Whether you’ve got dogs, cats, hamsters, or bunnies running around at home, they’re part of the family. We love our pets, but that doesn’t mean potential buyers necessarily want to see them – or any evidence of them – when they’re scoping out your home for sale. While they’re cute and cuddly, they also smell, leave dander behind, and an leave unsightly excrement and stains behind that can turn buyers off.
When it’s time to put your home on the market, you’ll need to make some changes before you can list it.
1. Make Any Necessary Repairs
A home with a pet is vulnerable to damage, no matter how minor. From scratches on the hardwood, to chewed-up chair legs, to scuffed up trim on the walls, pets can wreak havoc on a home. Pets might be valued members of the family, but they’re still animals, and as such, they’re likely to use just about anything in their home as a chew toy.
Before you list your home on the market and have photos taken, make sure you patch up any areas in question. Damage in the home from pets is never attractive in the eyes of buyers, so make sure you leave no stone unturned when it comes to making the necessary repairs. No matter how minor or major the repairs are and how much they cost to do, the value that you will put back into the home will be worth it when it comes to selling quickly and for more money.
2. Get Rid of Pet Stains and Odors
Pets have this uncanny ability to leave the scent behind, no matter how vague or potent. Even if they’ve just had a bath and are clean, they still smell. And don’t forget about litter boxes or food bowls, which carry their own unpleasant odors too. While you may have gotten used to these smells and have become “nose blind” to them, these scents still linger in the home and should be eliminated before the first buyer steps foot in it.
Don’t forget about any stains that your pet may have left behind as well, especially on your carpets. Have your floors and upholstery professionally cleaned, and make sure every stain is eliminated in problem areas. Worst case scenario: replace the carpeting altogether.
3. Eliminate Any Signs of the Presence of Pets
You may have gotten rid of unpleasant scents from your pets, but you also want to remove any signs that animals live in your home. Not every homebuyer is necessarily a pet lover, so you want to make sure that you appeal to as may prospective buyers as possible when you have your home on the market. That means you’ll need to get rid of litter boxes, beds, food bowls, toys, and any other remnant that points to the presence of a pet. The more clutter you can remove, the better.
4. Clean Up the Yard
Don’t just focus on the interior of your home when staging it to sell. Your pets likely spends a lot of time outdoors, and probably have made a mark on your yard. Buyers will probably have a quick walk around the exterior of the home to see what the outdoor lot is like, and they definitely don’t want to stumble upon any holes dug up or any excrement that you forgot to pick up. Clear the yard and patch up any areas that need repair. Once your yard is up to par, be sure to take your pet somewhere else to play and do his ‘business’.
5. Understand Your Liabilities
Your pet may seem to be the friendliest, gentlest animal on the planet, but you just never know if they’ll bite or scratch someone they don’t take too kindly to. If your pet ever bites someone while they are on your property, you can be held legally liable.
At the very least, check your insurance policy to see if it includes dog bite coverage. Check for any exclusions in the coverage section of your policy to see if it makes mention of dogs or any type of animal in general. Certain policies exclude specific types of dog breeds, such as Rottweilers or Pit Bulls.
6. Remove Pets During Showings
Your best bet is to make sure that your pets are nowhere near the property when there is a showing or an open house to avoid any complications. Having them off your property will also ensure that your home will remain in decent shape for the duration of the listing. If possible, consider having your pet stay with a family member or friend while your home is on the market.
At the very least, keep your pet in a designated and contained space and inform buyers and their agents about the presence of pets ahead of time. Your pet might not exactly like this idea, but it may be necessary when selling your home is top priority.
The Bottom Line
Pet owners love their furry friends, but pets can be a negative distraction to buyers. When you’ve got your home on the market, you don’t want your pet to be the first thing that buyers notice. Instead, be sure to eliminate all signs of animals in the house in order to make it more attractive to prospective buyers.