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Help for Realtors: Selling a home with a strong cigarette smell

Posted by Gabriela Jager on

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Imagine this... You are staging a beautiful home for sale. It's well maintained with many upgrades, including granite counter tops and new fixtures. The house is in a great location. It's well priced for the market range. You hope to sell quickly. But week after week, buyers walk away from this wonderful home because of the strong cigarette odor. You have tried everything: from deep cleaning the home to burning scented candles and essential oils. But the odor is still lingering... the smell of years and years of smoking in the home has permeated the walls, carpets and furnishings. It is turning off buyers and you are at a loss. What can you do? 

First impressions matter. And first smells matter too. Even if a listing is beautiful and in a great location, it will not sell if it has a smell. Buyers who don't smoke and never have, will be able to detect the smell of cigarettes as soon as they set foot inside the home. Accordingly, many buyers might not only be highly sensitive to odors but might have severe allergic reactions to cigarette smoke, so taking their concerns seriously and addressing them, is very important. 

Addressing the problem is also important because a lingering odor can significantly reduce the resale value of any home. It will end up costing you and the sellers a lot of time and money. Instead of closing quickly, this home will sit on the market for days! Eventually, you might have to drop the listing price several times until you eventually find a person who is willing to buy it. So how can you address the problem and close on the sale of the home?

Don't mask the odors. Treat the source of the odors. 

Odors are caused by bacteria that attaches to ceilings, walls, carpets, cabinets, furniture and more. Common offenders include pets, food, mold, cigarette residue and dirty air vents.The remedy is to call a professional company like BioSweep Southeast to sanitize the home. Instead of using a fogger or a standard ozone machine to mask the odor, BioSweep's technology penetrates deep into every surface and into the HVAC system. BioSweep utilizes H2O2 (hydrogen peroxide) gas which does not bleach or permeate the surfaces but kills the source of the problem: viruses and bacteria. Other companies, might claim that they can eradicate odors but the H2O2 technology is exclusive to BioSweep franchises and furthermore, H2O2 is already well known in the healthcare industry due to it's disinfecting qualities. So why not treat the entire home with a high-quality disinfectant that will actually penetrate into every surface to kill the source of the odor? If you try to only mask the odor with air sprays and plug-ins, the odor will only resurface by your next showing.  

Smells can't kill you... or can they? 

According to the latest research, toxins released from cigarette use can stay on surfaces for years after smokers have moved out. Residual tobacco smoke mixes with dust, settles on surfaces and even penetrates porous material in paneling and drywall. People who move into houses and apartments previously owned by heavy smokers are at risk for cancer caused by Third-Hand-Smoke (THS) exposure (don't believe me... look it up! I have attached some helpful links at the bottom). Even more at risk to the toxic effects of tobacco smoke residue are babies, toddlers and children. They crawl on rugs, fall asleep on carpets and teethe on furniture, all of which could be saturated with THS.  Researchers are not just worried about the risk of cancer; THS could also be responsible for a host of other health problems, including: asthma, bronchitis, chronic infections and allergic reaction symptoms. 

So why is the BioSweep method so successful?

Because BioSweep is not going to spray a little cleaning solution and call it a day. To get rid of the smoking odors, Biosweep professionals use a very thorough and full-encompassing approach. Because cigarette smoke, by its very nature, can get into every surface - every surface needs to cleaned. So the BioSweep team will wash ALL the walls, doors, ceiling fans, light fixtures, windows, and base boards with an industrial-grade cleaner specifically designed to remove nicotine. No areas can be left untreated. You will not believe how the walls will just leak yellow liquid from all the cigarette smoke residue that has accumulated over for years! Then they will use H2O2 gas for several hours (even overnight) to penetrate deep into every corner of the house and kill the odor-causing bacteria. After that, they will use HEPA filtration systems to clean the vents and duct work. Depending on the level of smoke damage, some interior painting and re-carpeting might be necessary. The owner of BioSweep is so confident that his method is fool-proof that he even offers a warranty on all the work he does, so if you sell the house and the buyer would like to have the home re-treated, he will come and re-treat it for free.

Here is what a very happy customer recently said: "BioSweep did a pretty thorough clean up in my new home that reeked of tobacco smoke odor from the previous occupants. They not only cleaned up all the surfaces, but they also treated the ventilation system. I have a child with asthma and I was very worried about buying this home, but thanks to BioSweep the smell is 100% gone and I can have peace of mind." - Kim

Sources:

http://www.clinsci.org/content/131/19/2409

https://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2014/03/140320-thirdhand-smoke-cigarettes-cancer/

See how BioSweep is better than ozone here:

http://www.biosweep.com/Biosweep/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/BioSweep_Comparison_hi-res.pdf

 

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Topics: house with cigarette smell, odor removal, nicotine odor, smoke odor removal, cigarette odor removal