Thursday, September 30, 2010

Smoking and Foreclosures

Smoking and Foreclosures.
When I set out to find town homes to purchase, I never thought it would be a health hazard!
The Minnesota adult smoking rate is at an all-time low of 17% - significantly below the national average. Yet of the 5 town homes in or heading toward foreclosure that I recently inspected, 100% were or had been occupied by smokers. Including a beautiful unit I looked at when the owners were there, smoking, as I toured the property.
I realize its a small sample, but 100%? Versus the one town home I looked at recently that was NOT a short sale—and the owners didn't smoke.
Smoke gets into the air ducts, the carpet, stains the walls,etc and its not an easy thing to get out once its there.
The very noticeable effect of smoke on furnishings is its distinct odor that it cannot be removed by ordinary washings. No amount of household cleaning can ever completely remove the odor from fumes emitted by cigarette smoking.
Cigarette smoke fumes cling on to walls and permeate upholstery, draperies, clothes, and other furnishings. Cleaning them will only cleanse the surface but will not remove the deeply ingrained smoke particulates. This is where the damage brought about by long term cigarette and cigar smoking really is.
Sometimes, smoke particles can get inside open pores of walls especially during the hot summer months. Once these pores close in the cold months, the smoke gets trapped only to be released in the summer where the pores open again.
Possible reasons for a correlation between smoking and foreclosures? Average pack of cigarettes is $5.53 or $66 a month not going to house payment. Plus higher health insurance premiums.
Some foreclosures happen due to medical problems. Like the owner who was smoking when I inspected their unit. She had a stroke and could no longer work, the reason the home was headed to foreclosure.
When 83% of Minnesota adults don't smoke, I wouldn't consider purchasing a property that will only appeal to, at most, 17% of the market. As well as one that may have hidden property damage from the smoke that will increase my ownership costs. Not to mention not being able to enter a property without having breathing problems. I'm a yoga teacher: breath is the link between your body, mind and emotions. As well as what separates life from death.

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