process can be equally as effective when trying to eliminate decades of smoke filtered through the furnace and HVAC system.

Along with these major measures, you’ll want to dig into the detail work: scrub down surfaces that haven’t been touched, like railings, light switches and window sills. All of these hold on to odours.

PRO TIP: I rarely suggest renovating before a sale, but if you’re going to attract buyers, you need to impress their noses as well as their eyes. This is a good time to do a cost-benefit analysis. Get quotes for painting, duct cleaning and carpet replacement before deciding whether or not to sell the home as-is. If coordinated properly, updates can be carried out over the course of a week or two, and can help you avoid leaving tens of thousands of dollars on the table.#Advice #AskDavid #TheNegotiator

David is a top-selling Broker in Kitchener-Waterloo Region. He works personally with you when selling or buying your home. Call or text today for your free home evaluation! 519-577-1212.