With the average home in Toronto surpassing the 1 million dollar mark and with everyone talking about how hot the market is the assumption is that “everything sells”. The fact of the matter is that only 60% of homes actually do sell leaving 40% that do not. One of the things that will hurt your chances of being in that 60% range is if the home you’re selling smells of cigarette smoke.
A survey done by Pfizer Canada of Ontario Real Estate agents found that smoking in your home can reduce the value by as much as 30%. This is because the potential buyer assumes that it is difficult to remove the odour. The Buyer’s not wrong. At the very minimum carpets may need replacing, walls painted, and window coverings tossed out. The Buyer may think “Why settle for a home that has a ‘defect’ when there are others on the market that will not have this issue?” While most home owners and tenants take their smoking outside on balconies and in backyards, it’s not uncommon to come across these types of homes every so often.
Now a drop of 30% in value does seem high and to be fair the average is lower (10-20% range). However, I have seen first hand homes that are in otherwise fantastic condition languish on the market because of the smell of cigarettes. An even clearer example of the price difference where there is no debate about location or finishes was a unit I showed in a condo building that smelled of smoke. This unit was not selling despite the fact that the exact same unit on a lower floor sold for $20,000 more than what this unit was listed for. They eventually sold for $40,000 less than the smokeless unit. Everything else about the two listings was identical.
What if you own the home but have it rented out? Landlords are permitted to include “no smoking” clauses in their leases but should the tenant smoke anyway it may be tough to remove them from the home. Landlords will have to prove that the smoking is damaging the unit and is a risk to other tenants. Lawsuits have been won by landlords where they are able to recoup the cost of cleaning and repairing units that have been smoked in. However, it would be much easier for everyone involved if there was no smoking in your home to begin with.
If the home has already been smoked in all is not lost. There are several things you can do to improve your home and it involves more than a coat of paint. The key is to get the right team together and to start immediately. Feel free to give me a call if you’re in this situation and get the full value your home deserves.
Call Richard Robibero at 416-277-8025 to discuss your options in selling a smoke-filled home or if you are looking for a home in general. His experience and knowledge in dealing with situations like this will save you money in the long run.