Smoking cannabis at home compromises market value and marketability of real estate

how does cannabis smoke affect home sellers?

As Canada starts a brave new world with the legalization of cannabis, we have to remind all property owners about the dangers of residual smoke and its impact on market value.  Here are a few things to think about:

Most buyers aren’t smokers: Only about 20% of adult Canadians smoke tobacco and non-smokers are very sensitive to residual smoking odours and shun properties that exhibit a long term smoking habit.  We have had buyers enter properties for showings or open houses, who immediately turned around and left the property after smelling cigarette smoke.  These non-smokers will be equally not interested in a property with a heavy cannabis smoke residue.

Ambient odour often unknown to owners: As with many other household odours, the degree of smoke smell may be under appreciated or even unknown to those who live there every day, as one gets accustomed to it.

This is why buyers entering a property for the first time should “listen to their nose” upon first entering a property, as this is the best time to detect potentially out of bounds smells.  A damp basement is usually a giveaway from the first moment of entering, for example.  After a few minutes, however, our perception adjusts and the odour is not as prevalent at a cognitive level.

Hard to remove: Long term smoking in a property is not easily or inexpensively remedied and buyers will either walk away completely or very much de-value a potential property, to facilitate the remediation.

Growing personal marijuana: 4 plants per household should not create a major mould worry but will people stop with 4 plants? The “grow op” stigma created over the last few decades will be a tough one to shake and even if legal, we suggest those selling remove any and all plants and materials from their property prior to listing.  Why turn off even one buyer?

Don’t think it is OK to smoke in the garage: Many wisely smoke outdoors but just as many feel that smoking in the garage is OK.  Doesn’t help much with most buyers in our opinion, so smoke outdoors or better yet, not at all.  This applies equally to tobacco and cannabis.

Stigma remains: Hopefully, your neighbours are not big smokers, either-as this may scare away many buyers also.  Though this may fade as legalization moves forward, the stigma attached to cannabis smoke odour will impact sellers and buyers for some time.

Renters and medical marijuana users: These are two legal battlegrounds we can expect to see unfold in the coming months/years with legalization.  This will be an interesting challenge for both investor owners and corporate rental building owners and managers.

Gord McCormick, Broker of Record
Oasis Realty Brokerage
613-435-4692 oasisrealty@rogers.com
Ottawa, Ontario.

 

 

Know condo rules before listing

We recently ran in to an issue with a condo and a fairly cranky Property Manager.(at least initially) We had agreed with the seller that based on the location of the townhouse condo, it made good marketing sense to have 2 sets of “For Sale” signs; one right in front of the unit itself and the other at the entrance off the main road.

Immediate removal and repair of “damage”!
Little did we know that the condo had restrictions on where signage could be placed and both of our signs were inappropriate and required immediate removal or repositioning.
The condo limits the location of real estate signage to one small grassy area at the far end of the development from our listed property, so with the clients help we removed the incorrect signage and reinstalled the other one appropriately.

Why do condos have such rules?
The principal reason is to facilitate grass cutting, snow removal and other maintenance and perhaps cluttering up the common areas is an issue, too. (we would probably ban signage altogether but that is a topic for another day)

Mea culpa:
The Property Manager was 100% correct in saying that we either should have known or should have checked prior to installing our signs, so this is a good tip for both sellers and realtors when listing condos. Though not justification, in our defence:  the seller was a new owner who had just purchased the property for renovation and resale purposes and we had not listed a property in this complex for some time, if ever.

Also, we had seen at least one other sign in place in front of another unit listed when our client originally purchased the property, so perhaps that influenced our thinking.

Other condo restrictions:
Lockboxes:
Placement and duration of lockboxes at condo apartment complexes is an ongoing issue for property managers and realtors alike. Take a look around at the proliferation of lockboxes on railings near condo entrances in larger complexes and just think: what could go wrong?

Parking restrictions:
there may be parking limitations or restrictions that make it difficult for realtor showings and open houses

Security matters:
security may also play a role in limiting access, particularly for open houses, as some condos require visitors to be escorted, once inside the building.

Open Houses and signage:
there may be specific regulations aimed at Open Houses and open house signage which owners and realtors should know and support.

In building marketing or posting of flyers or promotional material:
I have seen marketing information posted on condo bulletin boards and also seen flyers dropped outside unit doors. Most condos will have some kind of guidelines for such practices.

Every condo is different:
Also remember that every condo is different and may have varying rules and restrictions, depending on ownership and Board wishes.

A word about property and building managers:
Property managers and in-building managers are very important resources for condo owners and realtors alike. They can be invaluable assets and sources of information and provide critical services, so it is always best to have a good relationship with them.  So do everyone a favour and make sure to check out all condo rules, policies and procedures to facilitate the listing, marketing and sale of your condo property.

Gord McCormick, Broker of Record
Dawn Davey, Broker
Oasis Realty Brokerage
oasisrealty@rogers.com
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