Clients who smoke - where do you draw the line with restrictions and common courtesy?

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Real Estate Broker/Owner with Van West Realty - Greenville, SC Realtor -Short Sale Expert!
I do not smoke. 2nd hand smoke literally hurts my lungs and burns my sinuses. So, when some recent buyer clients who chain smoked wanted to go out looking at houses I was immediately concerned about their smoking habit. Their clothing smelled like an ashtray. Their smoker's breath was equally potent. I didn't wish to offend them or come across as unusually restrictive on the topic, but I simply could not allow them to ride in my vehicle. This would have left an unpleasant odor in the vehicle and my wife and kids would also have to endure the odor the next time we all went out together. As a non-smoker, I want to be respectful and accommodating to those that do choose to smoke, but at the end of the day, my vehicle is my mobile office during the day and my family vehicle on the evenings and weekends. 
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Rainmaker
997,090
Karen Anne Stone
New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County - Fort Worth, TX
Fort Worth Real Estate

Kirk:  Actually, I think you had every right to not allow them to ride in your car.  I would have insisted that they drive in their own car... or I would not show them homes.  And... I would be firm on this.  Take care...

Mar 17, 2008 12:22 AM #1
Rainer
139,470
Harold "Hal" Place
A1 Connection Realty, Inc. - Sun City Center, FL

Hi Kirk,

I agree with Karen, I would have suggested they drive their own vehicle and follow me to the homes they wanted to preview. If that wasn't acceptable I would refer them to another willing Agent.

How did you handle the situation?

Hal

Mar 17, 2008 12:33 AM #2
Rainmaker
164,538
Christine Hart Howlett
Painesville and Eastern Lake County - Painesville, OH
Keller Williams Greater Cleveland NE

I completely agree with Karen.  Asking them to drive in their own cars is a viable solution.  Kirk, aside from all the reasons you mention for NOT having them ride in your car, there is also the issue of deflating the value of your car. Once a vehicle has that odor, a non-smoker is never going to buy it.

Mar 17, 2008 12:44 AM #3
Rainer
30,845
Johnny Huang
Pleasant Hill, CA
Insurance and Real Estate Broker

But your in tobacco country! I drove past SC and first thing I smelled through my window...tobacco! :-)

Anyways, yes, you don't have to put up with it. Let them chain smoke in their own car and lead with your own.

Mar 17, 2008 12:55 AM #4
Rainmaker
462,407
Alex Charfen
Charfen Institute - Austin, TX

Welcome to Active Rain Kirk.  I may have unleashed a blogging monster!

Alex Charfen
www.1cdpe.com
www.charfenteam.com

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Mar 17, 2008 05:53 AM #5
Rainmaker
997,090
Karen Anne Stone
New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County - Fort Worth, TX
Fort Worth Real Estate
Johnny:  With it being tobacco country, there probably are an abundance of lung cancer clinics around, too.  Ahhh... another source of listings.  Oooh... cold... very cold.
Mar 20, 2008 12:26 AM #6
Anonymous
Anonymous

Hi Kirk,

I'm playing catch up here and just starting to blog but this subject caught my eye.  I have handled the situation in the past by being a little more oblique or shall I say diplomatic than Karen.  I just suggested to the buyers in question that we should take 2 cars since I had another appointment scheduled for immediately after their showing.  If it turned out that they wanted to write an offer, of course I had a blank purchase offer package in my car and we could write it at the house.  That way, they did not feel attacked about their smoking and it suggested that they might be ready to write the offer as soon as they saw the house.  Never hurts to ask for the sale.  As a former smoker, I know how being asked not to smoke somewhere can feel like a personal attack and make you want to turn around an walk out.  Hopw that helps.

Pam

P.S.  Thank for posting to my blog too.

Oct 13, 2008 12:02 PM #7
Anonymous
Anonymous

Oops, looks like I need to use spell check on these things.  :-(

Pam

Oct 13, 2008 12:03 PM #8
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Kirk Westervelt

Kirk Westervelt, Broker In Charge, Van West Realty - CDPE - Short Sale Agent - Home for Sale - Greenville, Simpsonville, SC
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