If all the warnings about what cigarette smoke does to your health aren't enough, consider what it's doing to your Vero Beach house, especially when the time comes to sell it and move on.
In a survey of real estate agents, about 44 percent of those surveyed said smoking will reduce a home's value by some measure. Of these, one-third said the reduced value may range from 10 to 19 percent; another one-third said it could lower the value by 20 to 29 percent.
That is, of course, if the homes find buyers at all. A whopping 88 percent of the agents said that in any case, it's more difficult to sell homes where the residents are smokers.
Third Hand Smoke in Your Vero Beach House
In addition to the possible lower value being placed on a Vero Beach house that has, or had, a smoker, another factor to consider is something becoming known as "Third-Hand Smoke."
We're all too familiar with the concept of second-hand smoke — that's the mixture of exhaled smoke and the other ick that enters the atmosphere from the end of a lit cigarette. Health effects aside, it's a concern that has manifested itself in real estate terms, in apartment and condo buildings where residents find themselves inadvertently inhaling it via shared ventilation and heating systems and seepage through walls. Some landlords, including some of the nation's largest ones, have banned smoking because of it.
You may soon develop the same kind of familiarity with third-hand smoke, which is a term that's just starting to make its way into popular usage. Third-hand smoke is what lingers after second-hand smoke has cleared out — the noxious residue of cigarette gases and particles that settles on carpets, drapes, dust and other surfaces of a room.
Third-hand smoke has long been suspected as a carcinogen, but smoking could cost home sellers dearly, not only health-wise, but when it comes time to sell their home.
"Tobacco-specific nitrosamines, some of the chemical compounds in third-hand smoke, are among the most potent carcinogens there are," according to Lara Gundel, a Berkeley Lab scientist. "They stay on surfaces, and when those surfaces are clothing or carpets, the danger to children is especially serious."
These days, when you sell your Vero Beach house, you may be required to sign a mold-disclosure form, as well as disclosure of any knowledge you may have about the presence of radon, asbestos and lead paint in the house. Perhaps one day in the not-too-distant future, you may have to sign a disclosure about smoking as well. Stay tuned as more develops on third-hand smoke.