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If you have pets, you probably consider them members of the family. For prospective homebuyers, they may be sources of fear, or they may trigger negative assumptions about the house. For some people, your pets could even trigger allergic reactions.

Having pets that live in your home might unfortunately cost you when it comes time to sell. Even if the animals are well behaved and the house is spotless, people might assume the pets caused damage or feel intimidated by their presence and walk away with a negative impression of your house.

What to Do With Pets During Home Showings
Your pets should not be present during showings if there’s any way to avoid it. Putting them in the backyard or a locked room is not a good solution since potential buyers will want to see the entire home and property. Being confined and hearing unfamiliar voices and the sounds of people walking through the house could also make pets feel scared. They might react by barking or scratching at the door, which could intimidate buyers.

If your pets can stay with a family member, friend or neighbor, make arrangements as soon as you learn about an upcoming showing. Another option is to board them at a kennel. If your real estate agent schedules a last-minute showing, you might have to take your dog to a park or put your cat in a carrier and go for a drive.

Some real estate agents recommend removing pets from a house entirely while it’s on the market. That can eliminate the possibility of encounters between pets and buyers and allow you to remove any odors and pet hair, but for some people, that is not financially or logistically possible. In addition, the idea of living without their pets, possibly for weeks or months, is troublesome to many pet owners, and being away from home for an extended period of time could be difficult for animals emotionally.

Remove Evidence of Pets From Your House
If your pets will continue to live in your home while it’s on the market, don’t make it obvious that the house has animal residents. Have stained carpets professionally cleaned or replaced. Have the entire house professionally cleaned, if necessary, to remove pet odors that have been absorbed by furniture, curtains and carpets. Frequently clean a cat’s litter box, and vacuum flooring and furniture at least once a day. Put away litter boxes, pet bowls and toys during showings. Clean up the yard, and fill in any holes dug by a dog. Keep any photos of your pets out of view.

Don’t Let Pets Keep You From Selling Your Home
Your pets may be cute and lovable to you, but they might not be in the eyes of prospective homebuyers. Before you show your house, thoroughly clean it to remove evidence of animals and find another place for them to spend some time.