Prepping Your Home To Sell When You Have A Pet

I am a dog person. I’ve never known life without a dog in it since I was about 5 years old. I know a whole lot of pet loving people. I’ve worked with a ton of them in buying in selling homes too. But when it comes time to sell your home, you’ll need to face the fact that not everyone loves the idea of pets as much as you and I probably do. Heck, even pet people themselves can be turned off by pets when viewing a potential new home.

I know, your sweet furry friend is perfect. They may be very well mannered and potty trained. However, lets be honest, there are those not so perfect pets out there that give all pets a bad rap in the mind’s of some potential home buyers.

When it comes time to prep your home for sale you want it to appeal to the masses. This means you will want to make the efforts of a little extra prep when your home includes pets.

Top Priority: Attack the Smells

The biggest turn off I witness in viewing homes with buyers in regards to pets, is odor. I walk into a lot of homes in this business. As I do, my nose often quickly picks up on the presence of pets. More often than not, at the same time it hits me, it hits the buyers too. I see their sour look, or sometimes the outright mention it.

As a proud pet mom, I will admit that if you walk into my home, your nose will probably tell you that we have pets. However, I myself can not smell my pets because it is normal to me. But if I leave the house for a weekend, when I come home, I can smell pets. We have hard surface floors, our pets are well potty trained, but there are still things around the house that seem to trap and hold that “pet smell”. We have a big dog that spends a lot of time out in the yard. Laying and rolling in the grass. Digging in the dirt. And then he comes in tracking dirt, shedding fur, planting the outdoor smells in his dog bed. But I’m not selling my house, so our resulting deep clean tends to be seasonal, not an urgent forcus.

But for those that are in the market to sell, it is time to work at neutralizing the odors now. Especially if you have carpet and/or your pet frequents time on the couch cushions or other soft surfaces that can soak up and hold odors. Here’s a good starting point of tasks:

  • Shampoo the carpets and rugs
  • Clean the couch cushions
  • Wash pet beds, blankets, etc that your animal routinely lays on
  • Wash hard surface floors
  • Do a deep clean of the litter box
  • And once it is initially cleaned, vacuum and wipe down floors daily

Candles or plug ins can help. But, there is a fine line in the balance of being over powering and counter productive in their use. When buyers see or smell too much “fragrance” going on, they do often notice. They will often comment “I wonder what they are trying to cover up”. I often witness them sniffing around ever corner. Looking for the source of a “bad smell” they then assume to be present.

Once you have worked at the above tasks, I recommend going one step further. Bring in a tester. I suggest you solicit a friend or family member to do a sniff test. I’m talking someone who is not a frequent or constant regular in your house. The goal is someone who’s nose isn’t already in tune with your home. Yet someone you trust to be straightforward and honest with you. Keep working and cleaning as needed until you get the thumbs up review from your trusted tester.

Clear the Obvious Clues

I speak about odors first since it often has the largest direct impact. But it goes kind of hand in hand with the next suggestions. Remove/hide all evidence of pets. As you remove many of these, the odors that reside within them, will obviously go away with it. Here’s a starting point list. But I encourage you to look around each room from an outsider’s perspective and tuck all pet things you spot away from view.

  • Pet beds
  • Toys
  • Food/water dishes
  • Bags of food
  • Leashes
  • Treats on counter, top of fridge, etc
  • Pet photos
  • Kennels
  • Pet dedicated blankets or coverings on furniture
  • Litter boxes
  • Droppings in the yard

Why is this important? Because so often, when people know there is a pet, they start looking for damage from that pet. They may judge and assume there is some sort of damage even when there isn’t. Whether it is fair or justified, it just seems to happen. They start looking for and noticing things like stains in the carpet. That stain may very well be coffee you spilled, but they will assume or fear it is a “pet stain”.

Deep Clean Key Areas

Not only do you want the physical pet related items to be picked up, but don’t forget to deep clean areas where they leave messes behind.

  • Remove hair from hard to get to gathering spots like stairways and along the baseboard room trim.
  • Do a super wipe down of walls and floor near food and water bowls.
  • Clean nose and paw prints from windows and door walls
  • Repair damaged screens
  • Touch up paint of scratched or chewed moldings

Get to the Groomer

This is a perfect time to pamper your pet and take them in for a grooming. Get them a good washing and brushing. This will help preserve and maintain the progress you’ve made in prepping your home for market. It will be sort of a clean slate for both the house and the pet.

Keep on Top of Maintaining

Once you have everything in tip top shape and ready to open your doors to the buying public, it is important to vacuum and clean floors daily while your home is active on market. And don’t forget to pick up droppings in the yard and clean litter boxes daily too! I know this may be inconvenient for a time, but if you do the prep work well, you’re home will be ready to find a buyer quickly, especially in this fast moving market.

Remove the Pets for Showings

Obviously, you will want to remove the pet(s) from the house for showings. Not only for the reasons above, but also because some people are allergic or quite frankly terrified of some animals. Be sure to plan ahead to make arrangements. Maybe you can take your pet with you when you leave the home for showings yourself. Or perhaps you can arrange for a neighbor, family or friend to swing by to take them for a ride or walk during showings.

Reap the Rewards

With this focused prep work, you will set your home up to shine. Appealing to the largest number of buyers will give you the greatest opportunity for the greatest number of offers, resulting in the greatest price and terms for the sale of your home.

Thinking about selling? I’d value the opportunity to chat on how much your home could be worth and how I can assist. Contact Me

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