If you have your house on the market for sale, these dog days of summer can be a slow times for showings. Buyers may be on vacation or getting the kids ready to go back to school. But did you ever consider that your pets could be discouraging second showings and the desirability of your home? If you want to get top dollar for your home – read on so you properly prepare your home to be “pet perfect” before that first buyer walks through your door.
In the heat of the summer, pet odors become more pronounced and landscaping is less likely to hold up to pet urine and damage. During showings you only have one chance to make a good first impression, so you don’t want your prospective buyer distracted by barking dogs or kitty litter odor. Remember that while a buyer may love their dog or cat – they don’t necessarily love yours. And they certainly won’t want to take ownership of a property with your pet’s burn spots on the lawn, crushed flowers, ripped screens, or stains in the carpet.
Just as many owners “stage” their homes with new furniture before going on the market, sellers should also think about “erasing all signs” of their pet’s presence too. Some agents recommend that sellers temporarily relocate their animals until closing, but as a pet lover I can’t suggest something that I would not do myself. (However, if you have multiple pets, or they are sick or aggressive, you really should find another place for them while you are selling your home.)
Cats and dogs pose different challenges in terms of their impact on the property and their appeal during showings:
Dogs can be more destructive to a home with digging, scratching and potential “accidents” which can be messy. Dogs can also be aggressive when a stranger comes into their territory and any barking, growling, or jumping is unacceptable to a buyer walking in. Buyers often schedule showings when coming or going from work, so your dog should not be a “greeter” who potentially soils their clothing with slobber or dog hair.
Cat allergies are twice as common as dog allergies. And while both dogs and cats shed dander, cats tend to climb everywhere in the house, spreading their allergens to upholstered furniture, flooring, kitchen counters, tables, etc. And due to the coyote threat, most Malibu cats are indoor pets, so a closed home with cat dander and kitty litter odor can be unappealing.
So here are some tips:
Pre-Listing Home Prep: No pet damage!
- Wall-to-wall Carpeting: replace any stained or older carpet and pads ideally with stone, tile or wood flooring. Otherwise have carpeting & area rugs professionally cleaned.
- Repair and paint any scratches on moldings, doors, or walls.
- Patch lawn spots with new sod and fill in any holes with new plants.
- Store all non essential pet toys and equipment, and leave out only one pet photo.
- Buy a portable HEPA air filter or add an air cleaner & filter to your central heating and air conditioning system. Run for 5 or more hours to help remove pet allergens from the air.
- Vacuum and thoroughly clean your home including all furniture & linens. Have a neutral third party do a “whiff test” of your home.
Stock up on necessary supplies:
- NaturVet makes a number of great pet & home products. For dogs, training sprays, like “Off Limits” and “Potty Here,” will help in the long run. Short term, the “Grass Saver Supplement” and “Yellow to Green Lawn Spray” will help with sod urine spots. For cats, try their allergy grooming products, and training spray products like “No Go,” “No Scratch,” and “No Mark.”
- Deodorizer: OdorLogic “CleanAway” and OdorLogic “OxyQuick” (for fresh stains) boast it’s the most advanced pet stain and odor remover on the market. Sold at many retailers including Amazon.com.
- Windex & paper towels to clean off nose & paw prints off glass door.
- Carpet cleaner for new accidents.
- Lint rollers for hair.
- Swifter Disposable Mop and Vacuum bags.
- Pet poop baggies, kitty litter and grooming products.
- Place new, nice smelling herbal soaps in kitchen & bathrooms and essential oil candles in living rooms and bedrooms.
- Prep an area out of the house & out-of-sight to store kitty litter boxes, dog potty pads, pet beds, bowls & toys.
- Wash feeding bowls in the dishwasher and clean litter boxes frequently.
- Clean and vacuum daily.
- Walk the yard to make sure their are no “pet bombs” on the grass for people to step in!
- Bring your animals with you and leave for showings. Don’t leave them in the back yard to bark, or in a garage or closed room with a note on the door.
Note: I did not address smaller caged animals, amphibians and reptiles; like birds, bunnies, hamsters and other rodent-like species, snakes, turtles, frogs and fish. But the same rules about cleanliness and odors apply and it is best to cover the cage for showings. No need to cover a pretty fish tank though, as long as the tank is crystal clear and clean.
Persistence will pay off as long as you keep-up your pet grooming and house cleaning!