Mistakes Sellers Make - Is Your House For Sale Going Up In Smoke?

Real Estate Agent with Solid Source Realty, Inc. 274930

Mistakes Sellers Make - Is Your House For Sale Going Up in Smoke?

As we approach the popular Spring selling season, many homeowners are gearing up to put their house on the market. If you have smokers living in your home, you’ll want to take extra steps to get rid of all traces of smoke before entertaining prospective buyers. Otherwise, your home will be on the market for a very long time.

Why Smoke Is A Problem

Even if buyers are smokers too, they do not want to buy a house that smells like smoke.

Is Your House For Sale Going Up In Smoke?I remember showing a buyer client a home not too long ago. How Don't let your smoky home choke potential buyers.beautiful it looked as we walked toward the entrance. But as soon as we entered the home, the distinct smell of smoke slapped us in the face, put a chokehold around our neck and had us gasping for air. We didn’t get past the foyer before we decided we had smelled enough. Just as I was about to tell the buyer I would wait at the front door so I could leave the door open, he turned and almost knocked me over trying to make a run back outside for some fresh air.  Buyers Will Not Buy A Smoky House


Buyers Will Not Buy A Smoky House


All of a sudden I felt like Mr. Wonderful on the Shark Tank

Mr. Buyer, I forbid you to buy this house.” 

Then the buyer got in on the act: 

“We don’t need to see the rest of it. This house is dead to me. I can’t imagine breathing that air for more than 5 minutes, much less living and sleeping in this house day in and day out. The seller can’t be serious, putting the house on the market like this.”

Why Didn’t I Think Of That?

Bad Smell? No Sale!As a homeowner you get immune to the smell. You get used to it. Maybe you even enjoy it. But buyers don’t want to smell other peoples’ smells, especially a smoke smell. Smoke can make people sick. Buyers will not buy a smoky house. 

What To Do

Here are some tips to follow, if you are a smoker and want to sell your house:

Ask a neighbor, relative or friend to come for a visit. If they tell you they smell smoke as soon as they walk in the front door, then don’t even think about putting up the ‘For Sale’ sign until you de-smoke. Before putting your home on the market, you also must:

  • Open the windows and get some air circulating
  • Deep clean or replace your carpet, upholstery and drapes
  • Wipe down all surfaces with a neutralizing solution (Febreeze, Bleach, Pine Sol)
  • Paint your walls
  • Have your air ducts professionally cleaned
  • Change your HVAC air filter

Your Smoke-Free Home is now Ready for Market.Once you have done all of this, ask your neighbor or friend to return to see if they breathe easier once they enter the house. If they still smell smoke, repeat the steps above. (At this point, you may also want to consider bringing in a remediation specialist experienced in air quality and smoke remediation.) Do Not put your house on the market until they give you the all-clear that they no longer smell the smoke. 

From this point forward, you must take your smoking outside. Better yet, kick the habit altogether. Both you and your house will be much healthier. 

If your house for sale is going up in smoke, remember, the key is to get it sold. If You Want Your House To Sell, Make Sure It Does Not Have A Smoky Smell! 


Mistakes Sellers Make - Is Your House Going Up in Smoke?

Posted by: Cheryl Dukes, Realtor

  Solid Source Realty Logo

Solid Source Realty, Inc.

Phone: 770-475-1130 x 4486



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       About the Author

Cheryl Dukes is a Premier Luxury Marketing Consultant and Real Estate Agent serving Fine Homes in the metro Atlanta area.


 770-475-1130 x4486













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Karen Feltman
Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, IA KW Legacy Group - Cedar Rapids, IA
Relocation Specialist in Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Cigarette smoke is such a turn off.  There is so much expense involved in trying to remove layers and years of nicotine from their home.  Cleaning carpets and draperies sometimes is not enough.  Full replacement may be necessary.  Thank you for sharing.

Jan 19, 2014 09:03 AM #1
Joyce Godwin, Realtor, CRS
RE/MAX Elite Properties; Serving Cypress, Spring, Tomball, NW Houston - Houston, TX
RE/MAX Elite Properties

Hi Cheryl, I posted about the same thing - smoking.  You have some good solutions.  Unfortunately, it takes doing all of those things you listed to get rid of most smoke smells and even then it may not be a guarantee, but I would hope so after the expense!  Thanks.

Jan 19, 2014 09:23 AM #2
Cheryl Dukes . . . . . Intown Atlanta
Solid Source Realty, Inc. - Atlanta, GA

You are right Karen! Smoke lingers and lingers and lingers.

Joyce I'm looking forward to reading your post about smoking. I know there will be more good ideas!

Jan 19, 2014 09:34 AM #3
Dana Hollish Hill
Hollish Hill Group, KW Capital Properties - Bethesda, MD
REALTOR and Productivity Coach

I once showed a beautiful home that would have been perfect for my clients. After a long search, my clients had narrowed it down to one neighborhood. This home was more upgraded than the others in the area and it was priced about the same. I was told the seller worked at home and would be there when we arrived. 

She was there alright. She sat at the counter smoking while we viewed her home. As soon as my clients were out of her sight they said they were leaving. I tried to be polite and said let's just look quickly, but my clients walked right out. 

When I was called later and asked for feedback I told the agent and she said. "Not Again!"

Jan 19, 2014 10:35 PM #4
Cheryl Dukes . . . . . Intown Atlanta
Solid Source Realty, Inc. - Atlanta, GA

 Old habits die hard. Thanks Dana, for telling it like it is!

Jan 20, 2014 01:01 AM #5
Jordon Wheeler
The Jordon Wheeler Group - Fairburn, GA
J W Group Real Estate Sales and Service

Hi Cheryl,

One of pet peeves when trying to list a house - smoking.  Very tough to get the smell out.  SUGGEST

Best of GREAT success to you in 2014!

Jan 21, 2014 12:33 PM #6
Liz and Bill Spear
RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 www.LizTour.com - Mason, OH
RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton)

Cheryl, We had a listing like this once.  The smoke smell was INTENSE and after every visit we needed a shower and a change of clothes.  We did find some buyers for it (they were smokers too) who would have bought the place if they could have sold their own home first, but I'm guessing their home probably smelled smoky too!  Ultimately the listing expired and it's still not been sold a few years later.

Jan 21, 2014 08:02 PM #7
Suzanne Otto
Six Twenty Designs - Lansdale, PA
Your Montgomery County PA home stager

Couldn't agree with this more Cheryl. I've been in quite a few homes where the cigarette smell was just too much to bear.

Jan 21, 2014 10:09 PM #8
Cheryl Dukes . . . . . Intown Atlanta
Solid Source Realty, Inc. - Atlanta, GA

Hi Jordan - Do you have a suggestion? I think it got left out. Please add it. We'd like to read it.

Liz and Bill - A shower and change of clothes - - I know what you mean, and I'll bet you also had to wash your hair.

Thanks Suzanne - Luckily, most of the homes we sell do not have a smoky smell.

Jan 21, 2014 11:08 PM #9
Ron and Alexandra Seigel
Napa Consultants - Carpinteria, CA
Luxury Real Estate Branding, Marketing & Strategy


We so agree with you, we  recently rented a car that had been smoked in.  I got out and got another one.   A

Jan 23, 2014 03:27 AM #10
Cheryl Dukes . . . . . Intown Atlanta
Solid Source Realty, Inc. - Atlanta, GA

Alexandra - It's so easy to pick up on the smell of smoke, isn't it?

Jan 29, 2014 07:28 AM #11
Katerina Gasset
Get It Done For Me Virtual Services - Wellington, FL
Get It Done For Me Virtual Services

Yes, I do agree with you Cheryl. Most of the buyers don't like their homes smell like smoke. Sellers should get rid of it if they want to sell their homes in no time. Thanks for sharing!

Jun 04, 2014 03:43 PM #12
Cheryl Dukes . . . . . Intown Atlanta
Solid Source Realty, Inc. - Atlanta, GA

Thank YOU Nestor & Katerina Gasset - It is very difficult to show a smoke-filled home, because the buyers can't stand to be in the home long enough to view it.

Jul 15, 2014 12:34 PM #13
Susan Haughton
Long and Foster REALTORS (703) 470-4545 - Alexandria, VA
Susan & Mindy Team...Honesty. Integrity. Results.

There is nothing worse than a smelly house and I think smoke is the most pervasive of odors (other than mold and moisture, of course!) - it takes a lot of work and money to truly rid a house of that smoky smell.  Excellent tips you offer!

Jul 26, 2014 02:05 AM #14
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Cheryl Dukes . . . . . Intown Atlanta

Cheryl, I have a question for you:
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