Don't Let Pets Make a Mess of Your Home Sale
Getting your home ready is a very important topic if you are a pet owner who is wanting to list your home for sale.
How do you best prepare to sell a home with pets?
If you have a dog or cat, chances are you love your pet. Reptiles….if there is a snake in the house you better believe a lot of people wouldn’t want to enter! While some homeowners have strict outside pet rules, most allow their animals inside their homes as they are a big part of the family. But, while pets are great for your emotional well-being, having them in your home does not help you sell.
When you decide to put the house on the market you may need to do some serious housecleaning and repair work before you can command a competitive price. Almost everybody loves pets except the home buyer who is buying your house.
You are setting a mood for potential buyers. You want buyers to be able to picture themselves in your home. This means giving them the space to envision living there, a space that is free from too many of your personal things – including pets and all they bring with them.
Why Home Buyers Don’t Like Your Pet?
Pets make some people very uncomfortable. Not everybody grew up with a family pet or enjoy outings at the zoo. Fur and four legs do not a human make. Real and irrational. It’s not only dogs that instill fear in people. All kinds of silly wives’ tales and superstitions involve cats. Pets are not always predictable. Your pets aren’t their pets. They imagine yours may bite, jump, vomit, claw, spit-up hairballs or are just plain hyper and bad.
Here is a list of the best tips to prepare for selling your home with pets. Some may or may not apply to your particular situation.
Talk to Your Pet’s Veterinarian First.
One important thing to keep in mind is that your animal has its own needs, needs that are best discussed with your veterinarian. Talk to him or her about what you plan on doing, and how it will work with your specific pet or pets. This is especially important when your pet is older and may not adjust well to change. Selling a home can be just as stressful for the pet as it is for the homeowner.
You’re not going to like this but I’ll say it anyway, fully realizing that this very excellent piece of advice is likely to fall on deaf ears. This may or may not be something you are willing to do, but it is easier to show and sell your home (and keep it clean), if your pets are not present when buyers arrive. If you have a friend or family member that you are comfortable leaving your animal with, it will give you the chance to eliminate all of the signs of having a pet in the house (which can significantly reduce a home’s value) and avoid the pet causing further issues. While I happen to be a pet lover myself there are many home buyers who are not. Some folks consider it a huge turn-off when looking at potential homes they may want to own.
Remove Pets During Showings.
When selling a home with pets, at the very least, you should remove them from your home when you are showing the property for sale. All the cute things your dog does will not help you sell your home, and will only remind the potential buyer that the house has contained pets.
Having a pet in the house or yard can create complications for Agents and buyers while trying to show the house, and puts your pet at risk of accidentally getting out during the process. There are also liability issues to deal with as well. While your dog or cat may be ultra-friendly, it is certainly possible they can have a bad day just like you and me.
When you leave your pet home during showings you are asking for trouble especially if a buyer brings a young child and they are curious. The last thing you want is Fido taking a chunk out of a buyer’s child’s arm! You are taking a big risk when your pet is allowed to roam freely during showings.
There are times where it may not be possible to remove a pet from a home. Maybe due to your job you just can’t come back and remove them or you can’t find anyone who will help take care of them. If this is the case your next best option is to either put them in a contained space and let a buyer and their Real Estate agent know about it ahead of time. While your pet may not be accustomed to this and you love treating your animals like one of the family sometimes this is what is necessary.
Repair Any Damage.
As much as we love our pets, they are still animals, and pet damage is never attractive when selling your home. Dogs and cats will inevitably destroy something, including carpets, furniture, hardwood flooring, walls, doors, turf in your yard and your fence.
All of this damage should be repaired prior to showing the home. This may require some investment on your part, especially if the animal has damaged expensive items like your hardwood flooring or walls in your house. Regardless of the cost of repair, though, the value you will get for your house will be well worth paying for the repairs.
Remove Pet Odors and Stains.
Pets have accidents; and while it is possible to get used to the pet smell over time, new visitors to your home will be sure to notice the smells. This is not something you want to happen. In fact, above all else, this may be an important tip for selling a home when you have pets.
Our sense of smell has a powerful effect on our emotions, our memory, and on our perception of things. An initial urine odor on entering a house is sure to stick in the buyer’s mind, and he or she will likely deduct the cost of carpet replacement immediately from an offer as a result. A strong odor is in fact one of the top reasons a buyer will pass on a home. Avoid this by having your carpet and flooring professionally cleaned, with a focus on removing pet odors. If the staining or odors are too bad, you may need to replace the carpet in the problem areas.
- 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 – Cat urine is the worst. Without question. The. Worst. Bring in a neighbor to do a whiff test. Do not use air fresheners. People with allergies will react. Try enzyme cleaners or call a professional company.
- Clean Your Yard – Pick up any messes in the backyard, and have any sod replaced and other damage repaired as necessary. You may be the kind of person who picks up after your pet regularly, or you may have a cat that causes very little impact on your yard. However, a large number of dog owners give their pets free reign of the backyard. This is a great life for dogs and cats, but it can be hard on the look of your lawn. One of the best tips, when selling a home with pets, is to make sure you don’t neglect the yard as this is just as important to some buyers as the inside of the home.
Erase Signs of Your Pet for Potential Buyers.
You want buyers to be as unaware of your pet ownership as possible. If they ask the question, you will have to answer honestly. However, you can often avoid this by taking necessary steps like those listed above. In addition, put away all pet toys, bedding, litter boxes, and food – preferably at another location besides your home.
Some realtors recommend removing all photos where your pet is present as well and to look and make certain the animal does not show up in any marketing materials you create for your home. Like other forms of home staging, removing extra pet clutter is an important consideration when you are selling your property.
Selling a home with pets takes work, but it’s worth it in the long run! 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 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, pet beds and put them away
- Pack up cat trees and other signs of cat paraphernalia
- Remove photos of pets from refrigerator, walls, and table tops
- Pack up all cages, carriers, and other tell-tale signs
You may do all of these things and yet still have buyers ask about whether you have pets. Sometimes it is impossible to hide all evidence, and sometimes they just ask anyway. Even if this happens, though, you have still done everything necessary to return your house to its prior pet-free status. Buyers will have little to complain about because your house now looks as good as it did before you had your pet.
Remember Pet Liability.
Did you know that you can be held liable for your pet biting someone while on your property? The Victoria CRD has strict rules around protecting the public from pets who may act aggressively.
There is no such thing as a one-bite rule!
In British Columbia, there is no rule that every dog is entitled to one bite before the owner is held responsible for vicious acts by their dog. The law recognizes that every dog has the potential to bite and that owners must safeguard the public.
Bosdet Homes: Handcrafted Real Estate
If you are interested in buying real estate in the Greater Victoria area, Bosdet Homes is ready to help find your dream home. Working with a professional agent who is dialed into your preferred community is essential to ensure you don’t end up paying too much.
We would love to discuss how we can make your dreams a reality. Consultations are of course, always complimentary.