You’re ready to sell your home. You’ve found an agent to assist you. You’ve cleaned, polished, washed, painted, planted, de-cluttered, and depersonalized. You’ve done everything to prepare your home for prospective buyers. But what about Fido and Fluffy?
Pets can be a real challenge when selling your home. Many pet owners work during the day and can’t be home to take the dog for a walk or shoo the cat outside. Having strangers in their home—especially when their owners are away—can be stressful and frightening to a pet and their behavior can become unpredictable. Keeping the dog crated might seem like a good idea, but having a dog barking at buyers during a showing is distracting. You don’t want your home to be remembered as “the one with the dog in the crate.” While sending pets away to board or to live elsewhere temporarily is perhaps the ideal solution, it is rarely a feasible option. So what is a pet loving seller to do?
There are certain concessions and changes in behavior a seller has to make when their home is on the market. As a pet owner, look at adding a few extra things to that daily checklist before you head out the door to work.
Smells A huge turn off to prospective buyers is smell and, let’s be honest, pets sometimes smell like… pets. Treat your pet to some new bedding that is machine washable. If the bed can be disguised behind or beneath a piece of furniture, even better. A bed that is out of sight and washed frequently will also be out of a buyer’s mind. Keep pets bathed and groomed more often than usual, so as not to add to existing pet odor. In homes with cats, concealing the litter box is a great idea in addition to adopting a meticulous scooping routine. Also try letting some fresh air in. A closed in home will hold more odors so open the windows.
Stains As soon as a prospective buyer realizes you have pets, they are likely going to start looking for stains. Stains suggest the home has not been well maintained overall and limit the possibility of a high offer. Stains don’t have to be permanent. Many companies offer products for heavy duty stain removal and odor control you can . Considering hiring a professional to clean your carpets or furniture to remove any stains and odors.
Vaccuming When you have pets, it’s a good idea to vacuum daily while your home is on the market. Look for a non-perfumed deodorizer you can use when vacuuming and change the bag more frequently than usual. Even if the carpets have been professionally cleaned, frequent vacuuming will cut down on the amount of odors, pet hair, and pet dander floating around your home, potentially deterring buyers with allergies or just sensitive noses. Plus, a freshly vacuumed home suggests to buyers that the entire home is well maintained.
Another approach to consider is how you can actually incorporate your pets into the staging of your home. This doesn’t mean you should leave the rawhide bones and pouches of catnip lying around, but there are ways to embrace your pet as a part of what makes your home cozy and inviting for the right buyer’s family. “Styled, Staged, and Sold” blogger Melissa Dittman Tracey did just that when she sold her last home. In the post Can You Stage the Household Dog?, she discussed how she came up with a pet-friendly staging plan. Tracey included a pet specific talking point sign at the home’s entrance which included a welcome message, a photo of the dogs, what their names were and their secure location in the home. Tracey also made sure the dogs were in an out-of-the-way room, situated behind a pet gate, and included another talking point sign by the door of that room. She even dressed up her smaller breed dogs in matching sweaters in case viewers wanted to peek into the room– for some pooches this may be taking things a bit far, but it’s definitely a whimsical touch. The bottom line for this life situation is maintaining a warm, secure, safe environment for both pets and visiting buyers when the home is on the market.