Selling your home when you have pets
By Agent Rebecca Johnson – Real Estate Sales Representative
Our pets are a part of the family. I totally get it. And everyone loves your family-friendly golden retriever, iguana, fish or parakeet! That is, until your home is for sale and a potential buyer walks in the front door. Then it can become a different story.
When you’re getting your home ready to sell, there are definitely a million things you’ve got on your To Do List. But so often, the family pet & how it can affect your sale is overlooked. Believe it or not, there are buyers out there that DON’T like animals at all. AT. ALL. And their existence in your home can be a deterrent to its sale. So the ultimate goal is to make Fluffy & Fido *disappear* as far as your buyers are concerned. For example,
Vaccuum, vaccuum, and vaccuum again. Suck up all the pet hair that lingers on beds, furniture, floors, countertops and anywhere else those tumbleweeds get to. It makes a BIG difference. Now is also a great time to change out your furnace filter that may be clogged with fur. And then KEEP your home vaccuumed regularly. This isn’t a “once & done” situation. You’ve got to maintain it in case you get a call that a buyer wants to see your home in 20 minutes!
Keep the litter box fresh. As the commercial says on tv, “You’ve Gone Nose Blind”. You may not realize it, but buyers can absolutely smell that litter box in the basement the second they step in the front door. Cat urine has an extremely strong ammonia scent to it that can affect your entire home. Keep scooping that litter box daily and replace all the litter regularly, whether you have one cat or twenty-one cats! Whatever you do, DON’T try to mask the scent with air fresheners. That becomes a weird combination of flowers and pee and it does NOT help sell your home!
Clean up accidents quickly. If you’ve got puppies or older pets, there will be some inevitable accidents on the floor. Clean them up immediately so they don’t get a chance to soak into carpets or wood flooring. If necessary, splurge for a steam-clean of your home’s rugs to ensure your pets aren’t leaving a record of where they’ve had an accident.
Pick up the landmines. Buyers will be walking around your yard to look at the house from different angles & perspectives. And nothing turns off a prospective buyer like stepping in a pile of poop in the grass. Pick up your dog’s “presents” on a daily basis to keep ahead of the game. Then you’ll be ready to go for those last-minute showings!
Put away unnecessary pet items. Little furry cat toys, bouncy rubber balls and chewed-up bones are all a part of pet ownership. Put these away when you’re going to have a showing. Tuck pet beds away in the corner, and clean up the food bowls. Make your pets the tidiest pets in town!
So now that your home is as fresh as a daisy and you’re feeling great about how clean everything is, it’s time to think about what to do with your furry friends when a buyer is coming for a showing. You want to make this as stress-free as possible for them, so consider the following:
– Take your pets with you when you leave while the buyers are looking around. What dog doesn’t love a car ride!
– Temporarily relocate the pets if you’re anticipating a lot of showings. This might be a good time to let your pets live at Grandma’s house, or even at the kennel, while you’re selling. By removing the pets, you avoid the risk of scary barking when the doorbell rings, or growling/hissing when people are looking around.
– If your pets absolutely can not be removed from the home for a showing, think about containing them. Put your dog in a crate with a blanket covering it up and a sign that says “Do Not Disturb”. Or put the cat in a storage room (not a principle room!) with a sign on the door indicating the cat is inside. This will make sure you’re not scaring buyers and you’re removing any potential of them biting and jumping. It also ensures that the pets don’t escape the house while the buyers are looking around (and it can happen, despite our best attempts!).
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with owning pets. They’re great companions and part of the family! But when selling your home, your house becomes a product that you’re trying to market to the largest audience as possible. And that includes people that aren’t into animals the way we are. So by taking these things into consideration, you greatly improve your chances of finding a great buyer that loves your home as much as you do!