Smoking Snuffs Out Home Prices

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A recent study of real estate agents in Ontario, Canada, found that smoking can reduce a home’s resale value by 20 percent. The study was commissioned by Pfizer Canada, a pharmaceutical manufacturer.

Selling the home can pose quite the challenge too. Eighty-eight percent of the agents surveyed say that it’s more difficult to sell a home where the residents were smokers. 

Lingering smells in a home can affect a sales price, says Chip Wagner, an appraiser in Naperville, Ill. Smells such as pets and dampness can also affect a price, although there is no formula that appraisers use to take such odors into account, he notes. 

The health effects from breathing in secondhand smoke has led to more landlords banning smoking. Some tenants have complained they are inadvertently inhaling smoke from shared ventilation and heating systems and seepage through the walls. 

But there’s another form of after-affect from smoking that more in the real estate industry are taking note of — thirdhand smoke. That’s the smoke that lingers after the secondhand smoke has cleared out. It can settle on carpets, drapes, dust, and other areas of a room. 

Researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California recently published a study in a medical journal that claims that they’ve shown thirdhand smoke can damage human cells and is a carcinogen that can affect people’s health. The study says it found thirdhand smoke in dust and on surfaces of rooms more than two months after the former home owners had moved out.

Source: “Smoking can affect a home's resale value,” The Chicago Tribune (Aug. 23, 2013)

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