Tips for Selling a Home with Pets

Pets are full-fledged members of many families. Others, however, can’t imagine a life with pets at all. Even if you fall in the first category, when selling your home, you need to market to non-pet lovers, too. That’s why most home selling tips recommend sellers remove all traces of pets when showing their home.

Home Seller Tips for Pet Owners: Pre-Listing

Home selling tips suggest putting away personal items so prospective buyers can envision themselves in the home. This includes pets and pet gear as well.

Pack up toys, bedding or scratching posts the pets don’t use regularly. Gather remaining items into one area to make it easy to remove them quickly before an open house or showing. And if time doesn’t allow their removal, at least the items will be limited to one space and not strewn about the home.

It’s also important to remove or repair damage pets may have done to the home or yard. A thorough cleaning, perhaps by a professional service, can eliminate smells and fur initially. To keep the place clean and fresh afterwards, dust and vacuum at least once per day while the home is on the market (a robot vacuum will help here).

Even though you may be removing evidence of pets before each showing, it’s important to cut down on odors and dander that can build up when everyone is home. Scoop and/or change litter boxes regularly (immediately after use, when possible), and launder pet bedding frequently. If the pets sleep on the furniture, cover it with blankets you can easily remove before prospective buyers visit.

Surface level cleaning may not be enough. If pets have scratched or chewed on baseboards or doors, repair or replace them. If carpets or flooring is stained, be prepared to replace it as necessary – possibly down to the carpet padding.

Do not try to hide damage under rugs or furniture, lest you lose the trust of prospective buyers and their real estate agents. Have an honest discussion with your agent to determine whether offering a seller concession to replace flooring or other problem areas may be in your best interest.

Finally, look around the yard. If pets have dug up plants, created bare spots in the lawn, or chewed on the fence, make repairs just as you would indoors.

Home Seller Tips for Pet Owners: During a Showing

Gather up and remove pets and their items before an open house or showing if possible. Again, keeping items in one area of the home can make the process easier. From driving around with pets in their car to hanging out with pets at a friend’s house to boarding pets in a kennel, homeowners can find inventive ways to keep their pets away from home when needed.

If it’s not possible to remove pets from the home, provide a crate that will prevent pets from interfering with a showing while also ensuring prospective buyers will have access to the full house. Do not lock the cats in the spare bedroom for a showing! If needed, prepare crates for pets with clear instructions for visitors not to interact with them.

Also consider neighbors’ pets when selling. If a neighbor has a dog that barks or growls when visitors are near, ask them if they can keep the dog inside during an open house or buyer tour. You can also add white noise, such as a fountain, to cover the sound of barking.

Home Seller Tips for Pet Owners: A Modern Alternative

Since the pandemic, online showings have allowed more homes to sell without the need for open houses or in-person visits at all. If pets are a concern, a real estate agent can work with buyers and other agents to schedule more virtual than in-person showings.

Another option, particularly if pet damage is significant, is to prepare a virtual staging of the home. Digital technology allows designers to alter pictures of a home to show prospective buyers how the spaces will look with new paint, flooring, appliances or furniture.

Selling a home with pets may require the extra steps, but for owners everywhere, it’s worth the trouble. And when they’re in their new home, pets can retake their former positions in the household – often, as the ones in charge!

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