Selling your home with pets
“Does my house smell like my dogs?” Surely if you have pets you’ve asked good friends this question before, even though it might be tough to hear the truth.
And if you have a house full of pets, and are trying to sell your home, the situation gets even, let’s say, smellier, because while you want to show your home at its best, you also care about your pets. After all, they’re part of the family, too.
Don’t worry. Pet lovers successfully sell their homes all the time, while keeping pets safe and happy. Here are 7 tips you to help you do the same.
1) Spend time deodorizing and deep cleaning. Rather than just lighting a bunch of scented candles, use products that neutralize smells. You can liberally spread baking soda all over your carpet and furniture and then vacuum up after it’s had the chance to sit overnight. If that doesn’t do the trick, consider getting your carpets professionally cleaned. Don’t forget to replace your air filters, too.
Make sure to deep clean every area that your pet loves to frequent. Don’t overlook hard-hit areas like your baseboards and by floor vents, too. Steam clean all hard surfaces and launder any pillows, blankets, comforters or curtains that might harbor any smelly scents.
2) Make your listing agent and anyone else involved in the sale of your home (repair people, inspectors, etc.) aware you have pets, and where they hang out. Introduce them, if you can, to tone down any “stranger danger” instinct, and to make sure everyone becomes friends, or at least acquaintances.
3) Remember that some people have pet allergies, and those people could be coming to see your house. So disclose the fact that pets are or have been in the home. Try to keep floors and upholstery vacuumed and surfaces clean to minimize a bad reaction (literally) to your home.
4) If you have a showing or open house, escape with your pooches for a car ride, a good walk, or to doggy day care if that’s their thing. Cats can be confined for a short time, and small pets and birds simply kept in their very clean abodes.
5) If you can’t take your pets out of the house during a showing or open house, make sure the household dogs have a sheltered place, or, if they are crate trained, you’ve got it made! Not everyone likes animals, and will appreciate a “Pets in here” sign on a closed door instead of being surprised by a nervous dog, a cat flying by, claws out.
6) If you live with pets, you must take an objective look at all their stuff. Pick up toys, bones, half-chewed rawhides, and those little realistic looking mice your kitty probably loves, but house hunters won’t. Hide away food and water bowls, and keep beds washed and put away for the day. Keep litter boxes clean, scooped and out of sight. Keep bird, hamster or other pet cages fresh with new shavings and paper. Skim the fish bowl or aquarium.
7) Even if you completely rid your home of any pet scents, forgetting to repair pet damage is a turn off to potential buyers. Fix any scratches found in flooring, door frames or trim work. If your floors are past the point of repair and you don’t have the budget to replace, talk to your realtor about offering a flooring credit to buyers.
Now back to that honest friend. Or your Realtor®. Does your house smell like your pets? Are they out of sight, but not out of mind? Get an objective, honest assessment, and take steps to remedy any pet issues before your next showing. Always let your agent know any special circumstances or situations concerning your pets. With a little extra effort, your pets can stay safe and happy, and your house can get sold!