Pets and Home Sales: How to Keep One from Hampering the Other By Keith Loria

By Keith Loria

According to a recent report conducted by the American Humane Society, Americans own approximately 75 million dogs, 90 million cats, 16 million birds, 12 million reptiles and around 20 million small mammals, such as rabbits, guinea pigs and hamsters. While these numbers go a long way toward proving that people love animals, prospective buyers don’t often share that same love as they’re more interested in finding a clean, odor-free home.

While your pet may be gentle and loving around you and your family, when strangers enter into the equation, animals may not be as predictable. Dogs bark, cats scratch, snakes frighten people, birds squawk and most homes with pets generally have a distinct odor that’s often hard to mask. It’s also important for pet owners to take allergies into consideration when trying to sell their home. If someone with an allergy to a cat or rabbit enters your home and immediately starts sneezing, they’re going to want to leave fast, killing the chance of a sale.

If you’re in the process of preparing your home to be listed on the market, real estate agents will often advise that you find a new place for your animals to live while you go through the process. However, if you can’t bear the thought of being separated from the family pet, there are some practical things you can do to promote a clean, odor-free home when prospective buyers visit.

Most important is getting pets away from the house during showings. Take your pet to the park or an animal daycare facility, but never let them roam free in the house when you know prospective buyers will be dropping in. While you might think keeping a pet in the backyard or locked in a cage is a solution, this could work against you as it may scare people away—especially those with small children—and keep them from admiring the positive aspects of your home.

It’s also a good idea to try to remove any and all signs that a pet lives in the house. This means putting away food and water dishes, hiding the toys in a closet and making sure you clean out the litter box. You may even want to hide it in the garage as well.

If the carpet throughout your home is littered with pet stains, spend some money and bring in a professional cleaning company to get rid of these problem areas, as prospective buyers will most likely form unfavorable opinions about the rest of the home if they spot numerous pet stains.

While pet owners may have a hard time understanding that not everyone loves animals as much as they do, these strategies will go a long way toward ensuring that a pet doesn’t hamper your home sale.

For more information about preparing your home for sale when there’s a pet involved, contact our office today.

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2013. All rights reserved.