Essential Home Staging Tips – Dealing With a Smoky Home

Posted on Posted in Angelica's Articles, Blog, Renovations

Have you ever noticed that in the listings on an auction site like Ebay that often in the those listings, no matter what they are for, sellers make a deal about the fact that the item, or items, come from a non smoking home? Why? Because the smell of smoke just lingers and lingers, and if a person is a non smoker it tends to hit them in nose right away, which for most people is less than pleasant. So that one line is directly appealing to those people and may indeed up the chances that the item will sell.

The same holds true when trying to sell a house . Although most people who do still light up are heading outside to do so these days, more people than you might think still smoke in the home. After all, its your house and no one can tell you what to do in it. Which is fine, until you come to sell that smoky home. Then it becomes a real problem.

Cigarette, cigar and pipe smoke indoors goes everywhere, and stale tobacco odors can be easily re-activated by heat or humidity, so cleaning the residue is a major undertaking. Enough that in a buyers’ market, many will choose to move onto the next home on the list when faced with the work it takes to remove cigarette smoke and the resultant staining from a whole house. So they look for a different home, one that has not been ‘smoked out’.

So what is a poor smoker supposed to do if they really want to sell their smoky home ? To begin with, stop lighting up indoors. And if you have an enclosed porch, don’t smoke out there either, the smell will just end up hitting potential buyers in the face before they walk through the door, not a good first impression to make at all.

The answer after that is clean, clean and then clean some more. And it’s not just the carpets and window coverings that will need cleaning . Tobacco residue builds up on the walls, and especially on the ceilings. These surfaces will almost always need to be completely repainted or at the very least extensively scrubbed down.

Before painting, the surfaces must be washed, rinsed and dried. Then the tobacco stains must be sealed with a primer designed to cover stains and seal in odors. Without taking this step , nicotine stains can actually seep through several coats of fresh paint overnight, making all your hard work useless.

Unfortunately, even after a new paint job, the work is far from over before you can open your home up to the buying public. Cabinets and drawers need to scrubbed clean, as do the windows, the doors and even the inside of closets. It is also very important that you clean all the light fixtures as smoke tends to be drawn towards a heat emitting light so its probable that even the light bulbs are coated in that sticky brown goo.

Once everything has been cleaned and repainted, you can try the smoke test. Leave the house for a day. Close up all the windows and doors and don’t run the fans or air conditioners. If you don’t get hit in the face by the smell of stale smoke when you return home, then your mission has been successful and you’ll now stand a better chance of making a quicker deal on your home.


Angelica and Aron Pinto serve the real estate in Kitchener-Waterloo market as a husband and wife team known as Team Pinto at Re/Max Solid Gold. If you are looking for the best experience in real estate in the Kitchener Waterloo area and beyond, Angelica and Aron would be pleased to help! Angelica can be reached at 226.988.3696 and Aron at 519.498.8747

Team Pinto, Your Trusted Experts in the Waterloo Region!

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