Any realtor will tell you that not many things stick around a house like the smell of smoke. Whether because of a fire or cigarette smoke, the stench that lingers is an unwanted guest that gets into everything and reduces home value in just about any housing market.
Worse, there is increasing evidence that as cigarettes become more unpopular, potential buyers shy away from any home with a third-hand smoke scent. Fortunately, if you are willing to put in a little elbow grease, there are a few things you can do to rid yourself of the odor of smoke and improve your chances of a successful home sale.
Here is how to make it easier on your real estate agent and sell your damaged house, enticing home buyers to pay top dollar.
Will Smoke Residue Decrease My House Value?
Most smokers are so used to the smell of cigarette smoke that they do not notice how the cigarette odor gets into everything. A smoker’s home, however, rarely sells for the asking price. More and more studies indicate that smoke home smells can reduce a house’s resale value by as much as 29 percent.
That figure is trending and rising as smoking continues to lose popularity. Even if the stop smoking movement stalled and smoking suddenly rebounded, very few people want to start their new time in a house living with tobacco smoke smell or spending a lot of time trying to rid themselves of it.
All that has created an atmosphere where selling a house that smells like smoke starts at a disadvantage that can last for months, even after several thorough cleanings.
How to Remove Smoke Residue from My House
Smoke can permeate just about anything. A shortlist of stuff in a house that can pick up the smoke smell includes, but is not limited to:
- Ceiling tile
- Curtains and drapes
- Vinyl and tile flooring
So, what is the best way to remove smoke and pollutants from your home, or at least make it less of a selling obstacle to a non-smoker?
There are several remediation steps you can take. If you want to skip the hours of hard work, the easiest way is to hire a cleaning service that specializes in removing the smoke smell and deodorizing buildings.
Open Your Windows
You need to open every door and window to the house that has a screen. Then, use as many fans as you can to get a cross-breeze going. The goal is to move as much stale air out of the house and as much fresh air into the house as is humanly possible.
It is also critical that you keep the breeze flowing while you clean.
Next to your windows, air cleaners are your friend. You will need at least one air purifier for every room. Crank them up and let them work their magic for a weekend.
Make sure, though, that you only use them after you have done all the other methods to remove smoke. Having a carpet that smells like smoke while you try and filter out the bad air, for example, will recycle the odor coming up from the carpet. Wait at least 24 hours and then add a few air fresheners to breezeways and rooms with no natural airflow.
Giving all carpets in the house a thorough, professional cleaning with certified cleaning products is a very critical step to ridding the house of any smoke scent. It also will help remove any other residual odors and toxins that result from heavy smoking. If you do it yourself, though, be prepared to redo it at least once as getting smoke odor out of the carpet is difficult.
If you have forced air, there are multiple things you can do to help mitigate a smokey smell. These include:
- Swap out all filters on any heating or cooling units
- Clean the evaporator coil on the air conditioning if you can get to it
- Have all HVAC system components, including air ducts professionally cleaned
- Install HEPA filters and charcoal pre-filters
- Pull out and wipe down all grates located on heating and cooling intake and outlet openings; replace them if the smell has permeated the paint on the grates
Any repainting must start with a thorough cleaning of all floors, walls, ceilings, and trim. Use a white vinegar and water solution and scrub down everything. You also should wipe down any curtain accessories and hardware as well as any permanent hardware, such as door hinges.
After that, reassess the odor. If it is bad enough, you may have to replace drywall and/or ceiling tiles or use paint that can lock in odors. There are several products available that are engineered to do that.
Once everything is cleaned, paint the walls with a neutralizing primer and fresh paint. If you can, paint the ceilings as well.
Removing Smoke Stained Furniture
To the greatest extent possible, you should trash all furniture with upholstery in the house. If you decide to leave any, you will need to clean it thoroughly. To do this, use a vinegar and water solution on hard surfaces, throw any furniture covers and pillows in the washing machine, and, if possible, remove and replace as much as possible.
Besides vinegar, another great odor eating and cleaning product is baking soda.
After cleaning, be prepared to have to do it all again, and if the smoke has permeated the furniture, junking it might be your only viable solution.
Why Removing Smoke From Your House is Important to the Sale in Maine
A house that smells like smoke is a money loser. No one wants to walk into a place and must then scour it to remove the stench of smoke, no matter what the cause. Most industry estimates put the loss of revenue for a house that stinks of smoke at around 30%.
Needless to say, one of the ways to increase the house value is to remove any kind of unwanted stench.
Fortunately, some companies will gladly say we buy houses in Maine, no matter what the state of the house is. Whether you’re looking for companies that buy houses in Auburn or cash home buyers in Portland, removing the smoke smell from the house will always be a good option.
Smoke, no matter where it comes from, reduce the appeal of any prospective homeowner. The only way to mitigate the smoky smell is to systematically tackle the stench from the ground up. With hard work, though, you can rid yourself of the smell and get more for your house.