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Thread: smokers house

  1. #1
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    Default smokers house

    buyer is not present during inspection, house is a smokers house, HORRIBLE smell and visual signs of tar and nicotine. Is this considered a defect,and do you report to buyer?

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: smokers house

    Quote Originally Posted by John Ritter View Post
    buyer is not present during inspection, house is a smokers house, HORRIBLE smell and visual signs of tar and nicotine. Is this considered a defect,and do you report to buyer?
    I would not report it.
    I also do not report dirty carpet, dirty windows, weeds in the yard or the bushes needing to be trimmed.
    I also do not report dirty cat litter boxes, plug in air fresheners, dog poop, or even poka dot paint.

    Last edited by Rick Cantrell; 10-22-2012 at 05:56 PM.
    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: smokers house

    I would report it, just as I would report a mildew odour, plug in air fresheners, cat litter box smell....


  4. #4
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    Default Re: smokers house

    Quote Originally Posted by John Ritter View Post
    buyer is not present during inspection, house is a smokers house, HORRIBLE smell and visual signs of tar and nicotine. Is this considered a defect,and do you report to buyer?
    I have a spot on my form for odors and always report. It's' something I think the buyer would want to know about. They will certainly have to pay extra to have it cleaned and or painted over, have the ducts cleaned. IMO it does effect the desireability of the property.

    Greg Filian
    http://www.MobileHomeInspectors.com
    714 612-3564

  5. #5
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    Default Re: smokers house

    Really, Raymond, you report kitty litter?

    I would probably report a need to repaint, if it is that bad. If the clients are there for the inspection, I don't see why I would need to say too much about smells.

    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
    www.allsafehome.ca

  6. #6
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    Default Re: smokers house

    To date I have not reported on such conditions. However, as the indoor environment issues come more to the forefront that may change.

    Eric Barker, ACI
    Lake Barrington, IL

  7. #7
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    Default Re: smokers house

    John

    Haven't you ever been in a house where the odour of the litter box is quite noticeable? Not uncommon to go into a house with a cat and find it has left piles in the crawlspace, behind furnace, et ceteras?

    Many people have allergies to cat dander and I consider such odours indicative of possible problems if the client is prone to allergies.

    Cats have a been found not to be one of the cleanest house pets.

    I also pride myself in my olfactory senses and since its not me who will decide what a standard of care will be (i.e. the courts will decide) and thus better to be safe than sorry.

    Did I mention I hate cats?

    Was in a house yesterday and every room had one of those plug in air fresheners, which leads me to wonder about indoor air quality and what the owners are attempting to mask.

    I think not saying to much about smells could come back to haunt. No one would have a problem calling out natural gas, and we see many posts on this site about odours and cause fwiw.


  8. #8
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    Default Re: smokers house

    Hi guys
    My biggest concern is the air quality and the expense to remove smell. I could not live it, but I'm not buying it either. Just tring to protect my customer and needed to know how others would handle it. Thanks for your replies, they are allways appreciated.

    John


  9. #9
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    Default Re: smokers house

    John,

    Given your clients where not present during the inspection, I be even more certain to bring to their attention what you found and what remediation may be necessary to cleanse the house. (i.e.) consult professional restoration company prior to close of title.


  10. #10
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    Default Re: smokers house

    I agree, clients are out of town, extreme case of nicotine, pet odours or other, of course I will report it.

    One place I remember the kid's bedroom smelled like a stable, guinea pigs living in there. The hardwood floors were scratched almost beyond repair, etc, and the clients missed the inspection. You bet I talked to them about that.

    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
    www.allsafehome.ca

  11. #11
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    Default Re: smokers house

    Quote Originally Posted by John Ritter View Post
    Hi guys
    My biggest concern is the air quality and the expense to remove smell. I could not live it, but I'm not buying it either. Just tring to protect my customer and needed to know how others would handle it. Thanks for your replies, they are allways appreciated.

    John
    Do your state standards require to report it? I don't think they do, but this does not mean that you can't if you feel it is important......

    Did the folks buying the home go into the home before they made an offer? If they did not notice it maybe it does not bother them or they are smokers....

    This is one of those things that is really an individual call. If you feel that you should note the smoke odor then I would do it, but I would stay away from calling it a health hazard and expensive to remove. Just say the home has a heavy cigarette odor and staining on the walls from the smoke.

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  12. #12
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    Default Re: smokers house

    John,
    It may is more of a condition than a defect. One that the realtor may have glossed over as a just a minor issue. Meaning that the walls have to be cleaned and then sealed prior to painting. So stating that there is staining on the walls and ceiling that will require additional efforts prior to painting would be reasonable. Just like your statement about the condition of the kitchen cabinets or appliances.


  13. #13
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    Default Re: smokers house

    Residual off gassing.

    If your clients suffer from auto immune, allergies, sensitivities...this is something I always tend to ask my clients, given the extent of contamination from the smoke. People are allergic to cigarette smoke.

    How to Reduce Chemical Contaminants in Your Home | CMHC


  14. #14
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    Default Re: smokers house

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymond Wand View Post
    John

    Haven't you ever been in a house where the odour of the litter box is quite noticeable? Not uncommon to go into a house with a cat and find it has left piles in the crawlspace, behind furnace, et ceteras?

    Many people have allergies to cat dander and I consider such odours indicative of possible problems if the client is prone to allergies.

    Cats have a been found not to be one of the cleanest house pets.

    I also pride myself in my olfactory senses and since its not me who will decide what a standard of care will be (i.e. the courts will decide) and thus better to be safe than sorry.

    Did I mention I hate cats?

    Was in a house yesterday and every room had one of those plug in air fresheners, which leads me to wonder about indoor air quality and what the owners are attempting to mask.

    I think not saying to much about smells could come back to haunt. No one would have a problem calling out natural gas, and we see many posts on this site about odours and cause fwiw.
    I also become concerned when I see a room deodorizer in every room. It makes me suspicious of negative issues that could cause an odor that needs to be covered up.

    Greg Filian
    http://www.MobileHomeInspectors.com
    714 612-3564

  15. #15
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    Default Re: smokers house

    Is there a class on detecting offensive odors that I can take? Do home inspectors have any training or specialized knowledge that makes their noses more adept at detecting odors than buyers? Is there a tool or meter that I can purchase to alert me to the fact that disagreeable odors are present?

    If not, I think buyers have the same, or better, ability to smell and decide what's offensive than any particular home inspector.


  16. #16
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    Default Re: smokers house

    Al

    Individuals olfactory senses will differ. Some people are more sensitive to odours than others. Some folks can even pick up odours because they have medical problems.

    They say women have better ability to pick up odours.

    As you allude it does come down to the purchaser as to what is acceptable structurally, indoor air quality issues such as mould, odours, asbestos...

    This CMHC info may offer assistance as to your question

    Housing Quality Matters — Northern Housing | CHMC

    The ability to smell subsides with time. You can refresh your ability to pick up odours in a house by going outside and refreshing your smelling sense for several minutes and then going back inside the house.

    As a matter of habit one of the first things I do upon entering a house is smell the air.


  17. #17
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    Default Re: smokers house

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymond Wand View Post
    As a matter of habit one of the first things I do upon entering a house is smell the air.
    And that means exactly what? Possibly you have the unique ability to turn your "sniffer" off at all other times? Amazing.

    I strongly suspect that I lack that capability. My nose senses odors (OK, odours for you north-of-the-border guys) with every breath I take.


  18. #18
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    Default Re: smokers house

    Olfactory sense - definition of Olfactory sense in the Medical dictionary - by the Free Online Medical Dictionary, Thesaurus and Encyclopedia.

    When one sniffs, air currents carrying molecules of odorous chemicals enter special compartments, called olfactory chambers, where the chemicals are dissolved in mucus. There they can act on the organs of smell in much the same way that solutions act on the taste buds of the tongue. The endings of the sensory nerves that detect odors, the olfactory receptors, can quickly adapt to an odor and cease to be stimulated by it after a few minutes of full exposure.
    Maybe you didn't realize that if a person breathes through their mouths odours are not detected. So yes in a way I suppose smelling can be turned on and off.


  19. #19
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    Default Re: smokers house

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymond Wand View Post
    Olfactory sense - definition of Olfactory sense in the Medical dictionary - by the Free Online Medical Dictionary, Thesaurus and Encyclopedia.



    Maybe you didn't realize that if a person breathes through their mouths odours are not detected. So yes in a way I suppose smelling can be turned on and off.
    As a parent you learn that real quick with the first few dipper changes!

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  20. #20
    Darrel Hood's Avatar
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    Default Re: smokers house

    I believe the odors are on par with a paint defect and an inspector should treat them alike. I don't normally report a paint defect, so I don't normally report cigarette odors/stains. Also, some people are allergic to perfume, do you report that if you smell it?


  21. #21
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    Default Re: smokers house

    We are not talking about a cologne on a person, we are talking nicotine staining and odours which have permeated dry wall and fabrics which are and do off-gas. Big difference for my consideration.

    Its also rather interesting to note the number of posts relating to cause and effect of odours in the home.

    I guess we should all stick our heads back under the pillow.


  22. #22
    Darrel Hood's Avatar
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    Default Re: smokers house

    The OP said the buyer is not present during the inspection. However, in almost all cases, the buyer has been in the house. Therefore, the buyer has smelled the house. The buyer is probably a competent adult. The buyer made an offer. Therefore, the buyer has accepted the smell. The buyer does not benefit from my comments on this point.


  23. #23
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    Default Re: smokers house

    Well thats okay, I guess it boils down to a business decision and ones educational background with indoor air quality assessment, which would raise ones standard of care.

    However even if the clients had been in the house they may have compromised ability to detect odours fwiw.

    Thanks,


  24. #24
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    Default Re: smokers house

    Raymond,
    You are right. Everything that exceeds the applicable SOP is a business decision.

    If the buyer has a compromised smeller, the smell is not a problem.


  25. #25
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    Question Re: smokers house

    Its even more important to inform the purchaser if his smell is compromised. There is the problem of off gassing, and I am not going to be the fall guy.

    But then again I don't live in Texas and come under the legal purview of the realestate fraternity.


  26. #26
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    Default Re: smokers house

    Absolutely report. Your personal opinion of whether it is important or not is irrelevant. You see it, smell it, hear it, report it.
    This question goes straight to the quality of inspection services being provided. Something like this is a potential major post purchase cost factor. Sure once the Seller moves all his junk out it will probably smell less. However, the house will probably smell really bad still. The room or rooms that were smoked in the most could easily need priming with Kilz and full painting. Doing that in a few rooms could easily cost a couple grand. That is money out of the buyers pocket that they may or may not have for such purchases. Additionally, their family situation may not work well with having contractors doing a bunch of painting. It is a situation that could make them reconsider the deal.
    The comment that they can smell it themselves so it isn't necessary to report is shortsighted and pathetic. A buyer has a lot going through their head looking at multiple houses. They may or may not remember a particular factor regardless of how important it is.

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  27. #27
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    Default Re: smokers house

    We had a new homeowner in town trying to sue the former owners, real estate agent, and home inspector for not disclosing the smell of cat urine, or evidence of, dont remember all the legal jargon and I was not involved. Not sure where the case went, but I think they got some money, not sure from who, but they had all the carpets removed and the subfloor was stained everywhere with urine. They had to replace some of the subfloor and the rest was sprayed and sealed. As I understand it, air fresheners were used while the house was for sale, but the smell of cat urine was unbearable when the hot days of summer hit, and, of course, after the buyers were living there.


  28. #28
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    Default Re: smokers house

    I say mention the odor! In California, smokers are rarer than other places. House that had a smoker's odor is rare here. Perhaps seller's or investors who do flips, probably do a better job of cleaning up houses. But also, I believe that buyer's also want cleaner houses here in CA, therefore I mention it.


  29. #29
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    Default Re: smokers house

    Although it's considered beyond the scope, I believe significant odors are air quality issues. I would include it in the report.


  30. #30
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    Default Re: smokers house

    There are times when a buyer is from out of town or that they had a limited time to check out the property. Also a seller may do some things to mask some odors during a showing, and your client didn't have a good whiff of the place. I think you need to make note of it. I can't see you getting in trouble for reporting it as long as you do it without interjecting anti-Smoking opinion into your report.

    It can be very expensive for a buyer, if they find that to get the smell out, or to an acceptable level(?) of stench....they have to replace carpet and repaint to get rid of a tobacco smell or cat urine.

    Odors are a very subjective thing. For the most part there is no meter that measures orders, Nor is an "acceptable stink level" listed in any code.(no substatute for your nose, use it like a tool).


  31. #31
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    Default Re: smokers house

    Indoor air quality assessment, room deodorizer in every room, cat odor, smokers house are all items that would require extra preparation before painting and can get quite expensive. I like the idea of reporting this in your environmental section of your report. Do any of you have any report narratives that you would like to share that would give the rest of us some ideas?


  32. #32
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    Default Re: smokers house

    What would be the downside of reporting it? You don't have to make a big deal of it, just state it. I had a Realtor ask me recently (in a negative tone), "do you report cosmetic issues?" I told him " Absolutely, in so far as they might affect the buyers pocketbook!"

    END GLOBAL WHINING

  33. #33
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    Default Re: smokers house

    I report stains on carpets. The attached pic is a house I did last week. The entire house smelled like urine. In my report, I recommended once the carpet and pad were removed, to paint the entire subfloor prior to installing new carpet - the reason? First time someone rents one of those carpet cleaners from the grocery store and thinks that it'll remove anything other than dust by going slow, which in turn, the water may reach the sub-floor and hit an old dried urine stain, reactivating it and reviving that "Old Cat Smell" through their "Newer Updated Carpet !

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