Did you know over 40 million households in the United States have either a dog or cat within the home? That’s a lot of domesticated animals living in homes! That also means there are scores of people every year trying to sell a home with pets.
Certainly, our four-legged (or two-legged, for those who have birds) family members have a special place in the hearts those of us looking to sell our home. While many buyers may also have pets, when they shift their focus to a highly personal purchase – like buying a home – pets can become problematic to a real estate deal in several ways:
- Animals can become unpredictable, even nervous when strangers enter the home.
- Some people have a dog or cat phobia!
- Buyers may have pet allergies.
- Buyers do not have, nor do they intend to have pets.
However, there are simple solutions to achieving the best presentation of a home where pets have lived.
The first solutions is a temporary pet vacation. Making this happen is easy when you have dates set for open houses as opposed to the impromptu showing where a real estate agent has access to the lockbox on your house (e.g., you need to vacate the house as soon as possible).
When pets become agitated or frightened, there’s no guarantee how they will respond. Perhaps they’ve never bothered previous visitors; this is a different situation because you will not be there to calm them. What’s more, did you know you may be financially liable if a home shopper is harmed (dog bites, cat scratches) and decides to litigate? So, temporarily boarding pets is the first thing to consider.
Don’t like the idea of temporarily boarding your pets? You can also ask friends or family members to put up Fido or Fluffy for an afternoon.
If that won’t work, animal day care facilities and other short-term options are available in most cities, big and small. Think of it this way: it’s less costly to board them for a few hours than it is to lose a sale or get hit with a lawsuit due to a biting or scratching incident.
Repair Wear and Tear
As pet owners, we tend to overlook the wear and tear our furry, fuzzy, or feathered family members create in our homes. But, buyers seeing your home for the first time will notice! And they don’t have the same emotional attachment and forgiving attitude toward your pets. They’ll want a clean, uncluttered space that they can easily picture as their new home.
Does your dog like to dig holes in your yard? It’s time to fill them, and do whatever is required to make the property attractive to potential buyers. Inside your home, look for scratches and carpet tears. Sometimes replacing the carpet in small areas of your house might be required, depending on the amount of the damage. Placing an area or throw rug over the area for the showing is a quick fix, but the space underneath will still need to repair.
From a buyer’s perspective, wear and tear are unattractive and represent additional costs to make a home feel squared away. Home buyers typically require owners to fix any damages (big or small); this is likely to be one of the contingencies before closing escrow.
Clear the Air of Pet Odor
Pet odor can be a big turn off the people who look at your home. Remove kitty litter boxes for the showing. Make sure the property is free from droppings, too!
Get your listing agent, friends or neighbors to do a “smell check” after you’ve cleaned and removed pet toys, bedding, and food. Visitors should not detect the smell of wet dog or the kitty’s sandbox.
Home selling can be an emotionally charged process the people who come to view your house. Take some time to see (and smell) the home from the buyer’s perspective; it will give you a better vantage point for improving the likelihood of completing the sale. Creating a buyer-friendly atmosphere works to your benefit!