When you are selling your home, you imagine it showing beautifully. You have painted and packed away all the clutter and you think the place looks pristine. Buyers will of course walk in and see it as you do; cleaner and brighter than you typically have experienced throughout the years. But, what if you have overlooked the tell-tale signs of one of your home’s occupants? The family pet.
When selling, it is important that buyers see your home as a clean and fresh blank slate. Pet odors are a huge turnoff to many potential buyers. They don’t necessarily think that once your pet has moved out with you the odor will too. They think that maybe it’s buried in the carpeting and maybe everything is soiled or unclean. Just because you don’t notice it does not mean a buyer won’t.
So, what can you do? Well you don’t have go to drastic lengths to make buyers think your home is either pet-free or that your pets practically clean up after themselves. Here are five top tips:
- Make repairs to any obvious damage that the pet may have caused. If a screen door is scratched up or hardwood floors have a lot of nicks and scratches from your dog’s exuberant running, consider replacement or refinishing. Clean carpets to remove any obvious stains and if they have been heavily soiled consider replacement before you start showing your home.
- Clean up the property around the home of any droppings. The last thing you want is a potential buyer stepping in something they shouldn’t. Put away excess toys and chew things and clean up around water and food bowls.
- Clean and deodorize the entire home. Before a showing, clean out any litter boxes and consider putting a deodorizer in each room. Your mission is to make it as if the pet were not there. Remove obvious pet hair from furniture even if it means using a sticky roller to get the job done quickly.
- Put the pet in a garage or other area if they are not friendly. With that said, many sellers think their pet is friendly but they have not witnessed what will happen if they are not home and a group of strangers suddenly invade and start walking around in every room. Your quiet friendly pet could feel very protective during a showing. Better safe than sorry.
- Give your real estate agent detailed instructions. Include your pet’s name, where the pet is to go during the showing, and any unusual behaviors of the pet. For example, if you have a Cockatiel that shouts obscenities, let your agent know ahead of time. If you have an escape artist for a cat, warn the agent to be on guard from the second they unlock the door. If your dog responds to particular word commands let the agent know those key words.
Your agent should also make a note regarding all the details of your pet to any other agents who might do a showing without them present. And if your pet likes treats let the agent know that too. A little spoiling is a fair trade-off for help in making your house show beautifully!
image courtesy of Laura ATL