Selling a home when you’ve got pets.

Pets can present a sticky situation when you’re preparing to sell a home. Giving them an extended vacation might not be the most practical solution, but many real estate agents recommend removing “evidence” of your four-legged loved ones from your home to enhance its appeal to potential buyers. Below are some tips to make your pet-friendly home a little more visitor-friendly.


Start with a critical inspection and then repair the damage

Ask a friend or someone who doesn’t live in your home to give it a good inspection. They’re more likely to pick up on damages—including furniture scratches or missing linoleum—that you don’t notice. Inventory those damages and repair them. Any blemishes send up red flags about a home’s care. Also, we get used our home’s true odors, and an “outsider” can sniff out concerns.


Deep clean

Board pets at a kennel or with a friend, and then hire someone to deep clean carpets and floors. Clean vents of fur and fluff. Dry-clean curtains and drapes. If your carpets have pet stains, replace them. It’s incredibly difficult to remove pet odor from fibers, but there are some cleaners that use natural enzymes to more successfully deodorize cat urine.


Clean the yard

If your dog loves the yard, tidy it up. Fill in holes he’s dug and repair fence damage. Scan the yard prior to each showing so you can find and dispose of unwanted surprises.


Remove other signs of your pet’s presence

Designate a place to store pet food, litter boxes, pet beds, toys, food and water dishes, and other accessories during a showing. Seal up dog doors and stash crates and carriers elsewhere, too.


Clean some more!

After you’ve deep-cleaned the house, get in the habit of wiping down all surfaces and vacuuming/ sweeping daily to prevent pet fur build-up. Cover furniture with sheets if your pets like to chill on couches and chairs for an easy cleanup before buyers tour your home.



When you’re taking down personal photos, don’t forget to remove pictures of your pets, too. Even if your house smells amazing and outshines the sun, some home buyers are still turned off if they catch even a hint that a pet lives in a home.


General staging tips

Work with your realtor to stage your home. Realtors suggest that besides a deep cleaning, you declutter and store as much “stuff”—extra furniture, clothes out of season, everything stashed in the attic and basement—to enhance a home’s space.


Don’t neglect the importance of curb appeal. Retouch the trim on your house, spruce up the porch with some new paint, replace the screen door and plant flowers in the front and back to add pops of color.


On open house day or when potential buyers tour your home, open the windows (weather permitting) to air it out. Open the curtains and turn on the lamps. Give everything a quick wipe down, vacuuming or sweep.


Happy ending

Although you’re attached to your home, buyers have no emotional attachment—yet. Anticipate what they’re seeking—a clean, organized space—and create a buyer-friendly atmosphere that welcomes animal lovers and non-animal lovers alike.




Market to pet owners

A 2017 National Association of Realtors study found that 31 percent of dog and cat owners “often” or “very often” refuse to submit an offer on a home that isn’t an ideal match for their pets. Fenced in yards are critical to 91 percent of buyers with pets. Sixty-six potential buyers look for laminate or other pet-friendly flooring. Over 30 percent of home buyers look for homes close to walking paths or dog parks. Since 61 percent of US households either owned or planned to adopt a pet—and homeowners spend an estimated three times as much on their pets as renters, consider targeting this large demographic.


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