There is a saying; “Do you want to be right or do you want to be happy?” Many people can be particularly resistant to this when it comes to their pets.
Although you may be a pet lover who adores your furry critters; there are many people who do not feel the same. This being the case you have a choice regarding how fast you will sell your home and how much you will get for it; depending upon your willingness to adjust your thoughts and adapt your home during the marketing process to make it desirable to not only like-minded individuals but to all potential buyers.
You can take offense with those who are not particularly fond of household pets and stubbornly choose to do nothing or you can do a few simple things to assure your home shows as if no pet ever lived there; enticing all to want to purchase it.
In today’s market it is quite popular to advertise a home as pet and smoke free; as has been the case with pre-owned vehicles for many years. There are many reasons for this of course; because both can cause considerable damage to the space or in some cases certain individuals may simply have a health related issue.
Just like with a vehicle potential home purchasers may look for this disclosure in the marketing print, will ask the question directly and despite what they have read or have been told they will certainly be diligent about sniffing it out if they proceed to the next step of viewing your home.
Even if they are pet lovers themselves they do not want to purchase anything that contains what they deem to be offensive odors or other pet related damage. If asked the question always answer honestly; yet you can still take care of a few things to help a buyer get beyond this particular objection.
The Nose Knows
In all our personal spaces we become use to the smells or odors that are consistently part of our everyday life. We live day to day, never noticing many things; especially pet odors because our noses and other senses often become immune to our everyday living conditions.
Even if your pets are well behaved and more than house trained, including cats that are taught to do their business outside rather than in a litter box, many people can immediately detect even the natural odors of well groomed four legged creatures that may cause them to turn their noses up and walk away. In their minds they deduct if something as simple as a less than fresh clean smelling home is evident; then what other maintenance or more serious damage exists as well that has not been attended to. You need to start your marketing efforts out right with a fresh, clean smelling home that assures a potential buyer no pet lives here.
Give Your Pets a new temporary home!
The first option is to temporarily relocate your pets by having them stay with a trusted friend or family member who will love and care for them as if they were their own. This is a hard pill to swallow for most pet lovers; as your pet is a family member and you most likely would not want to remove them from the surroundings they know and love.
Is this inconvenient… possibly; but it is not unkind for many reasons. For instance many pets are often traumatized by multiple strangers suddenly entering their space which is common especially in the hot selling markets like Colorado. They could also run off through a gate or door accidentally left unlatched by one of the viewers. Or they could attempt to hide in an unsafe area or worse still may be so fearful they resort to even more dangerous behavior. So it is a kind thing to do for everyone concerned to temporarily relocate them while your home is on the market. It is the best option to give you time to repair any pet damage and not risk anything being damaged again before the sale. Removing your pets will help you restore your home to fresh clean smelling atmosphere and looking great to properly market it; especially if you want to attract a fast sale and top dollar.
Remove your pets during showings!
If you find it impossible to relocate your pet during your home marketing period please understand it is not just pet odors that can repel a potential buyer. Many people are intimidated by pets they do not personally know and will be frightened or at least hesitant to enter a home to view if a pet is present.
Even if you have the most friendly dog or cat whose behavior you can attest to; any pet can be unpredictable when strangers attempt to enter a home; especially when you are not there to assure them there is no danger. Too often unfortunate things have occurred even when one insists with the common statement; “Oh don’t worry he/she doesn’t bite”.
This of course brings up liability issues; something no one wants to ever deal with especially in addition to selling a home. It is important to protect everyone involved on all levels, including your pet. You should have a plan already in place prior to putting your home on the market as to how you will handle home showings if your pet is in residence.
Scheduled showings can be more easily handled if there is at least one stay at home family member who can quickly remove the pet/s and evidence of their existence along with themselves when a viewing is scheduled. If this is not the case and you also do not have a job that will allow you to leave in order to either contain the pet in a safe pen or take your pet out of the house completely; your pet’s presence can definitely interfere with the sale of you home.
Most people are more comfortable and prefer to view a home sans the seller and their pets; as they use the viewing as an opportunity to not only inspect everything in detail but also to imagine the home as their own. You do not want to cause anything to distract them from this most important decision making factor when they are looking for their own family friendly home.
Remove all evidence of your resident pet both inside and out!
Besides odors make sure the entire home both inside and out is clean of anything else that says “Pet/s live here”. Remove cat litters or at minimum clean them thoroughly every day before departing to work so you are ready in advance for a showing. No one wants to smell or view piles of poop in a box crammed in some corner of the bathroom or laundry room or step in anything unpleasant in the yard.
Repair or replace yellow lawn spots and any other damage done to doors, fences, trims, furniture or elsewhere from chewing or scratching. Have all carpets, floors, furniture and window coverings professionally cleaned. All of these items retain odors and a can of room deodorizer, despite advertising claims will not cover unpleasant odors for more than a few moments. Spraying a room with a flowery scent just before departing or opening all the windows will not fool a savvy buyer for very long. As a matter of fact you will only end up drawing more attention to the very odors you think you are trying to eliminate. Most people also find strong perfumed aromas equally as offensive or distasteful as odors and smells and this will raise a red flag as to an attempt to hide something even more unpleasant; not to mention risking a possible buyer having a sneezing attack or even more serious allergic reaction to the chemical based sweet smelling products.
Part of staging a home properly is to remove as many personal photos or images to give the buyers the ability to envision the house as their own. This should include photos of your pets and goes without saying (you would think) do not use any photos in marketing material that display your pet. Although your pets are precious and many pet lovers love to show off their pets at any opportunity; they do not belong in the marketing materials of your home. You have to remember you are presenting a home for sale; you do not want to advertise your pets along with it. Potential buyers who own pets or are planning to add one to their family will ask the appropriate questions of their realtor regarding any concerns for their pets; such as: “Is the neighborhood pet friendly or are there dog parks nearby”, etc.
In 35+ years in the real estate industry I can assure you a home free of pet odors and damage sells far faster and for more money than those that are not.