Preparing to Sell a House with Pets

January 4, 2022
8:00 am

More than half of home sellers own pets. Even pet-loving buyers can be turned off by stains, odors and chewed-up woodwork, so it’s important to clear out all signs of pet presence when selling a home. Make these important recommendations to your pet-owning clients before the first showing.

Have the home cleaned and deodorized

Pet owners can become “nose blind” to animal odors in the home, but you and buyers will not be. Recommend to the owner that he have the carpet and fabric upholstery professionally cleaned using enzymes that remove pet odors and stains. Warm soapy water can do the job on non-fabric upholstery and hard surfaces. 

Owners should vacuum up pet hair and use an adhesive pet hair removal wand where needed. If pets sleep on the homeowner’s bed, advise the owner to wash all bedding.

Repair pet damage

Chewed or scratched woodwork and furniture should be repaired or moved so it can’t be seen. Urine-soiled walls should be scrubbed with deodorizer and painted if needed.

Hard floors scratched from dog nails are a tough problem. Short of having wood floors refinished, your client may have to minimize visibility with area rugs.

Clear out all pet accessories

Before a showing or open house, remove pet bedding, litter boxes, cat scratching poles, toys, food and water bowls, bags of food, leashes, travel crates and even pictures of your client’s pets. Clearing out will be made easier by cutting back on toys and having many of these items already stored away. 

Listing clients should consider exchanging doggie doors for regular ones. 

Homeowners should remove pets from the house during showings and open houses.

Watch what you say in the listing

Do not market using terms like “pet friendly” or mention how great the home will be for a pet. Let interested home shoppers figure that out for themselves.

Noisy neighbor dogs

It is not just your client’s pets that could turn off a buyer. A barking dog in the neighborhood can alarm buyers. To help downplay the racket, keep windows closed during showings and play quiet, gentle contemporary music in the background. If necessary, have your client diplomatically approach the neighbor to take his dog inside when you have a showing.