Showing Your Home When You Have Pets

Selling a home when you have pets can be a challenge if you don’t work out the details with your Realtor (hopefully me). Many home buyers, even those with pets of their own, can be put off by yours.

Pets Will Make Visitors Nervous

No one thinks of their own pet as scary. But even the mildest mannered cat or dog (not to mention birds or farm animals) will make a visitor a little nervous. Remember that a potential buyer, and their posse, will explore the property (hopefully in a group with the Realtor). This includes out buildings, pens, garages, and stables. Simply relocating or hiding the pets out of the main structure will not get the desired effect. They will be found and may scare or bite the visitors.

Perhaps the most common response from a home seller about the “threat” posed by their pet is denial: “ Puffy is a sweetheart, she won’t hurt anyone” or, “she only looks dangerous”. My own dogs, Lucy and Odie are lovable to us but, tend to freak out our guests.

But no owner can be certain of how a pet will respond when strangers enter the home in their absence. Additionally, your pets may react adversely to a perfume or new sound. An unexpected reaction could frighten potential buyers away before they’ve even completed the walk through. Worse, your pet may assault the potential buyer. Then you have a potential legal issue.

Ask Friends for Help

The safest course of action is to remove a pet from the home while it is listed for sale. Ask friends or family members to care for the pet, or board it at a nearby facility. If this is not possible, and it probably won’t be, put your pet into a carrier or cage during showings. Insist that your listing agent properly codes the MLS page to indicate that pets are in the home, where they’re located on the property, and that visitors should beware not to disturb it. Make certain that this is accomplished as a pet attack is your responsibility.

Remove Stains and Odors

Buyers frequently take issue with a pet’s impact on the cleanliness and condition of the home. Pet stains, odors and damage are a big turn-off (especially to me) and can significantly decrease your home’s market value and increase marketing time. When several similar homes are competing for attention, the pet damaged, stinky home will lose-out or, am I wrong?

To help your home bring the highest possible price, remove stains and repair any damage your pet may have caused. Consider having your home professionally cleaned and deodorized, and have a friend or family member verify that your home doesn’t have an objectionable odor. It may sound funny but, we adjust to stinky smells. Someone from outside your home needs to provide feedback. Keep in mind that any urine on the carpet has probably soaked through to the pad. If so, the smell is tougher to neutralize. If repair funds are limited (like in most cases), ask your Realtor to prioritize the repair issues. Something is better than nothing.

The goal

To create a positive first impression with potential buyers. Sell your home in the quickest possible time at the highest possible point. Doing so is better for you and your pet(s).


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