Selling Your Home with Pets
(Blog author Jennifer Weems and her Great Dane, Hamlet)
According to a 2020 study by the National Association of Realtors, 66% of US households either own a pet or are planning on getting one. In fact for some buyers, accommodations such as a fence or house size, is a factor for buyers with pets. So the majority of Americans like pets or the idea of having pets.
But there is something psychological about dealing with other people's pets. When it comes to buyers looking at home, they have a higher expectation of "cleanliness". It's a psychological thing. In our own homes, the pets, the dirt, the mess doesn't bother us as much; it's our pet, our dirt, our mess. But buyers want a home they are viewing to be be neutralized of those things. Sellers can declutter and depersonalize, but they still need to deal with their fur babies.
Stash Items Away
If you have pets, go ahead and remove food and water bowls for photos and showings. Remove pet beds, toys (check the yard, too), collars, leashes and any other pet paraphernalia out of view.
You probably lived with your fuzzy friends so long that you don't notice if there are odors. Assume there are. Deep clean your home before you list it. Do you need to have carpets or rugs cleaned or replaced? Vacuum and remove fur from the furniture. Remove litter boxes.
While we're at it, your yard. Ah-hem. How shall I say this most delicately? You may need to remove pet droppings from the yard. Your buyers will be walking around checking things out; don't ruin it form them by odors or worse, them stepping in something.
The pet and buyers are potentially going to see each other as unwelcome guests in the home. If at all possible, remove your pet during showings. I had clients that would take their dogs to Dairy Queen for Pup Cups (small ice cream cups) every time the house was shown. You don't want to spoil a showing by a pet that incessantly barks, jumps on the buyers, or poses a liability risk if the pet becomes aggressive. If your cat scratches you, it's one thing; if it scratches a buyer or their child, that's an issue. Some people have real phobias about pets, so a pet that is removed from the property is ideal. Remember sellers, you are trying to create the ideal home for someone; let your home take center stage. If you can't take your pets with you, find a secure place for them in the yard, garage, or crate.
Another good reason to take the pet with you is the pet's safety. Please don't put the responsibility on the real estate agent or buyers to keep your pet safe. If your pet gets out of the house or off the property, no one (especially you) will feel good about that showing.
You can't help if if potential buyers have allergies to certain pets, but again, why advertise that pets live there if you don't have to. Again, this is where a good deep cleaning, making your your air filter is clean, and removing evidence of fur, dander, and other telltale signs of pets in the home.
I'm just going to come right out and say it. Reptiles scare me to death and I'm not walking past a terrarium or cage that has one in it. If I see an empty terrarium that makes me even more nervous. There have been times when the buyer and I saw empty terrariums and we high-tailed it out of that house or that area of the house! If you keep exotic animals in the home like snakes or spiders, you might risk selling your home unless you remove the evidence.
If you live in the Jackson, TN area need help getting your home ready to sell, I'd be delighted to help you!