10 Top Tips to Sell Your House. Tip #1 — Smoke OUTSIDE

I am in the process of readying a client’s house for sale. I have the trades there now. We’ve changed all the light fixtures, painted, hung new mirrors, updated faucets, tiles, window treatments. It is a complete transformation and really quite lovely.

Except for one thing. The client smoked. Not a lot, the client  says, and not until recently, but clearly often enough to discolour plastic fixtures and embed the smell into the carpet and walls. We’ve had the carpets cleaned which removed some of the odour but not all of it. I am now trying bags of volcanic rock to see if they’ll absorb the rest (you can buy them at Lee Valley Tools for about $ 18/each). They removed my new car smell within days. Fingers crossed.

I recently looked at a house with a view to purchasing it as an investment. It met all my criteria: great location, good bones, hideous décor, vacant, priced to sell. The problem was that within minutes of entering it, I couldn’t breathe. The owner was a heavy smoker. There were some people on the street who asked me while I was there if I was a realtor and if they could see it . They had a small child with them. They never made it past the living room because of the smell.

Fellow realtor George Prazmowski thinks a heavy smoker knocks about 20% off the price of their home. I think that may be a little high although the investment property I looked at dropped another $ 15K within a week.  It would have been a great flip, but the cost of getting rid of that smell isn’t cheap. I decided to pass.

Before painting, you have to treat the walls with a special primer that seals in mould and other odours. The best product seems to be one made by Zinser. But at just over $63/gallon, that’s an extra expense in terms of labour and materials  that could have been avoided if you’d only smoked outside.


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