One of life’s great joys – pet ownership – can make it harder to sell your home. While most people love pets, they tend to love their pets. Other people’s pets – especially in the context of buying/selling a home – can be a huge turnoff. Potential buyers like to be able to envision themselves in the home, and they don’t want to be reminded that strange dogs and cats have had free reign for years. Here’s how to stage your home to make your pets disappear, temporarily.
Focus on odors
Can you smell your dogs and cats when you walk in your house? Maybe not, but a stranger sure can. We can get acclimated to our own pets’ smells, but they can be a dealbreaker when it comes to showing a house. Your best bet is to head to the local pet store and get a remover that is specialized for pet odor.
“To remove pet odor from carpeting, there are few proven techniques. Perhaps the only truly effective measure is to purchase an enzymatic-based pet odor remover from your local pet supply store. These cleaners are composed of natural enzymes that eat away at the natural materials that cause urine smells in the first place,” notes HomeAdvisor.
Other solid techniques include vacuuming, shampooing carpets/furniture, and leaving the doors open the night before the open house to let everything air out. You want to tackle the root source of the odors, but on showing day it would probably behoove you to light a candle and use fresh-cut flowers as an odor mask.
Get the physical evidence out of your house
Pets leave a lot of physical evidence or their presence apart from hair and smell. Before you show your home, make sure you get rid of food, food bowls, toys, cages/crates, scratchers, and everything that signifies that a pet lives there. You may also want to remove photos of your pets from your side tables and walls. Depersonalization of your home before showings is key.
Get the physical evidence out of your yard
The day before your showing, you should grab a pair of gloves, a shovel, and a garbage bag and head outside. You should walk the perimeter of your home and poop scoop. Make sure you do a good job – nothing will ruin an open house like a tour of the backyard being derailed by a squishy surprise. You may be shocked to learn that there are plenty of ways you can go about this.
Don’t forget to make arrangements for Fido himself
You know the most in-your-face way you could advertise your pets to a prospective buyer? Having the pet sitting there, staring at them.
It’s vital that you plan to get your pets out of the house for any showing or open house that is scheduled. Not only are pets distracting to potential buyers, but it’s good for your pet’s emotional stability to get them far away from this chaos as well. For quick showings, simply take your dog on a walk around the neighborhood. For longer events, you’ll have to consider boarding or dog-sitting. Hopefully, you have a nice friend or neighbor. If not, there are plenty of services that can help.
Although your pet is one of the biggest parts of your life, selling your home is one of those times where you want to pretty much remove all trace of their existence. Your seller’s disclosure legally must include the info on your pets, but for the showing, you must do everything you can to hide their presence. While people love pets, their byproducts – hair, smells, clutter, poop – can make a potential buyer turn away.