The Truth About Cats & Dogs
Let us first start off by saying that we are animal lovers. Having owned many dogs and a few cats over the years we believe that we qualify to speak with both empathy and authority on this topic.
Pets can present a real challenge when it comes to selling your home. A lot of people work and their pet remains home alone. For many pets having strangers invading their space can be frightening for them causing abnormal behavior responses. Dogs will bark or growl. Cats will hiss, swipe out, even attack or simply bolt leaving a trail of hair streaming behind them. Even caged pets or birds will become frightened and toss all their bedding around. These responses can be disconcerting and distracting to buyers and stressful for the animals. As REALTORS® over many years we have experienced dog attacks, escaped pets and freaked out buyers. Frankly, based on these experiences, if we are not told in advance that “owners are out but dog is in a crate in the garage” by the listing agent, and we hear barking or growling inside a home when we ring the door bell, we will often just not show that home so as not to put ourselves and especially not our clients at risk.
There are a number of other considerations that have to be taken into account when you are selling a home as a pet owner. If you ignore these issues it could cost you literally thousand of dollars as the result of lower offers. Here are our recommendations:
1. Re-locate Pets While on Market
Now don’t shoot the messenger but this is the best scenario. If at all possible while your home is on the market ship Fifi off to a close friend or family member to care for until the home is sold. It will generally be the most humane thing you can do and will make having your home show ready less stressful for you too. No ifs, ands, or buts—pets in homes on the market can interfere with showings and can prolong your time on the market. Longevity on the market translates into a lower price.
2. Remove Pets for Showings
Another option would be to see if a neighbour would be willing to keep your furry friend at their home during the day while you are at work. There are lots of retired folks who may really enjoy the company, and may agree to help you out. Prospective buyers who see pets will be consciously looking and smelling for pet damage to woodwork, carpets, and walls; again not focusing on the positive features of your house.
3. Secure Your Pets
If removing your pet is absolutely not feasible, at the very least have your pet in a crate during showings with a sign that asks people to not disturb them. Loose pets in a home can make people very nervous and puts a big responsibility on the buyer’s agent to manage the pet situation i.e. making sure the pet stays in the house, keeping the buyer’s attention on the viewing, and dealing with people’s fear of animals.
4. Remove the Evidence
For some people, particularly those with allergies, just the fact that pets live in a home devalues it. So it is a good idea to de-pet your home for showings.
Remove for showings:
- food dishes
- pet toys & beds
- pet food bags, etc
5. Deep Clean & Repair Pet Damage
Although pet owners in our love for our pets may overlook and ‘over smell’ the evidence that we share a home with furry children, most buyers, even other pet owners rarely do.
If there is any damage caused by scratching or chewing of walls, doors and door frames, floors or carpets it should go without saying that those repairs must be done. Pet odours & stains can be very insidious and it is usually a good idea to have carpets professionally cleaned prior to listing your home. If the cleaning is not successful consider replacing the carpet and underpad. You may even want to paint the wood underneath just to make sure that the smell does escape again. After that, daily vacuuming and dusting is highly recommended to keep hair and pet dander at bay. If there is a litter box daily cleaning is a must. Please do not use masking chemical fragrance products like fabric sprays, plug-in types or sprays as many people are highly allergic to them and plus it just smells like a lavender wet dog instead of the usual odour.
Also, don’t forget the yard. Repair any damage to lawn or gardens like holes dug or burnt spots on grass and be religious about picking up the doggy doo.
Deep cleaning applies to the pets too. Bathing and brushing them them frequently during the time you are on the market will keep your home sweeter smelling and keep the loose hair at bay. Don’t forget to wash their bedding on bath day too!
As much as we love our pets we have to face the truth and consider that they may be costing us much more than we think when it comes to selling our homes.