5 Tips for Selling a Home with Pets

How Do I Sell My House with Pets?

As pet owners we love our four-legged (or two if you have birds) family members. The only problem is not every potential homebuyer owns a pet. As a matter of fact, some may not like animals at all. It's hard to believe, right? But remember, you're trying to appeal to the widest possible audience and any pet odors, unsightly messes in the yard, or signs of wear and tear inside the house could turn them away—even if they are pet lovers themselves.

If you're thinking of selling your home and you're a pet owner, here are a few things to consider:

  • The potential homebuyer may be a fellow pet owner but they keep their pet outdoors.
  • The potential homebuyer may have severe pet allergies.
  • The potential homebuyer may cause your pet to react in a negative or unpredictable way.
  • The potential homebuyer may have a phobia of certain animals.

Buying a house is a major investment and any of the scenarios mentioned above could cost you a sale. You want prospective buyers to be able to picture themselves living in your home and this can be hard to do after experiencing a negative, pet-related incident. This type of sale can be a challenge, but Amy Stockberger Real Estate (ASRE) is here to help you with five tips for selling a home with pets.

Relocate Your Pet During an Open House

It’s difficult for buyers to focus on the positive aspects of your home with a cat scratching the carpet or dog barking in the next room. Avoid these situations with a pet vacation. Arrange for them to stay with a family member or trusted friend. A temporary relocation is the best way to prep for showings and keep your house clean. If this isn't possible, at the very least have someone take your pet for a walk or car ride to make sure they're gone when prospective buyers show up.

Remove All Signs of Your Pet

Properly staging your home can help you sell for more, and this is especially important when you live with an animal. Potential buyers who tour your home should never be able to tell that a pet has lived there. As you clean and declutter in preparation of open houses, remove all of these pet-related items from your home:

  • Toys
  • Collars and Leashes
  • Pet Food
  • Bowls for Food and Water
  • Pet Beds
  • Potty Pads or Litter Boxes
  • Cat Climbers or Scratching Posts
  • Dog Houses, Cat Condos, and Cages for Bird/Hamsters/Reptiles
  • Kennels and/or Crates
  • Family Pet Photos

Eliminate Pet Odor

A funky or unpleasant odor is one of the top reasons a prospective buyer will decide to pass on a home and unfortunately, it's not as easy as hiding your pet's accessories and lighting a few candles. So how do you eliminate pet odors in your house?

  • Use a pet odor remover or baking soda on the carpets
  • Wash all comforters, quilts, curtains, furniture slipcovers, throw pillows, towels, etc.
  • Spray all rugs, upholstery, and fabrics with a pet-specific deodorizer or enzyme cleaner
  • Replace the furnace air filter
  • Remove all potty pads and litter boxes

If you'd rather be safe than sorry, use a professional cleaning service to take care of your carpets, furniture, and other hard to reach places. Make sure any small animal cages and tanks are being cleaned consistently and after all this deodorization, always have a friend or family member visit to find out if your home passes the smell test.

Get Rid of Pet Hair and Stains

Whether you own a pet or not, a deep clean should be at the top of your maintenance checklist when you're getting ready to sell your home. In addition to the unwanted smell, pet hair can also make your house look messy and potentially trigger allergies—two things you definitely want to avoid during a showing. Make sure you dust every surface and vacuum all carpets, and wash every piece of fabric that your pet has come in contact with.

Just like pet hair, noticeable stains can be another red flag for prospective home buyers. While spot treatments might work on smaller stains and discolorations, hiring a carpet cleaning service might be in your best interest to ensure all undesirable stains and odors get completely removed. If your carpets have been heavily soiled throughout the years you may need to replace the carpets and padding all together.

Repair Any Pet Damage

Take the time to fix any significant (and not-so-significant) damage caused by your pet. This means covering or replacing all torn furniture/fabric, painting or repairing your walls, and fixing any scratched door frames, flooring, and other wooden surfaces. Additionally, don't forget about the yard and fencing. Although these may seem like expensive fixes—and they could be—potential buyers might notice these issues and wonder what other problems lie beneath the surface.

Not only are these tips helpful for prepping a home with pets, but they're also useful tips to consider when staging your home. If you choose to neglect any of these pet-related issues it may influence how long it takes to sell your home. Remember, buying a house is a huge purchase and you want to make a good impression on prospective buyers. They need to be able to visualize a future in your home.