Let me preface this by saying, I am a pet lover. I have a dog and a cat. However, my dog likes to stick his nose up people’s behinds and my cat is prone to biting men unprovoked and running out any open exterior door like a psycho flash of lightning. My pets are great, but they have some eccentricities and not everyone loves them like I do, so I am sure to put them up when I have visitors. I always stress to my sellers the importance of “pet maintenance” during the time their home is offered for sale. Pets are not everyone’s cup of tea, some folks have pet hair allergies or are just not into them at all. That is their prerogative. However, what you do want them to be into is your home becoming theirs! So, make it easier for yourself (long-term, anyway) and do some preventative “pet maintenance” before each showing so you can sell your home quickly and for top dollar!
“PET MAINTENANCE” TIPS FOR SELLING YOUR HOME WITH PETS:
- Step 1 – BE HONEST
If the house smells like a litter box, the humane society or like wet dogs, its not going to do you any favors at showings. Sometimes, we don’t know that our home has pet odors. I suggest that you directly ask your real estate agent—“Does my house stink?” Your REALTOR has the same end goal as you do—to sell fast and for top dollar. It is an uncomfortable situation, but believe me, all agents have seen worse, so don’t be embarrassed. If you are not comfortable asking your agent, ask a close friend or family member—tell them to be honest and don’t hold it against them! Your first job is to identify any odors and where they are coming from and get a game plan to combat the odors/problems!)
(Real Life example: I once was a buyer’s agent on a home in a very prestigious neighborhood. The home was very nice, spacious and had several upgrades as compared to others in the neighborhood—except it had blue cat pee soaked carpets throughout the ENTIRE house….I was able to negotiate $30,000 off the asking price because most other buyers/agents left as soon as the front door was opened. Most of the other potentials never even made it past the entryway. YES…you read that right….THIRTY THOUSAND DOLLAR CAT PEE! It cost about $10k for new carpet for the buyers. Buyer WIN!—but learn from this…would you rather give away $30K or spend $10k to make $20k higher profit?—note that not all carpets need replacing. This was a very bad case of Cat Pee….)
- Step 2 – GAME PLAN & ACTION
Start targeting your problem areas. Invest in a good deodorizer—not a smell masker, hire professional carpet cleaners (ask about their pet enzyme treatments, if needed), clean up all pet areas thoroughly and on a daily basis. Showings can happen at any time—don’t be caught off guard. If your pets roam free while you are out of the house, then it may be wise to ask for 1-2 hour showing notice. Discuss the pros & cons of requesting notice from your real estate agent.
- Step 3 – RIGHT BEFORE A SHOWING
Since you’ve already targeted any problem areas and have been keeping up with your daily pet maintenance tasks, now all you’ve got to do is a few things right before every showing.
- Hide Pet Paraphernalia – If possible, remove litter boxes, bowls, cages, etc before a showing.
- Don’t forget the yard!!- Poo Poo Pe Doop! Don’t forget to pick up pet waste from the yard daily—don’t let a last minute “Hello!” from your pet end up on a potential buyer’s shoe and kill the sale!
- Take the pet out—If at all possible, take the pet out of the home during the showing. Go for a walk, go to the pet store, go to the dog park…just GO!
- Kennel – if you cannot (for whatever reason) remove your pet during showings, make every effort to put your pet in a kennel or crate. (I am not a fan of this either, but its only for brief periods of time…and has big payouts for you!)
Is all this an ordeal? ABSOLUTELY! Is it worth it in the end? ABSOLUTELY. If you price right and reduce any odors or perceived defects of the home, with any luck you will not have to keep your Pet friendly home “showing ready” for too long!
Ready to sell your pet’s palace in Palestine, Texas? Give me a call, I will tell you if it stinks and we need to deodorize! 😉 I’d love to give you a free market valuation to help determine your property’s proper price point! Call/ Text or Email Me!
Lisa E. Priest is a Texas REALTOR® / Real Estate Agent with Picket Fence Realty, Inc. in Palestine, Texas. You can reach her via voice / text: 903-948-3343 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org