Off the wall question: advertise non-smoking?

DLM2000July 22, 2012

My husband asked me about this last night and it struck me that when we consider buying anything used, buying from a non-smoker is not only a plus, but a necessity. I would never buy a car from a smoker or anything upholstered. I have purchased 1 or 2 case-good items from smokers over the years but it's a ton of work to eliminate the smell and I would not bother with the effort anymore.

But what about houses??? I walk into a house where smokers live and that's it, I'm done. We're just not interested in attempting to mitigate that smell - and short of ripping out the HVAC, drywall, etc, I don't think that it can be done and maybe not even then! Other things are advertised all the time as coming from a non-smoking home because that is a plus to many people. But I've never seen it with real estate. Would this be a good thing or is there strong potential to insult a smoker who might be interested in your house?

Curious what your thoughts are on this.

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It is SO odd that you posted this today.

Just yesterday, we had a party at our 'new' house, and some of our guests were the people we bought from. We were chatting about the sale, and I'd recounted our finding the house online, and how it looked perfect--and I'd said to my husband, 'there has to be something wrong with it--maybe they're smokers". For me, too, that would have killed any chance of us buying it--even 5 minutes around cigarette smoke (either new or stale) will give me a migraine. Obviously, they weren't smokers. But we drove an hour to look at this house--it would have been reassuring to see that listed in the info. Can't see any downside--non-smokers will be attracted, smokers won't care, because once it's theirs they can smoke in it if they want.

I'd say go for it. Just wish we'd thought to include that when WE were selling our house--LOL!

    Bookmark   July 22, 2012 at 5:08PM
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Honestly, I don't know that many smokers any more. It isn't considered socially acceptable by most people I know. I think worrying about smoking may depend upon your price range and what your target group of buyers is. Mentioning non-smoking might appeal more to someone looking for a starter home. Someone looking for a higher end home would expect that the home be non-smoking and clean.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2012 at 6:17PM
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Fori is not pleased

Smokers won't be offended. They know they smell! Personally, I'd like that to be a standard check box on everything, especially houses!

    Bookmark   July 22, 2012 at 7:47PM
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I don't see any DOWNSIDE at all. Good idea!

    Bookmark   July 22, 2012 at 9:22PM
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This is interesting to me because so much of what we are supposed to *do* in marketing our homes is make them appeal to the widest possible audience (neutral), not offend anyone (no religious decor), eliminate pet evidence (no beds or bowls), uncluttered (no visible collections) etc. I can see this smoking thing cutting both ways.

Fori, even though you say smokers won't be offended because they know they smell, I'm not so sure!!! They may know the smell is offensive to many but no one wants to have fingers pointed at them and someone *could* take it personally and then not have an open mind about a house advertised that way, don't you think? One house we're interested on several acres has a clause that **seller will cut out a small portion of the land for himself and prefers to restrict the remainder to one structure**. I'm put off by that so figure some smokers might be put off by a non-smoking designation.

Obviously we can't please all of the people all of the time and this may be a small enough audience in many markets that it's worth the risk, but on the other hand...... is it worth pi$$ing off a potential buyer? Just playing devil's advocate here! We're several months away from marketing but my realtor is coming by Wed and I'll ask her what she thinks. Wish there were smokers who could chime in with thoughts on this.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2012 at 12:05PM
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>so figure some smokers might be put off by a non-smoking designation

I don't understand that. It's not like you're saying only non-smokers can live or that the buyer will have to guarantee not to smoke. Even the smokers I know would mostly prefer a non-smoking house when it comes time to buy, although I find that strange in some ways. But if you've ever seen a house where someone chain-smoked inside for many years and there are nicotine stains around the AC/vents, you'd understand why they do.

As for the idea that not many people smoke these days, that's true of the middle-aged like me, but most of the younger people I know do smoke. A lot.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2012 at 2:11PM
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Hi dlm2000! Yes, I smoke(d) inside for almost 20-years. The house is going on the market this Fall. So far we've had the ducts cleaned & deodorised, fireplace chimney cleaned & deodorised, new carpeting & padding installed, new tiles & grout in bathrooms & laundry room, all rooms primed & painted. Entryway & kitchen wood floors will be resurfaced. The HVAC is service contracted semi-annual, so major pads & filters are replaced; standard filter is replaced at least monthly (it's dusty here as this is a growing BRAC area). Windows & screens are washed monthly, too. The house will be empty of any/all personal effects; contracting with staging & cleaning groups.

Gracious me! Hopefully the house will pass the white glove & sniff inspections LOL Thanks for starting this thread. Gave me a pause for thought, which I greatly appreciate.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2012 at 4:28PM
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p.s. All of the electrical boxes have been changed, as have all plates/switches...even the duct vents & fan covers. Did I mention...I fear Military White Glove Inspections! *big grin*

I'd say list your house "non-smoking". Someone will be offended only if someone chooses to be offended.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2012 at 4:40PM
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Just wanted to add--

I agree that a significant number of younger people I know DO (or did and quit) smoke.

BUT the younger generation has been brought up in a society where smoking in buildings is largely taboo--the ones I know didn't smoke in their own homes, to keep the smell and dirt outside. So even they wouldn't be offended by learning the house was a 'non smoking' home--to the ones I know, that would still be an advantage.

The bottom line is, IMO, 'non-smoking' is going to appeal to far more people than it's going to 'turn off'. Those who chose to be offended by something like that have to be in the tiniest minority.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2012 at 7:25AM
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While you're making a checklist:

[ ] smoking
[ ] curry

    Bookmark   July 24, 2012 at 4:39PM
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I don't know why you'd advertise it? I guess I just don't get it.

There are many other things that can make a home stink, I don't know why you'd concentrate on smoking.

"We are non-smokers, no pets, cook only bland, non-smelly food, have no children, and vacuum every day"

    Bookmark   July 24, 2012 at 6:54PM
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I see a lot of home advertised as 'smoke/pet free,' and I think its a good idea. I would be unlikely to buy a house that had any smell of smoke, or pet smells for that matter, because I know how hard it is to get rid of those odors.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2012 at 7:33PM
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Interesting mix of perspectives. That's exactly what I wanted to know - what could be the upsides and downsides to promoting a non-smoking house. It isn't clear cut but I do think there could be some merit. Whether meant tongue in cheek or not, clearly one would not specify foods or daily cleaning habits in a listing, but hey, if those turn you off (or on) then go for it!!

Locrian - thanks for your input as a smoker. Sounds like you've gone above and beyond in your cleaning efforts! Best of luck to you.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2012 at 2:21PM
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Hi dlm2000! No, not gone beyond on getting the property ready *grin*. As a smoker I know how offensive to non-smokers the odor of stale tobacco can be. It is even offensive to me when a house hasn't been aired properly.

In a tight resale market & competing new build, we want to present the house as a "gotta have it". Seems as if smelling clean and of fresh-baked cookies is highly sought after in this area market.

"Functional" isn't sexy...most average buyers could give a fig about a new roof w/ solar venting, plumbing, HVAC humidifier, programmable thermo, water heater, low-E double hung windows & French doors. Area average buyers are concerned about third & fourth-hand smoke though. And fresh-baked cookies ;-)

Now we can't list "pet free" BUT the house won't smell like a dog kennel or cat house either. Nor fresh-baked cookies. I'm going whole hog and baking cherry pies. A nod to George Washington living up the street...

    Bookmark   July 28, 2012 at 1:07PM
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No one buys a house because a listing says that. Buyers will still go to homes that don't have it listed if it is staged and photographed well. I think good real estate photos that are staged, well lit, and professional...not the raggedy cellphone realtor snapshots in 90% of the re listings would do more. If I am interested in your house and these were a concern to me then I would call and ask your realtor.

I am not sure of your market, but most high end homes there is an expectation of a clean smell free home.

Also if someone put that I would wonder why. Was there a pet or smoke problem? It wold create more questions than reassure me.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2012 at 12:06AM
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