Does Smoking in a home affect your ability to sell it?

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Godzyk Real Estate Services NH License 033394

What affect does SMOKING have on one's ability to sell their home? Lets take this Manchester NH area home that was listed as a FSBO. The parents had moved to Florida and the Son and daughter decided to sell their parents home on their own. 


That was last fall that I first saw the home. I had a new buyer i was working with looking in this area, and they did not mind a fixer upper. The picture is the wall in the Bedroom where a picture was removed.


How I wish this was a scratch and sniff blog so you could smell what we smelled, but you will have to use your imagination. My buyer did not mind a fixer upper, but he had no idea how he would remove the smell of smoke from every surface. He did not want to cover it and raise his kids with this permeating the surfaces.


The son and daughter had both met us there to let us in. They appreciated my buyer stating all that in a nice manner. They said most buyers and their agents have not been so nice the last 8 months. As my buyer pulled away they stopped me and asked to talk more. They really need to sell the home as they were using the proceeds to add an "inlaw" apartment in the daughters home where the parents will stay May to November. 


They tried to save money by doing it themselves, but it has only cost them money paying the heat all winter, the taxes and the toll it has taken showing the home.


I easily was able to pull up comps to show them what the house is worth as is and what it would be worth at least partially fixed. They were amazed at the difference in prices. They acknowledged many "flippers" had offered them half price, but they were not going to sell that low. 


They bickered back in forth with the daughter ready to list and the brother tryin not to give up and save a little pride. That was my cue as I let them know selling a home is a business. That a seller needs to take the emotion out of selling it. That included changing their mind set of not wanting to change anything inside. The parents belongings, they need to go. The home needs to be cleaned, the carpets torn out and a massive washing to rid the home of smoke. New paint and flooring will go a long way. The kitchen and bathroom are 1960's. Replacing them adds a huge amount of value, but not an upgrade they want to pay for.



In the end they were very thank full I took the time to talk to them so long. They loved my ideas and the brother did agree to list with me. I assisted them in getting quotes to clean the home out and clean the home up. They are very pleased and understand we should hold the home off the market until it is ready.



The MOST IMPORTANT message is to share with every consumer that my philosophy is simple, provide more personal and professional service to guide clients through each step of the buying or selling process. All Agents are not created equal and every buyer or seller should take the time to hire the BEST not just the biggest. Those that hire me, find a dedication like no other.



To CONTACT Scott Godzyk please call 603.661.2121 or EMAIL: .


About the Author: Scott Godzyk is the Owner/Broker of the Godzyk Real Estate Services in Manchester NH. Proud to be locally owned and operated with 32 years of experience, Scott is a leading Agent for Listing and Selling Homes in this area.We are Full Time Agents ready to serve all of your Real Estate needs. Servicing Hillsborough, Rockingham, Merrimack and Belknap counties. 




Re-Blogged 2 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
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Scott Godzyk
Godzyk Real Estate Services - Manchester, NH
One of Manchester NH's Leading Agents

Oh yes Ron Barnes the almoghty cat pee smell is just as bad

Mar 24, 2018 04:03 PM #50
Scott Godzyk
Godzyk Real Estate Services - Manchester, NH
One of Manchester NH's Leading Agents

It still happens every now and then Linda Metallo DiBenardo and yes when on the buyer side i run

Mar 24, 2018 04:06 PM #51
Scott Godzyk
Godzyk Real Estate Services - Manchester, NH
One of Manchester NH's Leading Agents

I see many homes with that little table and wonder why they do it at all Hella M. Rothwell, Broker/Realtor® . I agree most homes are sold at a great discount when nothing is done

Mar 24, 2018 04:08 PM #52
Scott Godzyk
Godzyk Real Estate Services - Manchester, NH
One of Manchester NH's Leading Agents

It pays off to clean them Jeff Dowler and i did have a buyer who wanted me to ask sellers if they had ever smoked as she had bad allergies. 

Mar 24, 2018 04:09 PM #53
Scott Godzyk
Godzyk Real Estate Services - Manchester, NH
One of Manchester NH's Leading Agents

Thank you Bill Dean 314 575 6924 

Mar 24, 2018 04:10 PM #54
Tammy Lankford,
Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668 - Eatonton, GA
Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville

I don't need scratch and sniff.  I've been in a house just like that.  Ick.  

Mar 24, 2018 08:20 PM #55
Andrew Mooers | 207.532.6573
Northern Maine Real Estate-Aroostook County Broker

You bet. But not if you show and tell, sell to a heavy smoker who feels right at home. Had a listing where the elderly lady lit one before the other cancer stick was even finished. After the 1.5 hour tour, listing, photo and video collecting with staging, I had a buzzing head. The little dog who sat beside me during the questions about septic, the lakefront property details, kept looking up at me and wanted to go home with me when I left. He was developing COPD living in the house that was one big ash tray smell. We sold it to the neighbor who's son said the walls were yellow sap pitch from years of the couple smoke 'em if you got 'em approach to retirement living. He died from lung cancer.

Mar 25, 2018 05:17 AM #56
Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543
Long & Foster Real Estate Inc 610-225-7400 - Devon, PA
Tredyffrin Easttown Realtors, Philly Main Line

This seems to be less of an issue with fewer people smoking but it does impact buyers and I have had buyers not even enter a house when the smell of smoke washes over them as you open the door. It is hard to rid the house of the smell.

Mar 25, 2018 09:54 AM #57
Francine Viola
Coldwell Banker Evergreen Olympic Realty, Olympia WA - Olympia, WA
REALTOR®, In Tune with your Real Estate Needs

Scott - you beat me to the punch!  I was just going to post this photo of a house I toured with my buyer, and yes, it was clearly a smoker's home.  They passed on it because you'd have to gut the house to the studs to get rid of the smell.

smoker house

Mar 25, 2018 05:29 PM #58
Debbie Reynolds
Platinum Properties - Clarksville, TN
Your Dedicated Clarksville TN Real Estate Agent

It's just awful and we had a condo that we had to repaint, oxygenate carpets, wipe down everything and run an ozone machine for 2 weeks. The deposit didn't come close to covering all the expense.

Mar 25, 2018 06:30 PM #59
Charles Vasels
Corona, CA

Any house with smells can still sell but any smell is doing nothing for curb appeal. Really, whats the difference between smoke, urine or heavy cooking odors that seem to permeate every room? 

A smoke house that actually has film on the walls will have to be scrubbed and painted, in my view. Other times, when the occupant can smoke outside, wash washable walls and keep some windows opened, that will be enough.

As an agent, I would list out the problems and indicate the top needs and your ideas to help them tackle it immediately. Point being that any problem can be remedied, the real question is how much cooperation you can get to accomplish it. Some sellers are eager to cooperate and others highly resistant. Your approach and attitude will make all the difference because selling an owner on any kind of remediation is another selling task. How good a salesman are you? But walk away just for a smell? If the property has the potential im looking for, Im not going anywhere.

Mar 26, 2018 05:52 PM #60
Ellen Caruso
Daniel Gale Sotheby's International Realty - Glen Head, NY

Smell does effect a sale but most of all a open house! That’s where multiple potential buyers will openly discuss the smell and even make a scene walking out.

Mar 26, 2018 06:04 PM #61
Jan Green
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

So important to be brutally honest to sellers about the "business" of selling a home.  Remove the emotions and the smell!

Mar 26, 2018 08:22 PM #62
Joyce Marsh, Luxury Market Specialist
Million Dollar Guild, CLHMS, CNE, SRES

I have been to a few homes that smelled so bad you could smell it from the driveway before you even went inside. Definitely a hard property to sell. 

Mar 27, 2018 05:11 AM #63
John Wiley
Right Move Real Estate Group- EXP Realty - Fort Myers, FL
Lee County, FL Real Estate GRI, SRES,GREEN,PSA

I have taken Buyers to view a home. We opened the door and could smell the smoke and they turned and walked back to the car.

Tobacco smoke gives some people a terrible headache.

Mar 27, 2018 12:05 PM #64
Mary Hutchison, SRES, ABR
Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate-Kansas City Homes - Kansas City, MO
Experienced Agent in Kansas City Metro area

Thanks for sharing. I've wondered how to get smoke smell oout of a house or garage..fortunately haven't listed a property with that problem but could happen!

Mar 27, 2018 07:58 PM #65
Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland
HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400 - Pikesville, MD
Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome

Happy there is no scratch and sniff feature if you can smell it, it is hard to sell it!!


Mar 28, 2018 11:14 AM #66
Tom Bailey
Margaret Rudd & Associates Inc. - Oak Island, NC

Good post. smoking odors can be dealt with, but must be done before any showings. HVAC contractors have spray (don't remember the name) that can be sprayed on air return filters. This usually takes care of the problem, if that doesn't fix the problem an ozone treatment will. 

Mar 28, 2018 04:42 PM #67
Dörte Engel
RE/MAX Leading Edge - Bowie, MD
ABC - Annapolis, Bowie, Crofton & rest of Maryland

Dear Scott,

The short answer is: yes! Can you imagine what that stuff does to your body, when you inhale it every day?

Mar 28, 2018 10:10 PM #68
Ricky Walters
Landmark Lending - Pleasanton, CA
1 out of 3 Diamond Certified Bay Area home lenders

Absolutely affects your ability to sell a home. Many people are turned off by the smell of smoke and sure don't want to purchase a home where the smoke has seeped into the rugs. It's a nightmare to get rid of the smell. 

Mar 29, 2018 09:57 PM #69
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