We Buy Houses-Getting Rid of Tobacco Odors

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Are you trying to sell your house?

If you want to sell your house fast, it has to smell good.

If you are a smoker, chances are that your house smells like cigarettes.  Even if you smoke outside, the smell comes back in on your clothes, and a non-smoker will pick up on the smell…and they won’t like it.  When we buy houses, the smell affects the price, sometimes by thousands of dollars.  I have seen countless buyers walk into a house, take one whiff, and walk out.  The smell killed the deal.

I am amazed at how sensitive some peoples sense of smell it.  Mine isn’t great, but my wife has a nose like a bloodhound.  When we buy houses, I often take her into a house after I have finished rehabbing it for a “sniff test”.  If she catches any offensive odors, we attack them before we start showing the house to the public. You should, too.

Smokers generally are accustomed to the smell of smoke, so they don’t pick it up in their own houses.  Sometimes we buy houses that have been passed over by other buyers, and the sellers don’t even know why! If you smoke and are trying to sell your house, have a couple of non smoking friends (ones who will tell you the truth!) give you an honest opinion about how the house smells.  If they pick up even a whiff of smoke odor, it’s time for you to get to work.

To sell your house fast, it has to smell good.

Here are some ways that you can get rid of tobacco smells in your home and sell your house quick.

  • Air Fresheners
  • Burning Candles
  • Airing the house out
  • Clean the soft surfaces…carpets, drapes, etc.
  • Ozone generator

Air fresheners are easy and cheap, and will cover up mild cases of tobacco odor.  The key word here is “cover up”.  Air freshers typically just mask the smell, and some buyers, when they walk into a house with  lots of air fresheners, wonder what you are covering up.

Candles (even unscented ones) can help to eliminate odors on a small scale.  This works great for cooking odors, too.

Airing the house out is an obvious move, letting the clean outdoor air sweep the smelly indoor air out.  When we buy houses, this is one of the first things we do.  But if the agents that are causing the odor are still present indoors, the house will get smelly again as soon as you close it back up.

Cleaning (or replacing) the soft surfaces will do wonders for a smelly house.  Carpets and heavy drapes are magnets for smells.  Having them professionally cleaned will do wonders for a stubborn odor problem.  When we buy houses, we usually replace the carpets and drapes, but that gets expensive really fast!

When we buy houses formerly owned by heavy smokers, an ozone generator is my secret weapon.  Ozone generators electrically generate ozone particles and blow them into the room, which oxidizes organic odor-causing compounds.  This is the same type of equipment used by restoration companies to clean up house fire smells.  They work amazingly well.  I like to set them up near the air conditioning return with the fan set to run continuously, so that the ozone particles are sucked through the AC system.  This distributes the ozone through the whole house, and deodorizes the ductwork at the same time.

Small ozone generators are available online (try EBay) under brand names such as Alpine and Zen Living. These small units will deodorize a room with moderate odor levels in a few hours.  For odor problems needing “big guns”, you can rent commercial sized generators from tool rental companies for around $150 a day.  You can also call companies that specialize in fire and mold cleanup.  They sometimes rent their equipment, or offer odor-elimination services.

A word of caution about ozone generators.  People with asthma or other respiratory ailments can have bad reactions to large concentrations of ozone. Ozone can also be toxic to pets, especially housecats.  When using a commercial machine, you will want to vacate the house while it is being used.  But once the treatment is done, the ozone dissipates, the tobacco odor will be gone for good, and the house will be left smelling “thunderstorm fresh”.  Lightning produces large quantities of ozone…that is the fresh smell that you get after a thunderstorm.  It sure smells better that cigarettes!

We buy houses, pretty or ugly!

And that means that we buy houses that smell really bad!  If you have a smelly house that you want to sell fast, I can help.  I can buy your home for cash, close fast and will buy the house in As-Is condition, smells and all!  Call me at 850-763-7355.

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