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A survey of Canadian real estate agents in 2013 indicated that smoking can reduce a home's resale value by nearly 30%.  But this does not have to be the case!

About 88% of real estate agents surveyed said it is more difficult to sell a home previously occupied by smokers. Those same agents said about 27% of their clients will not even consider buying a home in which a smoker has lived. So what do you do if your house smells like smoke and you want to sell it? How are you going to attract a buyer for your property?

 

Have you seen Febreze’s new commercial, about people that have gone “nose blind”?  I have sold my fair share of homes that have been smoked in, where the owners stopped smoking months prior to the sale and believe that in doing so, they have eliminated the smell.  Unfortunately, this has rarely been the case.  The feedback that we receive from subsequent showings is often that “the smoke smell turned off the buyers”. The smell of smoke lingers, and depending on how heavily smoked in the home was, it may need more remedial action.  Third hand smoke is also a term growing in popularity, and as a result, society’s further aversion to the smell of smoke. Here are my top tips to eliminate the smell:

 

Stop smoking in the homeGetting smoke out of your home

I know, it sounds obvious.  Yet so many people think that just one cigarette here and there won’t have an impact – but they do.  There is a compounding effect with each additional cigarette.  And you can’t eliminate something you keep bringing into the home.  Take it outside for now.  Hopefully your home sale isn’t in the middle of winter!  If it is, I promise this step will be worth it!

 

Air it out

Open windows, get fresh air coming through the property if this is in the spring, summer or fall.  If the weather is too cold outside, then you may have to resort to other tactics. Put a couple of drops of vanilla extract on a new furnace filter, and remove the old one.  Have your ducts cleaned.  Then switch your furnace fan setting to “on” instead of “auto”.  This constant movement of air throughout the house goes a long way. The same goes for bathroom fans, kitchen exhaust fans, etc.  Bring that fresh air in and force that stale air out!


Clean it all! 

Cleaning Smoke HomesAny soft surface in your home is likely holding a ton of the smell.  Get your carpets steam cleaned by a professional. Let them know in advance that you are trying to eliminate a smoke smell, as they often have special mixes for circumstances such as these.  Pull down those drapes, wash them if you can.  If you can’t, air them outside for a few days. Hard surfaces still need to be washed too – wood banisters, metal décor or light fixtures, etc. can all be wiped down with a mixture of vinegar and water.  

 

From the Windows… to the Wall!

Wash those walls.  Tri-sodium phosphate (TSP) and water are a powerful combination and will remove a lot of odour, but not all. But at least it is a start! TSP is also good for breaking up the nicotine molecules so that yellow grime will wipe away.  You will also want to wash the windows as the nicotine residue can make them look foggy or stained.  Not something you want to draw attention to when selling!

 

Baking SodaCleaning with Baking Soda

Don’t forget the power of one of the most common odour neutralizers – baking soda!  Just a regular dusting of this on soft surfaces can make all of the difference.  Baking soda naturally neutralizes odors and does so by bringing acidic and basic odor molecules into a more neutral pH or state.  Just sprinkle, and then wipe or vacuum it up, depending on the surface.

 

Spray or Plug-In Air Neutralizers

Please, don’t do it!  There is nothing worse than walking into a home and smelling the fresh chemical scent of Febreze or a similar product.  While these products do advertise that they eliminate odours, I have yet to find a buyer who is not offended by the strong smells that come with these products.  If you want to use these products to eliminate odours, do it when you do not have showings scheduled.  Spray the surfaces and let them air out before any traffic comes through.  Doing it immediately prior to a showing however, will leave buyers questioning what exactly it is that you are trying to cover up.

 

Baking Scents

Baking Scented CanclesYou don’t have to be a great baker, to get some amazing scents.  While buyers seem to find chemical or odour-covering sprays offensive, they do tend to respond positively to baking-scented candles (vanilla scents are usually very safe).  Alternatively, a little bit of vanilla extract put in an oven-safe dish with a bit of water, and then baked for just half an hour will create some delicious (and believable) scents!  Better yet, buy a roll of Pillsbury cookie dough and bake half a dozen cookies before each showing. Bonus points if you leave them on the table for your favourite agent!

 

 

Go Bowling

While I have not tested the legitimacy of this claim, I have had some clients swear by leaving activated bowls of charcoal around the house, to absorb smells.  Alternatively, bowls of vinegar throughout the house can supposedly do the same thing.  With a step as easy as this one, what’s the harm in trying, right?

 

Paint

I know, up until now my suggestions were more on the mild side.  But let’s be honest, even following all of the steps above will likely only make a dent in the smell.  Purchase a high-quality primer such as Bullseye or Killz, they are both known to eliminate/lock-in odours, to prevent anything from seeping through.  If you’ve followed the previous wall-washing step with TSP, then the adhesion of these primers to the wall is even better.  Most experts recommend at least two coats of these primers, as nicotine has a nasty ability to seep through with time.  I realize, it sounds like a lot of work but there is an upside to this recommendation. Interior paint increases your resale value and has an approximate return on investment of approximately 40%, according to a recent study by HGTV.  But please go with neutrals – greys and beiges, or get wild and go greige!

 

Bringing out the Big Guns

There are other products designed to eliminate smoke and other odors (usually pet) from a home, but these are slightly more intense.  I will note some of the ones that my clients have had success with below:

Odoban

Odoban for Cigarette SmellsThis product can be purchased at Home Hardware and Giant Tiger in Canada.  It can also be purchased online through Amazon.  It is often used for fire restoration procedures, and works.  It is sprinkled on to surfaces (soft and hard). Always do a test spot before putting it on any fabrics though!

 

Air purifiers

I have had some success with these machines in the past.  However, there does seem to be a direct correlation with the cost of the machine and the quality of air it produces.

 

Biocide systems room shocker

Biocide Room ShockerI have had clients that had success with this product in the past, however be forewarned.  You set off the fogger, and need to leave the house for a period of time.  I believe in their case it was 2 days, which was fine as they were moving into the home from an apartment.  When you return home, the smells are supposed to be gone.  They said they could smell chlorine, but that was about it. For a 1700 square foot home, they set off six and had great success. They did think it was slight overkill and think they could have gotten away with setting only four off. Be careful not to leave them directly on carpet.  In my clients’ case, there was a nasty bleach-looking stain left behind where they left one of the boxes directly on the carpet.  Their advice was to place a plate under them.  They can be purchased online.  Biocide’s online description: Room Shocker exclusively uses the revolutionary ClO2-DMG Technology that delivers the super odor eliminating power of chlorine dioxide, also known as ClO2. ClO2 is a gas that can penetrate deeper and more effectively than non-gas products. The ClO2 molecules are attracted to the negatively charged odor molecules like a magnet is to iron. It seeks them out and destroys them like a smart bomb. Whether you are dealing with the foul odor of cigarettes, skunks, pets, paint, vomit, urine, rotten food, fish, mildew, mold or even chemicals, Room Shocker will eliminate it permanently.

 

Big D 341 Odor Control Fogger

Another strong chemical product.  Similar in theory to the Biocide systems room shocker – but I have not had clients with experience in using these.  However, their online reviews are quite positive.  You have to buy these online as well.

 

Ozone machines

Ozone Machine for Smoke RemovalThese can be controversial as they are removing the smoke from the air, but leaving their own carcinogens behind.  If all your hard labor didn’t remove the smoke odor as much as you would like, it’s time to bust out the big guns and follow the lead of restoration companies. You can call restoration companies and ask to rent one directly from them.  You will usually need to rent it for a couple of days.  Alternatively, you can purchase one – but they aren’t cheap! These machines emit ozone molecules that attach themselves to the surfaces in the room.  These machines should only be run in empty rooms, away from humans and pets, and be sure to air your house out after running them.

 

Hiring the Pros

There are business that specialize in removing odours from your homes.  But they come at quite a cost, and will use many of the tactics mentioned above.  I have heard quotes anywhere from $2000 - $15,000 depending on the remediation package chosen.  I would say this option is more for the most serious of cases.  I can only think of one house in my career that I would have recommended this as the proper solution.

 

 

Following these steps will hopefully remove the bulk of the smoke smell.  Although, I have had some clients so sensitive to smoke, whether it be because of an extra-powerful sniffer, or serious allergies, that just will never consider a smoked-in home.  However, taking these measures will hopefully reduce the smoke smell enough that the average buyer will not turn their nose up (sorry, couldn’t help but use a pun) at putting an offer in!

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WHAT’S UP IN WINNIPEG: OUR COMMUNITY EVENTS GUIDE FOR FEBRUARY 2018

YOUR SOURCE FOR LOCAL EVENTS HAPPENING RIGHT IN OUR AREA!

 

Don’t let the cold trap you inside.  There is plenty to do in February in Winnipeg.  With that in mind, we have created the following list.  The only criteria: the event had to sound interesting, and cost less than $20 per person.  Many of these options are even FREE!!

 

 

February 2, 2018 | 6:00 - 9:00 p.m. | Mardi Gras Dance and Costume Party. For all ages.  Dress up and partake in the festivities.  Offering plenty of prizes and games for children, teens, and adults.  There will be dancing, pizza, and pop. Co-hosted by knights of Columbus and St. Ignatius Youth Ministry. Location: St. Ignatius Church, 255 Stafford Street, Winnipeg.

 

 

February 2, 2018| 6:00 p.m. | Camerata Nova at Guy Maddin's Temple of Lost Things. Wander down the Red River Mutual Trail to Warming Huts v.2018 Invited Artist Guy Maddin's Temple of Lost Things constructed from Red River ice + driftwood to experience a choral performance like no other. Choral ensemble Camerata Nova will perform inside the Hut, below Queen Elizabeth Way Bridge, providing exceptionally unique acoustics. Location: Red River Mutual Trail

 

 

February 1-4, 2018 | Greendell Winter Carnival.  Offering plenty of activities for all ages including pizza nights, magic shows, socials, pancake breakfasts, bouncers, and more.  Visit greendell.ca for the itinerary.  Location: Greendell Community Centre, 75 Woodlawn Avenue, Winnipeg

 

 

February 1-7, 2018 | La Poutine Week. A weeklong food festival celebrating the great French-Canadian classic – poutine! From the same geniuses behind Le Burger Week!  This year, there are 80 restaurants in Winnipeg participating.  For a list of participants, visit: lapoutineweek.com.

 

 

February 2-4, 2018 | Ironman Outdoor Curling Bonspiel. this is Canada’s largest outdoor curling bonspiel - 88 teams field & 10 sheets of ice. The Bonspiel (est. 2001) is a fundraiser for the Heart & Stroke Foundation. All ages, skill levels and genders are welcome. Location: Beachcombers

 

 

February 3, 2018 | Robert Steen Community Centre Winter Carnival.  Offering activities for all ages, some of which include a family dance, pancake breakfast, interactive learning sessions, bingo, hay rides, and more.  Tickets are $10 (or $12 at the door) per adult, $5.00 per child 10-17, kids 9 & under are FREE. Visit robertasteencc.ca for more information.  Location: Robert Steen Community Centre, 980 Palmerston Avenue



February 3, 2018 | St Norbert Heritage Day. A day full of free family activities celebrating the culture and heritage of our community. Visit stnorbertcc.ca for more information.  Location: St Norbert Community Centre, 3450 Pembina Highway



February 3, 2018 | 2:00 - 3:30 p.m. | Just for Kids Marble Run Mania. Design and build your own marble run using cardboard recyclables, then watch those marbles fly! Experiment with speed, gravity, angles and your imagination. Free. Register online at Winnipeg.ca/library. Location: Louis Riel Library, 1168 Dakota Street



February 4, 2018 | 8:00 a.m. | The Great Skate.  A free 6km race on the Red River Mutual Trail, organized by November Project Winnipeg. Open to all abilities! Location: South Atrium in The Forks Market



February 1-28, 2018 | Ice Castles Winnipeg. You likely have seen posts on social media from others of the expansive acre-sized Winter Wonderland, but you will only have until the end of February to view it.  All crafted by hand! Ticket prices range from $9.95-$20 depending on the day of week you go, if you are purchasing at the door, and your age.  Children under 4 are free. Location: Parks Canada Place at the Forks National Historic Site, Winnipeg



February 7, 14, 21 & 28 | 7:00 - 8:00 pm | The Forks Learn to Skate. Forks Market Atrium Learn how to: Fit, tie and wear skates so they don't hurt your feet,  Balance and stride with confidence on your skates, Stop, turn, cross cut and skate backwards, New skaters, haven't skated in 20 years skaters, and people wanting to improve current skate skills are welcome!  Skate rentals available at Iceland Skate Rentals. Location: The Forks Market Atrium



February 9-11 | The First Annual International Crokicurl Tournaspiel.  Includes tournaments, awards, and free family fun day.  You do need to register your team.  Location: The Forks Market Atrium.



February 10, 2018 | 2:00 p.m. | Folk for Families Free Concert.  Join Sonja Rasmussen as she puts on a free family concert.  For more information visit: WinnipegFolkFestival.ca. Location: Millennium Library, 251 Donald Street.



February 10, 2018 | It’s Not a Pirate Ship! Stories of Modern Day Rigging. A family-friendly event that explores what it is like to be a modern-day rigger!  The Nonsuch Gallery is now temporarily closed for a major gallery renewal – come hear about what’s happening behind the scenes before the Nonsuch re-opens in summer 2018! Your ticket includes all-day admission to the Museum Galleries (before or after the event). Admission $14 General, $9 Child/Student (3-17, or with valid student ID), Kids under 3 get in free. Location: Manitoba Museum, 190 Rupert Avenue



February 10-11, 2018 | Central Canada Horror and Sci-Fi Expo. Formerly known as St Valentines Horror Con, Central Canada Comic Con Presents The Horror and Sci-fi Expo! Manitoba's premier Convention for all of your Horror and Sci-fi needs! Come by and see some amazing attractions, fantastic guest lineups, and ghoulish costumes. With plenty of photo opportunities around the hall, you will be bound to come away with some amazing memories! Weekend pass: $20, day pass: $10. Location: RBC Convention Centre, 375 York Avenue



February 11, 2018 | Half Moon Market.  The Half Moon Market is a craft show with heart, in the heart of the Winnipeg's downtown. Think outside the craft box with 20+ local artisans, free admission, and a comfortable setting. Location: Inn at the Forks



February 11, 2018| 12:00 – 5:00 p.m.| Valentine Pop-Up Farmer’s Market.  A pop-up farmers' market! Local Manitoba food, crafts, clothing vendors, and artists will be there. Find the perfect Valentine's Day gift for your loved one. Location: Union Station – Via Rail

 

 

February 14, 2018| 6:00 p.m. Doors Open, 7:00 p.m. Start | Winnipeg Jets Skills Competition. Winnipeg Jets players compete head-to-head in five events. The first 5,000 fans to arrive will receive a Winnipeg Jets Collectors Cup.  There will be exciting prize giveaways throughout the night for all fans in attendance.  Proceeds benefit the True North Youth Foundation and the NHLPA Goals and Dreams Fund.  Cost: $20, $15, $10 depending on the ticket. Tickets can be purchased at: nhl.com/jets/fans/skills. Location:  Bell MTS Place - 300 Portage Ave. 



February 15, 2018 | 6:30-7:30 p.m.| National Film Board of Canada Film Club For Kids. Especially selected for young audiences, five animated shorts will move and entertain the whole family: Janice Nadeau’s Mamie, Janet Perlman’s Bully Dance, Pierre Sylvestre’s Cot Cot, Bertrand Langlois’ Demon and Marvels and Judith Klein’s Catuor. Register online at Winnipeg.ca/library. Location: Westwood Library, 66 Allard Avenue, Winnipeg



February 16-18, 2018 | Winnipeg Wellness Expo. Learn about many of the new and some ancient products and services available to you to help enhance or improve your quality of life. The Wellness Expo now consumes the entire first floor of the RBC Convention Centre to bring you the ultimate Body, Mind Soul Experience. General Admission: $10.00 per day, Seniors / Students: $8.00 per day, under 14 years old free. Location: RBC Convention Centre, 375 York Avenue



February 16-25, 2018 | Festival du Voyageur.  Could we call this a guide if we forgot Festival?  Heck no!  Every winter since 1970, Saint-Boniface, Winnipeg’s French quarter, is transformed into a winter paradise and becomes host to the largest winter festival in Western Canada. Voyageur, Métis and First Nations histories are brought back to life, not only through the historical interpretation offered inside reconstructed Fort Gibraltar, but also through the many attractions inside Voyageur Park and at the festival’s various official sites. Music of old, traditional cuisine, sensational snow sculptures and captivating shows are but a few examples of the entertainment you can expect to witness during this convivial gathering. Offering a vast array of historical, recreational and educational activities, Festival du Voyageur has something for all tastes and all ages! For more information, visit: festivalvoyageur.mb.ca.  Location: Voyageur Park, St. Boniface



February 17, 2018 | 2:00-4:00 p.m.| Just for Kids Lego Block Party. Test your LEGO® logic by answering skill testing trivia questions, read some amazing LEGO® stories, make your own bookmark to take home...and more! Free. Registration required. Register at winnipeg.ca/library to register. Location: Sir William Stephenson Library, 765 Keewatin Street, Winnipeg



February 19, 2018 | Wild Winter Canoe Race.  Yes, it's a canoe race – in the winter – on the ice. Have a blast and help Inclusion Winnipeg raise money to support the Emergency Card Project for the design of a communication tool to be used by people with communication challenges in situations of distress or emergency.  You do need to register in advance.  For more information or to register, please visit: wildwintercanoerace.com.  Location: Red River Mutual Trail.



February 2, 9, 16, 23 | 8:30 p.m.| Wee Johnny’s Comedy Night.  The first Friday of every month is Women’s Open Mic Comedy hosted by Dana Smith.  The other Friday’s alternate between Stand-up comedy, Sketch Comedy, and Alternative Comedy shows. Price: $5.  Location: Wee Johnny’s, 177 McDermot Avenue



February 23, 2018 | 1:00 – 7:00 p.m. | Blood Donor Clinic. We thought it would be nice to finish off the month with some charitable giving. It’s in you to give! To book an appointment please call 1-888-2-DONATE (1-888-236-6283). Location: CanadInn Transcona attached to Nashville’s.

 

 

Feel that we have missed something?  Please email Jennifer@JenniferQueen.com so that we can have your event added!

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