Selling Your Home When You Have Pets
There are several reasons why, as a pet owner, you need to take certain extra steps when selling your home. As an avid dog lover myself, I understand the attachment we have to our pets. However, if you are trying to get the most money for your home, as most sellers are, pets can negatively effect the value.
Believe it or not, many people are scared of even small animals. I personally had an experience where I was showing a home to my client and there was a cat in the home. There were no pet stains or smells in the home and it was very clean and well kept. The cat lived upstairs and was very friendly and well behaved, but my buyer did not even want to finish looking at the property after she noticed the cat lurking in the upstairs landing. She loved the home until the cat's presence was noticed, and she had so many preconceived notions about the home that were non-existent until she saw the cat residing there. Needless to say, this seller lost my clients potential offer just because the pet was in the home, and there are many people that feel the same way. As extreme as it may be, there are many buyers who refuse to look at properties with a pet in them because of very real fears about specific animals.
There are also people who are very allergic to animals (my father is deathly allergic to cats and a visit in a home in which a cat resides can put him in the hospital), and though they may not be scared of a particular animal, they will not be able to buy the home without some serious renovating to even a beautifully maintained home. This can create lower offers and longer days on market.
The best thing you can do while trying to sell your home is remove your pet from the property until the home has been sold. Put yout pet in boarding, have a family member or close friend take care of them, or put them in a pet hotel. Of course, this is not always possible and is merely a best case scenario. If you can, it is always great to remove your pet from the home while there is a showing. Sometimes, this is not possible either, and you will need to have the pet put away. Preferably, you will be able to put the pet out of sight and somewhere it cannot be heard. If you do not have an enclosure or carrier for your pet, you will want to invest in one because people will want to look in the utility room, garage, backyard, or any other rooms used to keep a pet.
You will also need to have the carpets professionally steam cleaned when you list the home to eliminate any odor that may be in the carpet. If your pet has urinated on the carpet you may have to replace the carpet and may have to have the concrete underneath scraped to get rid of any lingering smells. Walls may need to be scrubbed or painted with special odor masking paint (see KILZ website) and couches and furniture should be vacuumed and cleaned to get rid of extra hairs. Vacuum at least once a day and before every showing to ensure your home is in the best shape when a potential buyer comes to look for their new home.
You should also remove any sign you can that there is a pet in the home. Hide litter boxes or puppy pads, toys, accessories, food and water bowls, and anything else that indicates a pet lives in the home. You should clean your backyard of any pet droppings. Fill any holes your pet may have dug and manicure your lawn to remove traces of pets.
We love our animals, and enjoy sharing our home with them. Unfortunately, many buyers do not feel the same. Keep these steps in mind when selling your home and you will help the buyer see beyond your pets to the beautiful home underneath.