Selling a house can be a complex process, and one factor that can significantly impact its value and appeal to potential buyers is the presence of cigarette smoke odor. If you are a homeowner in San Jose who smokes indoors or lives with a smoker, it is important to understand that tobacco odor can linger and be a major turn-off for buyers. In this article, we will explore the impact of smoke smell on the resale value of your home and provide expert tips on how to minimize or eliminate this unpleasant odor.
The Impact of Smoke Smell on Your Home’s Value
According to a report by Realtor Magazine, smoking inside a house can reduce its resale value by up to 29 percent. This is because the chemicals and compounds released into the air by cigarettes, known as “thirdhand smoke,” can coat walls, ceilings, and other surfaces in your home. Even after deep cleaning and ventilation, these pollutants can remain for months, contributing to the persistent smoke smell.
When potential buyers walk into a house that reeks of cigarette smoke, it can be a deal-breaker. They may perceive the property as worth less and be discouraged from making an offer. Even in a competitive market like San Jose, selling a smoker’s house can be challenging, as buyers are often hesitant to take on the task of removing the smell themselves.
Removing Smoke Odor From Your Home
Now that you understand the impact smoke smell can have on the resale value of your home, let’s explore the best ways to remove cigarette odor and increase its appeal to potential buyers. Here are some expert-recommended tips and natural products to add to your smoke-removing arsenal:
1. Tackle Hard Surfaces
Before starting the cleaning process, open all windows and doors, and turn on fans to improve ventilation. This will help remove stagnant air and allow fresh air to circulate throughout your home. Once you have good air circulation, you can begin wiping down every hard surface using a mixture of white vinegar and water. This solution is effective for cleaning walls, ceilings, floors, kitchen counters, doors, knobs, handles, windows, light fixtures, appliances, and furniture.
In addition to vinegar, you can also place bowls of coffee grounds in affected rooms to help neutralize the cigarette smell. For wood or tile surfaces, regular cleaning with the recommended cleaner should suffice.
Pro Tip: Repainting the walls may seem like a quick solution, but it won’t completely remove the smoke smell. To effectively seal the odor, use an odor-neutralizing primer as your base coat before applying two coats of a new color, preferably a neutral shade.
2. Wash and Deodorize Soft Items
Tobacco smoke can permeate fabrics and linger, so it’s essential to thoroughly clean all soft goods in your home. Here are some tips for removing the cigarette smell from common soft items and fabrics:
- Carpets, Rugs, Upholstery, and Other Non-Machine Washable Items: Use a deodorizing powder like baking soda to absorb odors. Sprinkle a generous amount of baking soda on these surfaces and let it sit for at least overnight before vacuuming.
- Window Treatments: Take down curtains and draperies and remove upholstery covers if possible. Machine washable fabrics can be cleaned using a half cup of vinegar instead of detergent, followed by a regular wash with detergent. Air-dry the items after washing. For fabrics that require steam cleaning, consider renting a steamer or hiring a professional.
- Mattress, Bedding, and Cushions: Place your mattress outside in the sun to ventilate and kill odor-causing bacteria. Spray it with a vinegar-water solution twice a day for at least a week to neutralize the scent. Additionally, sprinkle baking soda over the mattress and vacuum it off after a few days. Wash cushion covers, pillow covers, sofa covers, and linens in the washing machine and air dry them.
3. Clean the Air
While cleaning surfaces and fabrics will help reduce the smoke smell, it is essential to clean the air as well. Invest in new filters for your HVAC system, specifically those with odor-removing properties. These filters often contain charcoal, which helps neutralize odors. Regularly change these filters to maintain optimal air quality. Check all air ducts for any blockages or dust that may contain smoke residue. Consider using an industrial-grade air purifier with HEPA filters to further improve the overall air quality in your home. Additionally, indoor plants can help naturally clean the air and freshen up the atmosphere.
Get Professional Help
If your DIY efforts or cleaning attempts are not yielding satisfactory results, it may be worth considering professional help. A local dry cleaner can assist with cleaning soft items that require specialized care. You can also hire a home restoration company to thoroughly clean surfaces and fabrics and eliminate smoke smell more efficiently. These professionals have the knowledge and equipment to tackle stubborn odors, such as steam deodorizers or ozone generators.
Bottom Line: Seek Expert Guidance
As you prepare to sell your home in San Jose, it’s crucial to seek guidance from an experienced real estate agent. They can provide you with a “nose check” to help detect any lingering smells and provide valuable advice on how to address smoke odor during closing negotiations. Additionally, they can refer you to reliable home restoration companies if needed. Don’t go at it alone—let a professional guide you through the process and maximize the value of your home.