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I am looking a two-storey house in which the current owners have smoked hookah for a number of years, and the interior has a strong smell.

What kind of repairs would need to be done to restore the house into a normal condition? I've read that cigarette smoke can require replacing walls, ceilings and to remove the lingering smoke particles and tar. I know that hookah uses water for filtering, and the result is more of a vapor. Would it do the same type of damage as smoke?

I've only found sources discussing cigarette smoke and its effect on property value, but nothing about smoke. Does anyone have first-hand experience in dealing with this, or know of any resources?

  • Do you have any pictures that could show any damage in particular, or issues that would like specific recommendations on? – J Crosby Jul 2 at 20:35
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My perspective is that the issue with cigarette smoke is the discoloration and the smell. Both aspects are present in this property, so similar treatment is appropriate. (Which is basically a coat of sealing paint, and replacing everything that can't be painted over or thoroughly cleaned.)

It is possible that easier methods are available, and it might pay to try various cleaning products on the walls to see if you can get lucky, but assume you'll need cigarette-level treatment, and price that into your offer.

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Hookah smoke is still tobacco smoke, just cooled far more than a cigarette or cigar.

You'll need to treat it similarly to other tobacco products.

  • This usually requires washing all painted surfaces with a TSP (trisodium phosphate) mixture in water (follow instructions on box for mixture ratio). I would use this mixture on cabinets and any finished woodwork too, but test in an inconspicuous area before continuing.
  • Prime all painted areas (walls, ceiling) to seal in any remaining tar or smoke damage.
  • Repaint all painted areas your choice of colors.

If the smell still lingers, and there is carpeting, I would also replace the carpeting.

As user3757614 stated, you should factor the costs of this work into your offer.

As a side thought, are you certain the odor is caused by hookah smoke? It could also be caused in part by strong spices and oils used for cooking. The above methods would also be applicable in this case.

  • Thanks for your insight. The hookah is an assumption, but I'm familiar with spice smell, which is not a problem in my experience. The hookah was visible and the agent said the owners used the hookah for a number of years. – dexgecko Jul 5 at 2:33

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