Your Home’s Value Is Going Up in Smoke
If you’re a cigarette smoker and you smoke in your home, then you’re causing your home’s resale value to go up in smoke. A recent study commissioned by Pfizer Canada, a pharmaceutical manufacturer, has found that smoking in your home can reduce its resale value by as much as 20 percent or more.
Third-hand cigarette smoke is that smoke that lingers long after the second-hand smoke has cleared out. It can settle on carpets, drapes, dust, furniture, countertops, and every other area of a room. The tar and nicotine from cigarette smoke will also adhere to walls and ceilings, turning them from white to an ugly brownish-yellow. If you have wallpaper, turn it back a little at the ceiling and you’ll see what I mean.
According to researchers at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California, people “can be exposed to third-hand smoke through inhalation, ingestion or skin contact.” Further, they say, third-hand smoke “can damage human cells and is a carcinogen that can affect people’s health.”
"Tobacco-specific nitrosamines, some of the chemical compounds in third-hand smoke, are among the most potent carcinogens there are," according to Lara Gundel, a Berkeley Lab scientist and co-author of the study.
The study also reports that it found third-hand smoke in dust and on surfaces of rooms more than two months after the former home owners had moved out. “Vacuuming, wiping surfaces, and improved ventilation don't do much to reduce this nicotine contamination,” Lawrence Berkeley researchers say.
If you have lingering cigarette smells in your home, you’ll find that prospective homebuyers won’t linger too long in your home and will quickly move on. Almost 90% of real estate agents surveyed say that it’s very difficult to sell a home where the owners smoked indoors.
What can you do to eliminate third-hand cigarette smoke in your home? You can forget about Rug Doctor. And don’t bother calling Stanley Steamer, either. You’ll have to replace the carpets and drapes, and repaint the walls and ceilings. And if you must smoke, consider smoking in the great outdoors.
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Lew Corcoran, ASP®, IAHSP, IAHSP-CB