7 Must-Know Tips for Home Selling with Pets

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Home selling with pets article with brown kitty dark brown stripes and green eyes

Selling your home with pets is a challenge. When you have furry, feathery, or scaly friends, you’re going to have to figure out how to manage the sale around them.

If you’re an animal owner keep reading. If not, be sure to share this article with someone who is! These tips will make your house sell faster and for more money. Not following them will certainly cost you, whether it’s in time or profit.

1. Clean. Clean. Clean.

Your house has to be as clean as humanly possible. Pets can create allergies so excessive pet hair will make some home buyers run the other way.

This might not be easy but you must do the following to get your home sold:

Clean the cat box daily; not only for the appearance but also for the smell.

I say daily or constantly because these things have a smell that will linger. So if you only clean the cat box occasionally, the house is going to be more likely to smell. I get it. I have a cat that has to take steroids for her breathing condition.  They make her use the cat box many, many times a day. It’s a job to keep it clean.  But making the extra effort will keep buyers happy and your furry friend more healthy and happy too.

The fish tank has to be clear, clean, and healthy looking. Fish and creature tanks are a sure draw for people to check out. Their curiosity may make them wish they hadn’t stopped to look.

The cages for scaly pets have to be spotless with clean food and water dishes, and fresh bedding.

Dog doo in the yard also needs to be picked up constantly. A buyer stepping in poop while they check out the backyard is going to be a bad memory. And they’ll share with their friends and family.

Home buyers have ways of reminding themselves which house is which. You don’t want anyone telling their friends, “Oh, yeah, that was the house where I stepped in poop.”

2. The danger of pet smells.

Along with being ultra clean, you’ll need to be aware of the smells created by pets. You may not notice anymore. But homebuyers are super sensitive to smells – even subtle ones. Cat boxes, bearded dragon cages, and dirty fish tanks will turn buyers away instantly. So beyond keeping everything clean, open the windows and let the house air out regularly. Do not use air deodorizers, candles, essential oil diffusers, or incense. You may not notice those smells anymore.  But people can be highly sensitive and will simply walk out if their noses are offended.

If your house is fully carpeted cleaning the carpets may not be enough. Smells and stains can come back quickly. Consider replacing the carpet or getting new hardscape flooring like luxury vinyl.

3. Keep showing options open.

If you require 24-hour appointments to allow you to round up the pets you’re going to annoy prospective buyers.  Try to be as amenable as you can in setting up showing times.

A 24-hour delay is easy especially when you start thinking about all the cleaning you need to do before you leave the house. But homebuyers are busy too. Just think: the faster the house sells, the fewer times you’re going to have to make accommodations for visitors.

4. Take the dog for a walk or a ride in the car but don’t leave him at home.

Believe it or not, there are people who don’t like dogs. Ridiculous, right? Well, they may love them but don’t want to step around them and their stuff when looking around the house. So have a plan for what you’re going to do during showings.

If you’re thinking you can put the dog in the garage or backyard, don’t do it. Closing off spaces during the showing brings up more questions. The buyers will have to come back when the whole house is available to see. They may decide it’s not worth the time and hassle it took to get the appointment in the first place. In the meantime, it will stop you from getting an offer on your house. So take the pups with you. And be sure to hide away their beds, bowls, and half-chewed toys. Don’t let the possibility of a buyer tripping or kicking the water bowl leave them with a bad impression of your house.

If there’s any possibility – even remote – that your dog might bite someone, don’t take a chance. Even friendly, loving dogs can get scared, intimidated, or even more bold than usual and give a stranger a nip.

5. Open houses may not work for you.

Consider whether or not they’ll work for your situation.

Open houses make it convenient for more people to get in to see the house It’s easier than having to make a lot of separate appointments. However, if you have a cat that’s going to try to dart out of the house all afternoon, it might not work for you. If you can stand listening to your cat scream in the car while you go to drop her off at kitty camp for the afternoon, that would be a better option than making your realtor too scared to open the door for people to come in.

6. Prepare your house beforehand.

In preparing your house for sale prior to going on the market look around to see what needs to be done to make the pets invisible. I’ve been in plenty of houses where there’s a dirt line at about 2.5 feet above the floor where the dogs brush up against the wall every time they walk by. Chewed and scratched doors and door frames, scratched floors, stained carpets, brown spots in the lawn, and holes in the yard all should be addressed before putting your house up for sale.

7. Temporarily relocate.

As you’re packing, cleaning, and organizing your pets are going to be reactive. Possibly scared, certainly curious, about what’s happening. If you’ve got an older pet this process could be too disruptive to their daily life. If the option is available you could consider relocating them to a friend or family member’s home where they’re comfortable and familiar with the surroundings.

When people look at houses, they’re also looking at you. That’s why we suggest you “de-personalize” your home. We don’t want people spending more time looking at your family photo tree on the wall than looking at the house. They’re also going to judge you by how clean your house is and how well taken care of your pets are. Pet lovers can’t help it. We’re judgy kind of people when it comes to pet happiness and care. You don’t want a dirty cage to be at the top of the list when it comes to remembering which houses they liked and didn’t like.

The above real estate information, 7 MUST-KNOW TIPS FOR SELLING YOUR HOME WHEN YOU HAVE PETS was provided by Vicki Moore, a realtor specializing in home sales from Pacifica to Pescadero, including greater San Mateo County.

If you’d like to read more about buying a home or selling a home, you’ll find many articles on my blog.

Vicki can be reached via email at vicki@callvicki.com or by phone at 650-888-9268. Vicki has helped people move in and out of many San Mateo County homes for the last 25+ Years.

Are you thinking of making a move? I have a passion for real estate and love to talk about it! I service real estate sales in most San Mateo County cities and towns.

Let’s talk about your real estate goals today!

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