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Take It Outside! (PLEASE!)

Real Estate Broker/Owner with HOME AT LAST REAL ESTATE DB915628

I showed a house the other day that may have been perfect for my clients...if only the seller had NOT smoked in the house.  Seriously, the basement was full of smoke from a cigarette that had to have been put out literally minutes before we arrived. 

 I wouldn't even have brought my buyers if I hadn't been told that the seller only smokes in the garage.  Of all days to not smoke in the garage.....GRRRRRR.  The seller agent was pretty horrified when I called with feedback.  This home has been on the market since 2008.

Does That Tell You Anything?

In this time of high inventory and hesitant buyers, sellers should be doing back flips to meet the needs and expectations of the buyers.  Keeping the house clean and smelling good should be a Number One priority for a seller!  Yes, it's inconvenient, but please, Mr. & Mrs. Seller: If you can just take it outside, your house will probably sell!  Really!  Except for the smoke, this house was in absolutely immaculate condition; somewhat dated perhaps, but very well kept.  Too bad we all walked away disappointed!

Photos used here came from Photobucket!  www.photobucket.com 

Posted by

Carole L. MacCollum 


676 Post Road, Suite 6 Wells, Maine 04090

Mail to: P.O. Box 427, Wells, ME 04090

carolemaccollum12@gmail.com / 207-337-4792



Michael Setunsky
Woodbridge, VA
Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA

Carole, the concerns today with second hand smoke would make people think twice about purchasing a smokers home.

Nov 23, 2010 01:53 AM
Barbara Altieri
Better Homes and Gardens RE Shore and Country Properties - Shelton, CT
REALTOR-Fairfield County CT Homes/Condos For Sale

I don't care how clean and smell free smokers THINK they are keeping their house -- the smell can STILL be detected by non-smokers.  Buyers always make a comment and yes ....many times the house is crossed off the list. 

Nov 23, 2010 02:02 AM
Joel Gwillim
CIR Realty - Condo Specialist - Calgary, AB
Associate - REALTOR®

At the risk of creating a stereotype, I have noticed on average, smokers are not well known for making the best decisions.  The "take it or leave it" attitude they sometimes have, is not and has never worked in their best interest, but they persist.

Nov 23, 2010 02:16 AM
Bill Gillhespy
16 Sunview Blvd - Fort Myers Beach, FL
Fort Myers Beach Realtor, Fort Myers Beach Agent - Homes & Condos

Hi Carol,  Some people just don't get it !  My bet is that they are still wondering why the house isn't selling.

Nov 23, 2010 02:34 AM
Carole MacCollum
Oy! In class all day...thanks for comments! Will respond as soon as I can - thank you for reading!
Nov 23, 2010 03:46 AM
Kristina Heili
Keller Williams Premier Realty - Woodbury, MN
Comprehensive Real Estate Services

All of us non-smokers seem to be on the same page: Smoke stinks; next to impossible to hide or get rid of; even if they're smoking outside, their clothing and breath bring it back in.

Nov 23, 2010 03:51 AM
Aaron Seekford
Arlington Realty, Inc. - Arlington, VA
Ranked Top 1% Nationwide 703-836-6116

That's a shame. All of this could have been avoided if the sellers took five easy steps out to the yard!

Nov 23, 2010 05:39 AM
R Owens
Southeastern Group - Holly Springs, GA

I'm amazed on a daily basis how stubborn people can be.  They want to sell their homes, for the price they want, but they don't want to change anything they do, or how they home looks!  Can you spell  C *  R * A * Z  * Y !!!???

Nov 23, 2010 06:15 AM
Evelyn Santiago, Managing Broker Heart Realty Group, Inc.
Heart Realty Group, Inc.. - Oswego, IL
Passionate About Real Estate & Our Clients!

Had this same experience several weeks ago...my buyer literally ran out of the house with me following right behind her because the smell was so horrible...I even blogged about it because it was such a turn off.  Seller's need to be aware of this if they smoke so they realize how its going to effect their selling price.

Thanks for bringing this up!


Nov 23, 2010 06:22 AM
Tom and Stephanie Hansson
Cortiers Real Estate - College Station, TX
Hansson and Hansson Real Estate Team

Smoker's can be very defensive, and just don't get it.  I have also had houses, that you walk in and right back out again, because the smell is so bad, and not just smoke, Pets also.    I guess there just is not a kind way of explaining to your clients when you list the house,  You just have to tell it like it is.  "Mr and Mrs seller, your house has a very strong smoke odor, and it will turn off the major portion of potential buyers."


Nov 23, 2010 06:42 AM
T Doe
Arctic Bay, YN

The well kept house although dated can be changed into the buyers dream, but when you have the unforgettable smell of cigarettes in the house that is a tough one to overlook. What a shame.

Nov 23, 2010 07:30 AM
Christianne O'Malley
Dickson Realty - Reno, NV
Exceptional Service - Delivering Results in Reno!

Well I guess now we know why it's been on the market since 2008. Bummer for your buyers though. You'd think Sellers would know better...

Nov 23, 2010 08:52 AM
Momentum Realty
North Orange County CA Real Estate Specialists - Yorba Linda, CA
Orange County CA Real Estate Agent

That stinks Carole : ) HA, HA, yes... pun intended. I encountered my share of smelly homes when my husband and I were flipping property, and I'm VERY allergic to cigarette smoke. If the buyers plan to remodel (or gut the house, as we like to do), the smell will go away rather quickly. Might be worth a second look, if they're up for a bit of work but like the floorplan.

Great advice that you give for sellers! What are they thinking?

Good luck with your buyers & Happy Thanksgiving!


Nov 23, 2010 12:06 PM
Rachell Jackson
Charles Rutenberg Realty - Naperville, IL
Realtor, Naperville, Oswego, Plainfield

Carole, this is a perfect opportunity for people to just quit smoking all together!! It'll help you sell your house and keep you alive! Sounds like good motivation to me! After loosing a Mother to Lung Cancer after smoking for 30 years, I am a huge cheerleader for those that are trying to quit!! Great blog. 



Nov 23, 2010 01:52 PM
Carole L. MacCollum
Broker/Realtor 207-337-4792

Oh BOY!  Time to catch up with all of you!  First of all, thanks so much for commenting!   SECOND....I am a smoker myself (6-8 per day and counting downwards!) - but do NOT smoke in my house.  Most folks haven't the slightest idea I smoke, even those with the most sensitive noses, thankfully. 


Carol:  I can't stand the smell of stale smoke, how bizarre is that!  I don't like showing smoker's houses and have more than once had to tell a seller, "Look, put that thing out and don't light up in here again if you want to sell your house."  Gotta be brutal, but it works. 

Larry & Sheila:  Ditto!  Been there, done that!

Nancy:  OMG that is too funny!  She thought she would "take it with her???"  WOW!

Jane:  The agent told me that the smoker in this house got on the "smoker's have rights, too" thing.  Weird.

John & Erika:  Totally true!  Honestly, people just don't know.  I have a friend who had no idea that she was just killing her clients with her smokey clothing and breath.  When she listened and understood finally, the addiction just won't let her change her habits.  It's got to be costing her clients!

Mel:  I know smokers don't have to live in a tent - but I think it would be better if they smoked outside!  In my own experience as a smoker, it didn't matter what I did when I smoked in the house; it STUNK and no amount of open windows or carpet cleaning/painting, etc worked.  Oh and that's funny about your boy!  LOL, I still ring the doorbell when I go back home to see Mom!

Denise:  Wow, being on the market for 10 months 8 years ago - that really does tell the story, doesn't it?  Glad you were finally able to sell!

Gay:  Thank you!  I hear ya...I have lots of clients who simply will not view a home that is smokey.  Luckily, I make advance calls to listing agents to get a feel for the property before making the appointment and I always ask the question.

Claude: LOL!!!!!

Karen: Yep, agreed.  And my buyers just aren't that interested when it appears there would be a battle over the house being turned over "Serve Pro clean" after closing.  When one of the buyers is a nurse and just 3 weeks from dropping a wee one into the world, I can understand their thinking!

Jerry: Thanks for the compliment!  Pet smells are tough to take, too!

Ross:  LOL!  But didn't you know those aren't spider webs - they are structural supports! 

Rich: I'm a smoker and even I can smell it!  Now when I'm in my house and a puff of smoke comes through the window, it's such an alien odor - just doesn't belong there. 

Erica:  Oh my, been there, done that too!  Front porch puffing: Not a good thing!!!

Duane: Cat pee.  UGH.  I agree that pets and ciggies cause the worst of all odors (well, except for cooked cabbage, OY!).

John W: You gotta be kidding me - they went to all that trouble and then STILL smoked in the house?  Good grief.  What were they thinking?

Vickie N: I agree!  Problem is to stop 'em from smoking in the house once they get the cleaning done!

Vickie M: I have been totally lucky and never had to try to sell a smoker's house but once in 11 years!  Smoking is WAAAAY out of "fashion" these days, thank heavens.

Sonja: Yes, that does work, or at least help!  Especially if nobody lives there anymore who does smoke.

Stan: I've been thinking about this a lot and I am wondering if maybe the older lady who owns the home is maybe facing assisted living...that can do a lot to stop motivation to sell.  Guess we'll never know for sure.

Tammie: That just blows my mind - even as a smoker, my nose can pick up smoke on other people and in homes...can't imagine someone, even a smoker, not noticing.  Go figure!

Buki: Thanks for weighing in!  I think the house is priced somewhat fairly, even with the smoke, and I do think it might be a battle to get it cleaned.  And yes, smoke residue is bad for you too!

Oh my, I need to break for now - but I'll be back!  I am just so thrilled to have so many of you visiting my blog and commenting.  Thanks again!  Happy Turkey Day!


Nov 24, 2010 08:18 AM
Carole L. MacCollum
Broker/Realtor 207-337-4792

Ernie: Ditto that, especially when the butt bucket has been outside in the rain........ewwwwwww!

Tim, Joan & Sally: It does make you feel differently about the house...and it is hard for most buyers to get past it!

Debbie: I remember a time where I was trying to do a market analysis for some folks and we sat in the kitchen and they just lit one after the other 'til I thought I would pass out.  I had to ask them to please stop!

Claudette:  Oh wow, that's right - I forgot about casinos!  Haven't been in a long while and I bet it would bother me for sure...

Fernando: LOL!

Jeffrey:  Thanks!  Didn't know this one would be such a hit!

Michael M: You got it...unfortunately!

Matilda:  OH BARF!!!! Dirty dipes and undies.  Yep, that would make me run out as well!

Michael L:  I'm sure that can be done - wow, $3K; somehow I can't picture the seller taking that in stride; oh well!

Michael S: Totally correct; I find most young families in particular want nothing to do with a smokey home.

Barbara: EXACTLY!  As I mentioned, I am a smoker and I can tell in 2 seconds if people have smoked in their home.  As you said, it doesn't matter how "clean" you keep it, the smell is there.

Mike Leibel: I'm sure glad that I don't have that attitude - OR lack of good decision making skills!

Bill G, Kristina, Aaron & R. Owens: Yuk, yuk and yuk.  Yes and CRAZY!

#49:  I've been on showings like that...barely get the door open and we are all OUTTA there!  I will have to check out your blog!

Stephanie: I remember one listing I had where the seller had an incontinent dog and she had just basically given up on trying to control the situation.  When I listed the house, we DID get her doggie into diapers (and yes, I changed a few of them myself, LOL), but the smell was intense.  Luckily, we managed to sell to another couple - also with incontinent dogs!  What luck!

Thomas & Christianne: TOTAL bummer and a shame is right! 

Gina: I can only begin to imagine what you and hubby have come up against doing the flipping thing!  Unfortunately, my buyers aren't able to do a gut job on the house and to hire someone would be much too costly.  UGH.

Rachell:  I am so sorry you lost your Mother!  When I get to the point of trying to quit completely, I will call on you as my cheerleader! 

Again, thanks everyone for all of your comments!  Sorry it took me so long to finish up my responses, but what a busy week this has been!  Hope all of you enjoyed your Thanksgiving!

Nov 26, 2010 07:27 AM
Sidney Kutchuk - Realty Works Temecula Kutchuk - Realty Works Temecula
Realty Works Temecula - Temecula, CA
Realty Works Temecula

Carole:  This sounds like a seller who does not really want to sell or they would show a little more care!

Nov 26, 2010 03:04 PM

Carole?  You SMOKE?  I've known you 10 years - never knew you smoked...go figure.  Nice post!  See ya!

Nov 28, 2010 07:09 AM
Carole L. MacCollum
Broker/Realtor 207-337-4792

Hi Jane!!!!  How are ya?  Thanks for popping in!


Dec 02, 2010 08:54 AM
Liz Flint
Century 21 Hardee-Team Realty - Houston, TX
Houston\Tomball Realtor (832)816-8066

Hi Carole, he had to have know that the smoke would be a turn off.  Too bad.

Dec 05, 2010 08:21 AM