Selling a House With Pets

Tips for Selling a Home That You Share with Your Dog or Cat

Mariko Baerg Realtor Headshot
Written By: Mariko Baerg, REALTOR of Bridgewell Real Estate Group
If you’re looking for a realtor to help you sell or buy a property, call me today

When you are selling a house with pets there are things that you need to think of before you market and list your property. While I absolutely love my weiner dog [daschund, sausage dog… whatever you want to call her!], she’s an avid barker with little dog syndrome that doesn’t appeal to every one. Just because I love my dog doesn’t mean everyone else does, and that’s especially true when home-buyers are coming through their potential forever home. Here are our top tips and notes for selling a house with pets:

selling a house with pets

Why Don’t Home Buyers Like Your Pet?

  • Nervousness: Pets make some people uncomfortable. A lot of people haven’t grown up with a family pet and are inexperienced being around them. Pets are not always predictable and that makes some people nervous.
  • Fear (Both Real and Irrational): Whether someone has had a bad experience with an animal in their past, or they have some irrational fear, sometimes people are just afraid of pets!
  • Your pets aren’t their pets: Everyone thinks their pets are perfect and imagine that yours bite, jump, bark, claw, and so on.

#1 Recommendation for Selling a House With Pets: Boarding or an Exotic Vacation with your Friends or Family

Whether your pet is a barker, biter, scratcher, or something else not so friendly, there’s nothing less welcoming than entering a home where the pet goes off on you. Every experienced agent that has seen enough properties has 100% been scratched by a cat, jumped on by a dog, or nipped/bitten at some point in their career. While it definitely makes the showing ‘memorable,’ it doesn’t necessarily make the buyer want to purchase the home. Your pet may steal the show.

While most people don’t like this recommendation, the best thing to do to ensure that you receive the highest price for your home is to relocate them while your home is on the market. For the best results, consider one of the following options for your best bud:

  • Send them on an exotic vacation with your friend or relative!
  • Board them at a kennel.
  • Take them to work with you for the day.
  • Move out and take your pets with you.

If they cannot be relocated, then make sure that they are not present at the showings and open houses. For example, take your dog for a walk during all showings and gain some extra steps on your fitbit at the same time!

Overcoming Negatives Associated with Your Pets

Now remember, when it comes to selling a house with pets:

  • Not everybody likes pets in the house;
  • Some people will outright avoid houses with pets;
  • Not everybody wants to see, smell or hear your pets.

So, how do you overcome negatives associated with your pets and ensure that buyers will focus on your home and not your pets? Minimize the objections and nuisance factors, real or otherwise by paying attention to the following:

If you shrug off all professional advice and absolutely refuse to move your pets out of the house, then at least minimize the objections and nuisance factors, real or otherwise:

Litterboxes

Ah, the dreaded litterbox. Keep them out of sight and impeccably clean – always. Nothing turns off buyers faster than opening the door to the laundry room and being greeted by a full or stinky cat box. Please do not put a litter box in your bedroom closet, and make sure you have a litter box with a cover or a lid that will help to contain the smell. Hide it away as best you can.

Carpet & Floor Pet Stains

If your carpet has pet stains then hire professionals to remove the stains. Buyers will spot them and form unfavorable opinions about the rest of the house – a first impression means everything. Some potential buyers can have a hygienic problem and this can easily trigger off some problems in their mind.

Fur

Unless you’ve got a hairless cat or a non-shedding dog, you’re going to have fur in the house. Even if your dog is short-haired and you can’t really see the fur, there’s most likely still fur. Make sure that you’re vacuuming and sweeping multiple times a day, and at an absolute minimum once a day.

Keep in mind too that the potential buyers may not like pets because they’re allergic. It’s never good when potential buyers start having a full on allergic reaction during the showing and go running out.

Smells

Ever seen or heard that Febreze commercial where they talk about going ‘nose blind’ to the odours in your house? Case in point: My house only smells like dog if I’ve been away on vacation for 2 weeks. As humans our senses can adapt so well, which means that even ‘bad’ smells that we are around constantly just end up seeming ‘normal’ to us after a while. So, basically what this means is you shouldn’t trust your own nose. Before listing your home for sale you should give it a thorough clean from top to bottom and eliminate anything that gives out any pet related odour. Start with this list:

  • Get the carpets and upholstery cleaned
  • Thoroughly wash the floors
  • If your pet has history of accidents on a particular area rug, get rid of the rug
  • Feed dry food instead of canned (the smell lingers longer than you know)
  • Throw out old stuffie toys
  • Put away the dog and cat beds
  • The litterbox – enough said.

Dog and Pet Accoutrement

My dog probably has more toys than most kids, and like kids, pets come with a lot of stuff. Try and follow these simple steps to putting all the ‘stuff’ away to ensure that you have an image of clean throughout your home:

  • Seal up doggie doors
  • Put away food and water bowls when not in use
  • Hide away any pet rags
  • Pick up pet toys and put them away
  • Pack up cat trees and other signs of cat paraphernalia (you know who you are)
  • Pack up all cages, carriers and other tell-tale signs
  • As always, don’t forget to clean up after them [aka vacuum]

Repair any damage

Damage is never attractive when selling a home, and pet damage is definitely never attractive when selling a home. [because who really wants their dog to chew through the drywall?]

If your pet has stained the carpet, chewed through your couch, or damaged the home in any way it’s important that the damage is repaired prior to showing the home. This may require some investment on your part, but the value you’ll get for your house will be well worth paying for the repairs. If buyers see something that’s damaged, they’ll start looking for or assume there are other issues somewhere else in the home.

Address the Poop in the Yard

You would think this is pretty much common sense, but you’d also be surprised about some of the things I’ve seen when going to check out properties. Not only should you clean up all the poop in the yard before every showing and open house, [or better yet, at soon as the deed is done!] but you should also do it before you move out and handover the keys. Nobody wants to start off their new home cleaning the previous owner’s dog’s poop from the backyard – plus, karma?!

Need help deciding what to do you with your pets while your home is for sale? Or now that you have a rough idea of how to prepare your home, are you looking for some help determining the market value of your home? If you have any questions or are interested in a free market evaluation, then give us a call at 604-765-0376. Prefer text? 604-319-0200 or email mariko@bridgewellgroup.ca to start a conversation. We’re here to help!

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