NEW REAL ESTATE TREND: SMOKEFREE HOMES

Realtors®, have you noticed:

 

It is more difficult to sell a home where people have smoked?

More and more buyers are demanding a smokefree home?

 

"Agents who have assisted people selling or shopping for everything from starter homes to Victorian mansions agree: as the number of public places a person can smoke has shrunk, so has the number of home buyers who are even willing to consider a house with smoking in its past. "

On Tobacco Road, It's a Tougher Sell," New York Times, 2/8/04


How to take advantage of this trend:

1. Include "smokefree" in the listing description.

"No one wants to live in a smoky building" - Chris Bonner, Principal Broker, Hasson Company Realty Portland, OR

  • If a home has not been smoked in, include smokefree in the listing description.
  • Market demand for smokefree homes is high: 91% of Oregonians and 88% of Washingtonians* do not allow smoking in their homes.

2. Encourage buyers of new properties to retain home value by not allowing smoking indoors.

"For a nonsmoker, it's like walking into a place with a dirty toilet," said Kirk Taylor, executive vice president of Portland real estate firm CB Richard Ellis

  • Smoke seeps into everything and restoration is expensive.
  • Smoking outside is a simple way to retain home value.
  • 61% of Oregon adult smokers already smoke outside (Oregon Tobacco Facts)

3. Advise sellers to restore smoke damage.

“A few years ago, if you asked smokers to clean up their homes before putting them on the market, they often were offended. Today, they no longer put up a fight. They know that public expectations for smoke-free environments are rising. The owners totally get it.” --Gary Kent, a San Diego real estate professional

  • Cigarette residue cannot be covered up.
  • Leaving clean-up costs to the buyer could be a deal-breaker.
  • Portland-based Kennedy Restoration Company estimates that a thorough clean-up could cost thousands. Cleanup can involve scrubbing all walls and ductwork, repainting everything, and replacing carpets and even drywall.

Other sources:

“Cigarette Smokers Have Tough Time Selling”, REALTOR magazine, June 30,2006

“Smoky, Smelly Homes Don’t Sell”, REALTOR magazine, October 18, 2006

The Health Consequences of Involuntary Exposure to Tobacco Smoke: A Report of the Surgeon General. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2006.

* "Unpublished data from the 2006 Washington State Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System