Up in smoke: How lighting up indoors could bring down home values

Published: Mar. 4, 2020 at 7:04 PM MST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - “If we can smell it, we can’t sell it."

That’s what Madeline Freidman, a realtor with Long Realty, likes to say. She’s talking about lingering smoke scents, which can stick around long after residents move out.

Cigarette smoke can reduce a home price by nearly 30 percent, one study says, and removing the smell can be difficult, requiring a special treatment.

David Scott, owner of BioOne Tucson, sends his crews to homes around the area, as they spray and wipe every surface and clean vents to remove the smell of smoke. But cigarettes, he said, are not the only reason they’re called in.

“We see both cigarette and cannabis odor, and they’re treated the same way and do the same thing to the house,” Scott said.

When it comes to marijuana and home value, the research stinks.

You might have heard of the green rush in places like Colorado and California — home prices soared as people flocked to the legalized states. When it comes to living next to dispensaries, some realtors reported higher residential property values near grows, but more have seen a decrease in property value. However, most reported no change in property values at all.

“It’s very damaging to a seller to have a house placed on the market ... if it has an intense smell of some sort,” Freidman said.

Tony Landry smokes medical cannabis, he said after leaving the military with a back injury and a long addiction to opioids.

“It brought me a way of dealing with pain that’s not as addictive,” Landry said.

Smoking marijuana is one of his preferred ways to medicate.

“I don’t feel like it does, but someone who doesn’t consume cannabis would more than likely smell (it),” he said about lingering marijuana scent.

There is not much research on how a cannabis odor would impact a home’s bottom line, but in a recent study by the National Association of Realtors, about 50 percent of leasers found it wasn’t hard to re-lease a property after tenants smoked cannabis. Some states are seeing more addendums added to lease agreements prohibiting smoking of any kind.

“Legalization’s not going to go away,” Mike Robinette, executive director of the cannabis advocacy group Southern Arizona NORML, said. “It’s here to stay with 33 states with some form of legalization. You can’t put the genie back in the bottle.”

So, will toking up in your house lead to a lower price? Don’t count on the sell going up in smoke just yet.

But if you don’t want to risk it, Freidman said the best thing to do is try to make your home smell nice.

“Anything that smells clean and fresh works,” she said.

About 30 percent of realtors say they’ve had a hard time selling a property marijuana was grown in.

Copyright 2020 KOLD News 13. All rights reserved.