Best Practices for Selling a Home with Pets
According to the American Pet Products Association survey taken in 2018, 68% of households have at least one pet. People love their pets. That same APPA survey found that those millions of pet owners spent billions of dollars to prove it, $72.13 billion give or take a couple of mils. That’s a lot of puppy chow and catnip!
Many pet owners consider their fuzzy wards children, and often refer to them as “fur babies.” Being a dog owner, I understand completely. Our Doodle is an integral part of our family, and we all love him. However, when the time arrives to sell your home, beloved pets can present logistic problems. As much as I hate to have to say it, there are times that pets can present issues that sellers must resolve before listing the property.
The Challenges of Selling a Home with Pets
Some of the issues sellers faces when they have pets include:
- funky smells and odors
- what to do with pets during showings
- keeping the home free of fur
- maintaining cleanliness in pet areas
- making sure pets with aggressive behavior are confined or removed during buyer tours
- ensuring that both pet and buyer safety is paramount
Pet Odors Must Go or Buyers Will
If you don’t’ get rid of funky animal smells, it will be difficult to get buyers to stay much less make an offer to purchase. Now I know what you are going to say because I’ve heard it a hundred times, "my pets and my house do not smell.”
Trust me, unless you are scrupulous, vacuuming daily and washing your pets weekly, you have funky pet smells. What’s more, you may not smell them, but people not living in your home will.
Getting Rid of Pet Odors
Start at the source. Time to give Miss Rosebud or Mr. Stinky a bath. Wash all of your pet’s bedding as well. Next thoroughly vacuum your home, floors and upholstered furniture also. Now get a professional into steam clean the carpets and furniture. That should take care of any doggie funk or slobber stink.
Get a black light and look for spots that your pet used as a secret toilet. If you have a place where your dog peed repeatedly, you have just begun. If you have cat urine odor, that is the worse. Google “remove cat urine smell” for options.
Although ripping up the carpet and sometimes even the subflooring may be the ultimate solution, give everything else a try first. Some people have used vinegar and baking soda solutions effectively. Many swear by Nature’s Miracle. Some people throw up their hands and call in a professional.
The Preferred Option While Selling
Chances are you don’t want to hear this, but the best case scenario for a smooth sale and less stress is to find a temporary home for your pets while your house is on the market.
Yes, I do have other suggestions if you don’t opt for relocation. However, they are not the best solution, and some are not fair to your pets or your buyers and will add stress during a period that is challenging for families from the onset.
If you have relatives or a friend that will care for Bruno and Lulu that is the way to go. If not, consider boarding them at a kennel or treat them to a vacation at a pet hotel. Another option, one I embrace is Pets Are Inn. Your precious pet boards in the home of a pet lover like you. Our travel blogger Kay worked with this organization for years and often doggies, and kitties who boarded with Kay didn’t want to go home!
Don’t forget to remove all pet articles as well. That includes litter boxes, scratching boards, food bowls, pet doors, toys, and bedding. If you are removing the pets, you might as well make a “no pets live here” impression on buyers.
Pets should not be seen or heard during a showing.
If you decide you can’t live without your pets in residence, you should remove them from home for showings. Stuff them in the car and go for a drive or grab their leash and go for a walk. Don’t forget to put their food dishes and bedding out of sight.
If you can’t manage this, try to remove your dog from home and keep him in a penned space in the back yard. Confine indoor cats in a room.
Make sure your Realtor adds a notice in the listing for your home. Keep in mind that the downside of having pets present during a buyer visit is the possibility your pet will panic and run out the door.
Keep It Real Clean
My final words on selling with pets. I promise.
- Vacuum daily
- Wash your dog weekly
- Ditto on pet bedding weekly
- Keep litter boxes scooped at all times
- Change out kitty litter every week
- Keep the area around food and water bowls clean
If you have any questions about selling with pets or any other real estate topics, don’t hesitate to reach out to me.
As always, thanks very much for reading my post.