One of the most sensitive questions faced by home (for sale) owners is “What to do about the pets?” Because less than 40 percent of households in the U.S. have a dog and only one-third has a cat, the presence of any pets in your home could turn off the majority of potential buyers.
Of course, you love your animals. But perhaps the best thing you can do to ensure a quick sale at top price is relocate feathered and furry family members while your home is on the market. Although some states require that you disclose that pets have lived in your home, that doesn’t mean you need to make it obvious that pets are in residence. Have a nearby friend or relative pet sit for a while or board them at a local kennel. And then remove all traces of their presence. Eliminating the unmistakable signs – and smells – of pets in your home is simply a smart practice.
If They Can Smell It, You Won’t Sell It!
Pet odors are mentioned among the top turn-offs by would-be home buyers. And without a doubt, cat urine is the worst offender. If your home has carpeting, you should have it professionally cleaned by a reputable company that uses natural scent-killing enzymes. All furniture should be cleaned too. If stains – and odors – cannot be removed from carpeting or upholstery, then replace it. If you must use a scented product to help mask any lingering odors, make sure it is very light and won’t bother those with perfume sensitivities or allergies. Natural scents are best: Think lavender, orange, or vanilla.
Clean and Odor-free Steps for Pets
If you absolutely cannot move your pets out of the house, or you just decide to dismiss professional advice and keep your pets at home, then the following steps will help to minimize any negative effects of their presence:
Dog Gone! (Keep Pets Away During Showings)
Arrange to have your pets off the property for showings. If buyers don’t see pets, they will look at your house more objectively. If they do see pets, they’ll be more inclined to look for stains and notice odors. Some buyers are very afraid of dogs and will refuse to view a home if one is present. And crating isn’t a great option as most dogs will bark while crated, especially with strangers present.
The Cat’s Away (Out of Sight and Out of the Buyer’s Mind)
Indoor cat litter boxes must be kept meticulously clean. If possible, crate your cats and remove the litterbox for showings. Keeping things tidy and odor free is a must. Nothing can turn off buyers faster than opening a door and being greeted by the smell of a full cat box. Remove all pet photos and pet toys as well.
Foor for Thought
Don’t forget to put the pet food away for showings too! Visitors to your home don’t know where you keep the food and water dishes for pets and could kick or trip over them. Avoid messy (and embarrassing) scenes with potential buyers. And whether you have carpets, hardwood floors or other surfaces they must be vacuumed or swept clean before every showing.
Remember, you know and love and cherish everything about your pets and have grown accustomed their sights and scents, but potential home buyers could be turned off by both and turn away from your home.
Lara Taylor – Realtor/Broker
Twitter – @AskForLara