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Thirdhand Smoke And Home Value

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Bert Craytor

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No thread on this yet? OK, here it is.

There is good evidence that thirdhand cigarette smoke can decrease a home's value by 30% in some areas!

https://www.oransi.com/page/thirdhand-smoke :

"It should come as no surprise that thirdhand smoke can be a problem for people who want to sell their homes. Even before all of this information was available, houses with smoky, tobacco smells were a tough sell on the real estate market. The issue was documented as far back as 2004 (and it’s a safe guess well before that), in the New York Times article that discussed the difficulties of selling a home with a cigarette smoke smell. The article quoted real estate professionals who said that while a home will eventually sell, a smoker’s home is much more difficult to move. So, realtors would resort to hiding the smell and even vacuuming before potential buyers arrive. The bottom line: if there is a smoky smell in the home, it can mean a longer sales process. But it can also mean a lower price. A Canadian study found that smoking can reduce the cost of a house by 29%. According to the article, this means that a home worth $369,000 (which is the average home value in Ontario) would be reduced by $107,000. The article also noted that a significant number of realtors surveyed said that some homebuyers are entirely unwilling to buy a home where people have smoked. Smoking has a significant impact on your home’s marketability and value, creating another reason to quit if possible, keep smoking outside, and use room air purifiers to mitigate the effects of harmful tobacco smoke. "

Scientific Evidence: https://www.etr.org/ccap/files/a-casino-goes-smoke-free-a-longitudinal-study-of-secondhand-and-thirdhand-smoke-pollution-and-exposure/

Not easy to get rid of: https://news.stanford.edu/news/2011/march/casino-secondhand-smoke-032511.html

So, the questions are:

1. What kind of verifiable evidence is needed for THS (thirdhand smoke) to make an adequate adjustment. Can we rely on the appraisers subjective judgement?

2. What kind of adjustment should be made, if any?

3. Brokers and Sales Agents are not likely to want to go on record about the problems, as it could affect their ability to get new listings from owners who smoke. But, can we obtain useful information from agents as anonymous sources - and if so, how should that information be handled? (Actually, a more general question).

4. There are other questions ....
 

Joe Flacco

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Data science and MARS not working? :)
 

glenn walker

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Now include global warming, lead in the water, weeds that had been sprayed with that stuff sold at home depot and the property has -0-value - BUT- first you will need to get an-environmental report, soil tests and a a demo-permit , The evidence of these studies clearly shows that if the property suffers from more than three of these factors the real estate has no value and should be sealed and tagged by the EPA. Maybe a good statistician should develop a regression program to include any life threatening issues.
 

Bert Craytor

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What percentage of appraisers are smokers? 5-10%. And of course, you get nowhere talking negative about tobacco with at least half of those.

Noteworthy: I initiated the non-smoking ban at Advanced Micro Devices, Sunnyvale, CA, back in 1985, through, yes, a computer program I wrote that simulated the accumulation of the second hand smoke in the ventilation system. - And it seemed to have spread outward from there, other companies in the Silicon Valley, towns like Palo Alto and cities like San Jose and San Francisco. I know first hand, what dealing with cigarette smokers is like. They have this little engine in their subconscious dedicated to rationalizing their habit: It never ceases, it never gives up, it just keeps grinding away. And it is all relative. I used to smoke and gave it up in 1973, by taking up long distance running, which had the effect of getting me to cough out all the junk that was in my lungs over time. Of course, once your lungs are cleared out, you notice cigarette smoke in the environment a lot more. A heck of a lot more.

And so yes, one might argue that I am biased. And I would have to be especially vigilant in keeping this bias in check in appraisal reports. So, I am aggressive in finding evidence and methods that will open up a subject that seems to be getting covered over by the real estate establishment. [BTW, "real estate establishment" is a gigantic topic in itself - someday I am going to have to start mapping out all the linkages - if you have ever seen that sort of thing .... you can do a pretty good job of it by scanning the internet.]
 
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Renee Healion

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Agents have disclosed in listings when there is significant residue from smoking. They don't want to hear blistering feedback from other agents who have not been warned. In these cases, the tars or oils, whatever it is that covers the interior surfaces is orangey, sticky, very smelly. To your point, maybe they feel freer to disclose when the subject property is being sold to settle an estate.

If you do not smoke, and you rent a hotel room that offered as non-smoking, when you walk in you can tell if someone has smoked in there.The smell persists and the housekeeper bombing the room with Febreeze just makes for two unpleasant smells. Probably the same effect on non-smokers who are shown a house where someone smokes (but the walls are not dripping orange sap). If the buyers have kids, probably a bigger deal.

Agents know this. So a survey of them would provide some sort of data. Of course, you could just look at time on market, or ask whether any kind of remediation was a contract term. I suspect the buyers just eliminate the property from consideration. Like a murder home*, you have to find someone who does not care. Anyone who does care at all is probably not going to discount their offer but would move on to alternatives.

*just trolling the smokers. I mean some issues are pass or fail, not "let's use it to argue a discount".
 

Mark K

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I sincerely doubt the bogus 30% discount nonsense.

It falls into more of a, as Renee said, a pass/fail. For smoker/buyers the discount is essentially zero. For non-smokers looking at a smoking house, its a walk away.

We have the same issue in this area with houses in the airport noise area. Some people don't care and there's no discount. Others won't buy at any price.

Now if you're just looking for a soapbox for preaching, have at it. I don't smoke but I don't insist of forcing my opinions on the smokers. YMMV. Someone should move this to the Watercooler.
 

glenn walker

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What percentage of appraisers are smokers? 5-10%. And of course, you get nowhere talking negative about tobacco with at least half of those.

Noteworthy: I initiated the non-smoking ban at Advanced Micro Devices, Sunnyvale, CA, back in 1985, through, yes, a computer program I wrote that simulated the accumulation of the second hand smoke in the ventilation system. - And it seemed to have spread outward from there, other companies in the Silicon Valley, towns like Palo Alto and cities like San Jose and San Francisco. I know first hand, what dealing with cigarette smokers is like. They have this little engine in their subconscious dedicated to rationalizing their habit: It never ceases, it never gives up, it just keeps grinding away. And it is all relative. I used to smoke and gave it up in 1973, by taking up long distance running, which had the effect of getting me to cough out all the junk that was in my lungs over time. Of course, once your lungs are cleared out, you notice cigarette smoke in the environment a lot more. A heck of a lot more.

And so yes, one might argue that I am biased. And I would have to be especially vigilant in keeping this bias in check in appraisal reports. So, I am aggressive in finding evidence and methods that will open up a subject that seems to be getting covered over by the real estate establishment. [BTW, "real estate establishment" is a gigantic topic in itself - someday I am going to have to start mapping out all the linkages - if you have ever seen that sort of thing .... you can do a pretty good job of it by scanning the internet.]
Many of the Realtors I know are smokers , drinkers , pot smokers and like a lot of X-smokers or drinkers you are highly sensitive to the smell. So far I have never had a buyer pass because of second or third-hand smoke. Most were planning on installing new flooring, fresh interior paid and updating the home anyway and that was factored into the price they were going to pay.

In California how many registered Sex Offenders on the Map ? Most parents don't want to live in a City or neighborhood with hundreds of guys on the Megan-Law List. There is one neighborhood in a small city where the Realtor ran Megan's List and there were over 20 located within walking distance of the home she was trying to sell and 2 were located on the same street. The Realtor finally discovered that was the main reason potential buyers were walking away.

Bert this is something that is on-line and it's public information, it can be analyzed and a program developed to help buyers and sellers determine what the discount would be. Unfortunately until the courts define the difference between red-lining and just disclosing the facts appraisers can't disclose or make these adjustments because if they have the wrong guy on the list, and if someone suffers damages the appraiser is toast. BUT a statistician could develop a model for Realtors or buyers and sellers that could give some idea of what the discount should be ?
 

Terrel L. Shields

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Can would have argued that 2nd Hand smoke isn't a problem. I do believe it is over-blown because of epidemiology studies as a whole are incredibly flawed and PM2.5 is almost certainly a non-problem. I would say the market impact would ordinarily be something well short of 30% but I would say that it will reduce the pool of buyers because some people, like myself, would walk without considering it. Same with used cars. If it stinks of cigarettes I am not buying it. But as a science guy, I see a lot of suspect "studies" - and a lot of them are "Fooled by Randomness". Run enough identical studies and some will fall outside the magic 1 Std. Dev. ...which is a statistical issue, not a real impact.
 

bnmappraisal

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What percentage of appraisers are smokers? 5-10%.
I think you're a little light there in your percentages Bert

2 of the 4 closest appraisers I personally know are smokers

Each time I take my CE (live classes every 2 yrs) there a lot more than "5-10%" of the class outside during breaks puffing away

(FTR I am not a smoker - the occasional cigar a few times a year, that's all)
 

Renee Healion

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...Each time I take my CE (live classes every 2 yrs) there a lot more than "5-10%" of the class outside during breaks puffing away...
Good point!
Countable, without the observer influencing the results. Not likely to be a false pos or neg (depending on how you frame the question.)
 
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