You’ve found that perfect home. It’s in a quaint neighborhood, has the space you need, the layout you’ve always dreamed of, and the cost…well, not bad. There’s just one problem: the previous owners were smokers. “Oh that’s not a problem” is likely your first thought, but there are some important considerations to keep in mind when you’re house shopping.
Cigarette smoke is incredibly damaging to home interiors, walls, floors, paint, ventilation systems, and more. The smell of cigarette smoke (especially from smoking inside for years) can build up to the point where it feels like it never truly leaves. Before you buy a house from smokers, consider these five things.
1. The Cosmetic State of The Interior
First thing’s first: what does the interior look like? Are the walls grimy, yellow-ish brown, and smelly? That could be hundreds of dollars worth of cleaning products, primer, and new paint. In fact, when the issue is bad enough, you’ll need to buy specialized paint and primer to seal the cigarette grime and prevent those vapors and harmful chemicals from re-entering your home’s air.
Don’t just look at the walls, either. How does the trim look? The window frames? The windows themselves? The fact is cigarette smoke sticks to everything, coating it in a tar-like film that doesn’t just go away over time. In fact, the more the smoker lights up inside the house, the harder it is to get everything clean once they’ve moved out. You’re in for some work!
The good news is that you can eventually scrub away most of the grime, cover up the stains, and repaint the walls. Just know that this extra cost will come out of pocket, so be ready to cover it. If you don’t want to do it yourself, you’re looking at possibly hundreds of dollars to hire a good contractor to fix the issue.
2. The Ventilation System
Smoking releases toxins into the air, and where else do they have to go but into the vents? When the furnace kicks on, it’s pulling air from the house into a heating apparatus and blowing it all throughout the house; effectively recycling all of those harmful fumes and redistributing them throughout the home.
The ventilation system can quickly become laced with these chemicals, which will reactivate anytime the furnace or central air kicks on. Even if you remove all traces of cigarette smoke and damage from walls and upholstery, the vents could still be lined with it and present a serious health concern.
Smoking indoors amplifies the harmful effects of the smoke itself, concentrating those chemicals and leaving no room for them to escape. Even if the smokers kept the windows open, there’s not enough ventilation in your typical home to effectively filter cigarette smoke.
3. Any Renovations That Are Needed
Let’s say the smokers have completely damaged walls, ventilation systems, and other surfaces in the house; to the point where a simple paint job won’t do it. The cost of renovating these rooms, or every room for that matter, will fall on you. Do you have thousands of extra dollars to spend on erasing the traces of cigarette smoke from your new home?
Most people don’t smoke indoors, and the number of smokers across the globe is dropping each year. With alternative tobacco products available (https://blackbuffalo.com/) and thousands of resources on and offline, the smoking issue is slowly being addressed. But that doesn’t mean you won’t come across a home with considerable smoke damage. Just keep your eyes open and keep this list in mind!
4. Don’t Forget The Floors
Flooring isn’t always expensive, but if you’ve got to tear out old carpet and replace floors because of cigarette smoke, you could be looking at thousands of dollars going down the drain. Cigarette smoke sticks to fabrics and carpeting just as it does hard surfaces, and carpet is even more difficult to properly clean. Given enough time, the carpet accumulates a layer of grime that even a steam vacuum can’t cut through.
5. The Price
Of course, you should always consider the price of a home, but even more so with a smoker’s home. This is because smoking inside a house for an extended period of time can actually devalue that home by up to 29 percent. That’s nearly one-third of the home’s total value lost because of a simple habit like smoking.
When you’re negotiating with the seller, you can certainly bring the smoking damage into your negotiations, and you’ll have an excellent platform on which to barter. After all, you’ll be covering the costs of the renovations, cleaning, and re-painting/flooring out of pocket. If you need a ventilation system cleaned or replaced, that’s just more money coming out of your pocket.