Selling a home is stressful enough, but selling a home with pets can be even more stressful. In addition to the usual concerns homeowners have, people with pets also have to consider if they should move their animals out while the home is for sale, how much it will cost to repair any pet-related damage and if pet odor will deter potential buyers.
Unfortunately for pet owners, the truth is that pets can turn away potential buyers and even lower the perceived value of their home if they are not addressed prior to listing. However, when properly prepared, homes with pets can be cleaned and staged in a way that makes the existence of the pets almost undetectable.
The first step is to learn about the issues of selling a home with pets. Most people regard their pets as family members, so hearing that not all buyers like pets can seem surprising and disappointing. Consider making the following adjustments during the selling process so that pets don’t negatively affect your selling process.
- Eliminate Pet Odor
Although you might have become accustomed to it, pet odors can deter potential buyers. Our sense of smell has a powerful effect on our emotions, perception, and memory. The scent of pet odor in a house is sure to stick in a potential buyer’s mind, and this could cause them to deduct the cost of carpet replacement from their offer. Even worse, if a buyer walks in the home and smells a dirty cat litter box or soiled carpet, they might not even proceed with the tour. To eliminate pet odor and keep potential buyers moving through the home, consider the following:
- If not replacing carpet, have it professionally steam cleaned. Don’t forget to also clean upholstered furniture and area rugs. Any surface that holds in pet odor should be cleaned, replaced or removed.
- Weather permitting, try to open windows for a few days leading up to showings to help air out the home.
- Be cautious when using air fresheners. You don’t want buyers to be blasted with the smell of artificial flowers that scream you are hiding an odor. Some fresh flowers can both help with fragrance, and add to the home staging. Also consider air neutralizers and odor absorbing products. Rather than masking the smell, these items actually absorb odor and neutralize the air.
- Consider placing an air purifier in the pet’s main living area to filter the air.
- Replace air filters that might have trapped pet dander and odor.
- Repair Pet-Related Damage to Home and Yard
As much as we love our pets, the truth is they cause extra wear and tear on the home, especially in the yard. Take an honest look at the home and consider repairing as much of the pet damage as possible before showing. Some areas to look at include:
- Over-seed the yard or patch lawn areas to repair brown spots.
- Fill in holes created by canine gardeners. Not only are they unsightly, they can be potentially dangerous if someone were to trip in it.
- If doors and/or window screens have been damaged and scratched, replace them.
- Clean pet hair from hard-to-reach places such as behind appliances and behind doors.
- If wood or laminate flooring is scratched beyond repair, consider repairing the floor. This might be a large investment up front, but it can yield great results at sale.
- Relocate or Crate Your Pets During Home Viewings
Consider that potential buyers might be afraid of animals and vice versa. Pets can create liability, and so having the pets temporarily relocated is a good idea (either during the entire sale process or on days when there are showings and open houses). If you do not have a relocation option, crating the animals during showings and open houses is another solution. For pets that are not already crate trained, it can take time for them to enjoy being in the crate. Contact a pet trainer to learn how to introduce your pet to a crate. You can create positive associations with the crate by giving the pet a treat-filled toy or bone to keep them busy while in the crate, and by giving them all their meals in the crate. Relocation and/or crating is not only essential for the safety of potential buyers, but it also protects animals from getting out of the house, getting hurt, or causing harm to others.
- Help Your Pet Reduce Moving Stress
Speaking of stress, animals can experience anxiety from having a lot of strange foot traffic in their home. Potential buyers might be distracted by a stressed pet and nervous barking. We recommend that you talk to your veterinarian to get a product recommendation to help your pets cope with this stressful event. National pet stores sell items such as plugins that release stress calming pheromones. The plugins do not emit any scent and can last up to three months. The pheromones released are only detected by the animals and will not affect humans.
Above all, when selling a home with pets remember that they are part of your family. They are a part of what makes a place “home” for you, even if buyers may not see or understand that. Following these tips will help reduce stress for both you and your pet, and if they could, they would thank you in the long run!
Leaving Ann Arbor, or thinking about it? Ask us to find out how much your home is worth, and get a comprehensive, hand prepared home value report for free!
If you’re having any problems preparing to sell your home, Andy can help you! Give him a call at (734) 604-8242.
Based on this article from Keller Williams: https://blog.kw.com/2014/12/08/4-tips-for-selling-homes-with-pets-that-wont-put-you-in-the-doghouse/