In addition to purchasing a fixer upper, I purchased my home from smokers. As a first time homeowner in a place where real estate was moving quickly, this was my best option. Removing the smoke smell was quite a task, but it is possible.
Smoke gets EVERYWHERE. It is in the walls, it is in the curtains, it is in the vents and it is in the carpets. It is really a two pronged effort – you want to reduce the short term smell while also completely removing it.
1) My biggest tip is to GET YOUR VENTS CLEANED. If possible, you can ask for that to be part of the condition of purchase. It’s a relatively easy and quick thing, plus you do not need to move your things into a home where they will sit in smokey conditions.
At a local place, this cost around $800 and was a half day process. It requires turning off heat / AC for the duration of the procedure. This involves removing all vent covers, then cleaning your vents centrally (through my attic) as well as each individual vent. They also washed the unit and replaced my air filter. The place I got mine done washed and painted my vent covers before replacing them!
2) Get your carpets professionally cleaned (though doing it yourself is probably possible). Most places will try to upsell you with deodorizer and protectants. I think the deodorizer is worth it in this case.
3) Smoke Odor Eliminator – available at Lowe’s (https://low.es/2IoFreV)
This is usually what’s used at hotels. At only $5 – good for furniture, curtains, etc. This is also helpful for pet odor (thinking about the litter box here) and for garbage cans. Personally, I thought it had a strong floral smell, so it was not unpleasant.
4) Candles – these can be bought from smoke shops or online!
Patchouli Smoke Odor Exterminator Candle – https://amzn.to/2jJKVmk
** Bonus tip** I’ve heard that there are carbon crystals, available at hardware supply stores, but I never could seem to find them. May be a promising alternative.
5) Washing your walls – short term solution if you plan to paint, also may be all you need if the color of the rooms is good.
6) Repainting – do not just paint over it. The smoke smell will just seep through. I recommend washing your walls, then using TSP. I have heard recommendations of using oil based primer to really get rid of the smoke smells. Personally, I washed my walls immediately after purchase, washed them again with TSP then used normal water-based primer and paint.
7) Wash the blinds and curtains, etc – Smoke gets everywhere. It makes a layer of grime.
Removing the smoke smell from your home is difficult, but not impossible. Hope these tried strategies help you in your quest!