If you’re a pet owner and planning to sell your home, there are several steps you need to take to ensure that your house is presented in the best possible light for potential buyers. Over 60% of sellers are pet owners, but the signs of a pet living in the home are not often viewed as selling points by potential buyers.
Remove All Signs of Pets
The first step in preparing your home for sale is to remove all signs of your pets. This includes everything from kennels and crates to toys and water bowls. It might even be necessary to replace a dog or cat door before listing. Remember, buyers will look everywhere, so just tucking your pet’s belongings in a closet won’t cut it.
Prepare Your Marketing Materials
Ensure that your marketing materials are pet-free. Before having real estate photographs taken, make sure to remove all evidence of your pets. Also, avoid shooting photos of any pet damage, such as ripped window screens, chew marks, or torn up lawns.
Avoid Marketing the Home as Pet-Friendly
While pet owners might be excited to see a fully-fenced yard or a neighborhood dog park nearby, it’s best not to advertise your home as pet-friendly unless there are permanent structures on your property that can’t easily be removed. Pet-free buyers might avoid your property because they’re not interested in the pet-related amenities.
Repair Pet Damage
Over time, pets can cause damage to your home that you might overlook. Potential buyers, however, will view homes with a critical eye, and even small blemishes can make a buyer think you haven’t taken good care of the property. Before listing your house, be sure to repair any damage caused by your pets, both inside and outside the home.
Deep Clean the Home
Before listing your home, undertake a deep clean. This is particularly important if you have pets, as you’ll need to pay extra attention to getting rid of pet stains, pet hair, and pet odors.
Open House Etiquette
When preparing your home for an open house, remove personal items, including those belonging to your pets. It’s also best if neither you nor your pets are present for the open house. This allows potential buyers to feel more at home and makes it easier for the agent hosting the open house to provide access to the entire house, give tours, and answer questions.
Consider Your Pet’s Well-being
It’s essential to consider what is best for your pet during the home selling process. Changes in routine can be stressful for pets, and listing your home can significantly disrupt their daily schedule. If your pet shows signs of stress or anxiety, consult your veterinarian for guidance on how to help your pet cope with the changes.
One of the challenges of selling a home when you have pets is dealing with last-minute showings. While it’s ideal to have plenty of notice to prepare your home (and your pet) for potential buyers, that’s not always possible. Here are some strategies for handling these surprise situations:
1. Keep Your Home Show-Ready
Keeping your home clean and tidy at all times is the best way to be prepared for last-minute showings. This includes maintaining a pet-free appearance, even when you’re not expecting buyers. Make sure your pet’s toys, food dishes, and bedding are stored out of sight, and regularly clean to keep pet hair and odors to a minimum.
2. Have a Plan for Your Pet
If an agent springs a last-minute showing on you and you aren’t able to schedule alternate accommodations for your pet in time, there are a few options. You could keep your pet in a cage or kennel with a note left in a visible location instructing visitors to leave the pet alone. If you can’t get home to retrieve your pet before the tour, leave a cage or kennel for your agent, along with some treats so they have an easier time getting your pet to cooperate.
3. Create a Quick Clean-Up Routine
Have a routine in place for a quick clean-up when you get a call for a last-minute showing. This routine should include vacuuming to pick up any pet hair, spot-cleaning any visible stains or marks, and deodorizing to neutralize any pet odors.
4. Cultivate a Relationship with Nearby Neighbors
Cultivate good relationships with your neighbors so that in a pinch, you can ask them for help. They might be able to take your pet for a walk or even let them stay at their house for a while during the showing.
5. Don’t Hide Your Pet
It’s important not to attempt to hide a pet during a showing. Buyers will want to see your entire home, including closets, storage areas, and laundry rooms, so it’s best to make sure your pet is safely and comfortably housed in a kennel or cage if they have to stay in the home during the showing.
Selling your home when you have pets doesn’t have to be a daunting task. With thorough cleaning, careful staging, and some strategic planning, you can make the process smooth and successful. Remember, the goal is to make potential buyers feel at home, and with these tips, you’ll be well on your way to a successful home sale.
Q: Should I disclose that I have pets in my home?
A: While it’s not necessary to disclose that you have pets, it’s important to ensure your home is clean and free of pet odors and damage.
Q: Can pets negatively affect the home selling process?
A: Yes, pets can potentially deter buyers if there are lingering odors, visible damage, or if pets are present during home showings.
Q: How can I minimize the impact of pets on my home sale?
A: Clean thoroughly, repair any pet-related damage, minimize pet presence during showings, and depersonalize your home.