Selling a Home With Pets
I love animals and have a soft spot for dogs, especially our goofy, rescued black lab mix, Katie. With that in mind, remember this post is all about helping you to get your house sold—not neglect your furry family member. Team Hardy NP Dodge is here to give you some friendly advice that comes from years of experience as an Omaha listing agent — pets and house sales don’t mix.
SCENARIO: You’ve listed your house, it has tons of curb appeal and you’re sure you’ll be getting multiple offers but they don’t come. Sure, lots of buyers have come to look and they love the place but none of them come back for a second look.
What’s wrong? Pets.
While you may think Duke, Coco or Sheba are cute, lovable members of the family, your prospective buyer thinks just the opposite. They see them as a stinky, hairy, home-destroying villains.
What do you do?
Most self-proclaimed experts would tell you to have your pet or pets boarded while your house is on the market. Out of sight, out of mind. It’s the surest way to keep your house presentable during showings. However, there’s a couple problems here: boarding your pet can cost up to $40 a day. The current average time on market is about 60 days which translates to about $2,400 for a pet hotel.
We don’t want you to spend a small fortune to board your pet and, quite, frankly, we really don’t agree with locking up pets indefinitely at a kennel when there are other options. Those options will require some diligence on your part to keep your house clean but are worth the effort.
Vacuum! Vacuum! Vacuum!
Vacuum every day, sometimes twice a day if your pet sheds a lot. A house full of pet hair can be a huge turn off to non-pet owners. Pay close attention to the corners of each room where animal hair can build up and not always get picked up by average vacuum cleaners. Lint rollers work great for cloth furniture and other areas your vacuum can’t reach.
A Smelly Situation
The last thing you want coming from your basement is the smell of a stinky litter box. Next to mold and mildew, few things are worse than a dirty litter box, it will send any prospective buyer running. Clean it daily and keep it at bay with fresh, high quality, cat litter and removing pet waste frequently. Consider washing the litter box with warm, soapy water each time you change litter and be sure it is completely dry before you refill it, this will cut down the bacteria and keep smell to a minimum.
Dog odors may be a little more subtle but are still present. A common a freshening technique is boiling water with a cinnamon stick in it once a day or at least a half hour before a showing. Buy a laundry detergent with a fresh lemon or orange scent to wash sheets and linens with as well as using lemon scented cleaning products to wipe surfaces before showings.
A Big Dogstraction
Many sellers will make the mistake of thinking that they can simply lock their dogs, cats, bunnies, ferrets or lizards in a bedroom, basement, or garage during showings. The first downside here is you’re restricting access from potential buyers because they can’t see the room when pets are in lock down. Secondly, confined pets are unhappy pets and they will make noise, lots of it, distracting buyers. If the buyer and agent decide to pee in a room you had quarantined your pet could get out the door in a heartbeat.
The thing to remember, pets are family and a huge part of your home. Your goal is to depersonalize your space prior to sale. You wouldn’t leave Cousin Eddie sitting in the family room while buyers tour the house so why leave Duke or Coco? After all, they’re family, too. Just as you remove personal photos and mementos, you also should remove all pets.
Cousin Eddie from National Lampoon's Vacation © Warner Brothers
Market to Other Pet Lovers
One of the best pieces of advice we can give is to think about selling your home to another pet owner. Rather than hiding evidence of your pets, promote the fact that your home is “pet-friendly.” Work with your Team Hardy agent to market your home to other pet lovers. Advertise your home at the Nebraska Humane Society or advertise in animal shelter newsletters, on animal lovers’ websites and social media groups. Or, you could volunteer at the shelter to do some good, old-fashioned, grass-roots marketing on your own.
With some planning, you can sell your home, even if you have pets. There are plenty of options for keeping your pets safe during showings, and with a bit of cleaning, potential buyers don’t have their noses hit at the door with their presence.
Get creative, call John Hardy and your home still has a great chance of selling quickly and at a great price, (402) 639-8558.