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How to Sell a House Where Pets Live

Almost everybody loves pets except the home buyer who is buying your house. Don't ask why, but that's often how it works out. Home sellers who adore their pets have a hard time imagining the negative attitudes others harbor against pets.

Why Don't Home Buyers Like Your Pet? 

  • Nervousness. Pets make some people very uncomfortable. Not everybody grew up with a family pet or enjoys outings at the zoo. Fur and four legs does not a human make.
  • Allergies!
  • Fear. Real and irrational. It's not only dogs that instill fear in people. All kinds of silly wives' tales and superstitions involve cats.
  • Inexperience. Pets are not always predictable.
  • Your pets aren't their pets. They imagine yours bite, jump, vomit, claw, spit-up hairballs or are just plain hyper and bad.

#1 Preferred Pet Solution

You're not going to like this but we'll say it anyway, fully realizing that this very excellent piece of advice is likely to fall on deaf ears. The best thing to do to ensure top price for your home is to relocate your pets while your home is on the market. Putting them in the back yard, in the garage or in another room that you keep locked is insufficient, and it's not fair to them. You need to remove them from the house.

  • Let a friend or relative care for Fluffy and Spike.
  • Board them at a kennel.
  • Send them on vacation.

Overcoming Negatives Associated with Your Pets

If you shrug off all professional advice and absolutely refuse to move your pets out of the house, then at least minimize the objections and nuisance factors, real or otherwise: 

  • Cat Litter Boxes & Dog Potty Pads

    Keep them out of sight and impeccably clean. Nothing turns off buyers faster than opening the door to the laundry room and being greeted by a full or stinky cat box. 

  • Carpet & Floor Pet Stains

    Hire professionals to remove the stains. Buyers will spot them and form unfavorable opinions about the rest of the house. If the stains can't be removed, then remove the floor covering and replace it. 

  • Pet Odors and Smells
    1. Cat urine is the worst. Without question. The. Worst. Bring in a neighbor to do a whiff test.
    2. Do not use air fresheners. People with allergies will react.
    3. Try enzyme cleaners.

Remove Signs of a Pet

You may decide to keep your pets at home while your house is for sale, but you don't need to advertise that pets live at your house. Removing signs that you have a pet is simply smart practice. Why turn off a buyer at the get-go? It's those first impressions that are so all-fired important. 

  • Do not put photos online showing your cat asleep on the bed
  • Seal up doggie doors 
  • Put away food and water bowls when not in use
  • Vacuum religiously, every day, sometimes twice a day
  • Pick up pet toys and put them away
  • Pack up cat trees and other signs of cat paraphernalia (you know who you are)
  • Remove photos of pets from refrigerator, walls and table tops
  • Pack up all cages, carriers and other tell-tale signs

 Click here for more info on Moving with Pets

Showing a home where pets live.

You have made the decision. The "For Sale" sign has gone up and the house has never looked better!  For a brief moment, you think "the place looks so good, why are we doing this?"  But then you remember the dreams of the extra bedroom or the bigger backyard and you forge ahead. 

But what about your pets?

Of course, we have recommended that your remove the pets from your home while it is for sale, but we know that that is not going to happen for most people so here are some tips to try to minimize the stress in your pets life:

1. Remove your pet from the home during showings.  It can be very stressful to your pets to have strangers wandering around your home, particularly when you are not there.  Take your dog for a walk during showings.  This is better for the dog and better for the potential buyers who are trying to view your home.

2.  Secure your pet in a carrier or enclosure if it is not possible to remove them.  This will ensure the safety and security of your pets and the safety of potential home buyers.  A stressed pet may lash out at a stranger!  Also, with people coming and going, you run the risk of your pet escaping the home. Many a rescue mission has had to be staged to retrieve an escapee while doing a showing or an open house!

3.  Give your pet lots of love and attention during this stressful time.  As busy as you are with your life and the added stress of having your home on the market, try to take some time for an extra walk or some cuddles, to reassure your pet.


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