How to Sell Your Home When You Have Pets

Your furry family members can be off-putting to buyers – here’s what you need to do

While some homeowners have strict outside-only pet rules, most allow their animals inside their homes and their pets are considered as part of the family. If you are selling a home with pets, it is very likely that you’ll need to do some serious housecleaning and possibly some repair work before you list your home.

Love is blind, and that cat fur embedded in the carpets, the litterbox, the hole in the wall chewed by your dog are all things that can easily be overlooked when your pet is your best friend. However, just because you’re able to turn a blind eye, it does not mean every home-buyer will be as forgiving. Home sellers who adore their pets (me included) can have a hard time imagining the negative attitudes that others have towards their pets. Nevertheless, if you truly want to receive top dollar for your house, make sure to follow these top tips and notes for selling a home with pets by reading this article.

Why Don't Home Buyers Like Your Pet?

Don’t take it personally – it’s not you, it’s them! To make sure that you’re fully on board with our tips, here are some reasons why home buyers may not like your pet:

Nervousness: Pets make some people uncomfortable because pets are not always predictable. Keep in mind that a lot of people may have not grown up with a family pet and are inexperienced being around animals.

Fear (both real and irrational): If someone has had a bad experience with a pet in the past then his or her first reaction to seeing a pet will be fear. Regardless of whether the home buyer has a rational or irrational fear, you never want them to feel afraid when they come to your house… it’s just not good for a top-dollar sale.

Your pets aren’t their pets: Most pet owners, including potential buyers who have their own pets, thinks their pets are perfect but have a false illusion that yours will bark, scratch, snap, bite and so on. Like we said, love is blind!

Allergies: A number of people are allergic to dogs and cats, and having them around – or even just their residual fur – may set off the sneezing and coughing in a potential buyer. They’ll be out of the showing before they can fall in love with your home.

Overcoming the Problems

So, how do you overcome all those negatives associated with your pets and ensure that buyers will focus only on the great things about your home? Minimize the objections and nuisance factors, real or otherwise, by paying attention to the following tips and tricks:

Temporarily relocate your pets: The best way to ensure that you receive the highest price for your home is to relocate your pet while you are on the market. If your pet can only be relocated for a short period of time, try to have them away from the time that you first list the property until you have an accepted offer that is firm. For the best results, consider one of the following options for your best bud(s):

• Send them on a vacation to hang out with your friend or relative.

• Board them at a kennel.

• Bring them to work with you.

• Move out first, and take your pets with you.

In the case that your pet cannot be relocated for an extended period of time, then at the very least it is best to make sure that they are not present at the showings and open houses.

Repair any damage: Where there are pets, there is typically house damage. If your pet has stained a carpet, chewed through your wall, scratched your doors, or damaged the home in any way, it is extremely important that the damage is repaired prior to showing your home. If buyers see something that’s damaged and related to a pet, they’ll start looking for or assume there are other issues somewhere else in the home. While it may be a costly upfront investment to ensure that everything is in top shape, the value that you will get for your house will be well worth paying for the repairs.

Clean up poop in the yard: Make it your mission to clean up all the poop in the yard before every showing and open house (or better yet, at soon as the deed is done!). There aren’t very many things that will make a worst first impression than stepping in dog poop as you’re checking out a back yard! Furthermore, don’t forget to do this once more right before you handover the keys and move out.

Remove carpet and floor pet stains: If your carpet is really beat up, you may want to consider replacing your flooring. In the case that you’ve thought of switching over to hardwood flooring anyways, now may be the time to do it! At the very least, make sure that your carpets are professionally cleaned prior to listing to ensure that the stains are taken out to the best of your ability. A steam-clean can do wonders, and your clean will more than pay for itself in the perceived value of your property.

Tuck away dog and pet accoutrements: Just because you have a pet doesn’t mean that you need to advertise this fact to the home-buying world. Try and follow these simple steps to putting all the “stuff”’ away to ensure that you have an image of clean throughout your home:

• Put away food and water bowls.

• Hide away any pet rags.

• Pick up pet toys and put them away.

• Pack up cat trees and scratching posts.

• Pack up all cages, carriers, etc.

• Clean up their fur and vacuum thoroughly.

• Pro tip: If you live in a large home, try restricting your pet’s access to only a portion of the house to reduce the number of rooms you need to thoroughly clean on a regular basis while your home is on the market.

Try to mask smells: Ever seen or heard that Febreze commercial where they talk about going “nose blind” to the odours in your house? As humans, our senses can adapt so well that it is easy to get accustomed to a strong pet smell over time. Before listing your home for sale you should give it a thorough clean from top to bottom and eliminate anything that gives out any pet-related odour. Start with this list:

• Thoroughly wash the floors.

• Have your carpets cleaned.

• Feed dry food instead of canned (the smell lingers longer than you realize).

• If your dog has a pee rug, dispose of it.

• Throw out old stuffie toys.

• Put away dog and cat beds.

• The litter box – enough said.

If you’re still unsure about the smell after all of your efforts, bring in a neighbour for a smell check!

Preparing your home to show for sales is always a lot of work, but especially if you are selling a home with your pets. However, your efforts to keep your property as clean and presentable as possible will pay off, in your time on the market and your sales price.

Putting in effort by following the tips above when preparing your home for sale will ensure that buyers are confident in the quality of your home, which will boost the likelihood of a multiple-offer scenario.

Article by Mariko Baerg