Sixty-Eight percent of all U.S. households owned a pet, according to a recent survey by the American Pet Products Association. That means that if you’re selling a home, odds are you will have a pet.
But pets can hurt you when selling a home, especially if you don’t take steps to get your house ready from seeming like a dog or cat is running around. A good idea might even be to get your pet out for a while—such as keeping them with a family member or friend during open houses or home showings.
Some may argue that a pet is one of the family and there’s nothing wrong with a pet running around a home. But house hunters who don’t like pets or are afraid of them, might be put off by a pet when they come look at the house.
Or, someone who is an animal lover might devote so much attention to the pet, that they might not see your home for what it is. And that could be even worse.
And if we’re talking worst-case scenarios, a pet might bite or scratch a prospective buyer, setting you up for a lawsuit and naturally ending any chance of a sale.
But if you don’t want to move Fido or Mittens out of the home, you should at least take them for a walk or to the park on weekends when people come to showings.
You can also schedule a pet daycare or grooming appointment when people are coming by. The more people in the home, the more likely the animal is to be distracting. Most important, with so many people coming in and out of the house, you don’t want to worry about a dog getting out.
As for the house itself, be sure to fix or hide any damage that your pet may have caused. Spills around a water bowl or hair on the furniture are all parts of living with a pet, so be sure to vacuum thoroughly and clean as best you can.
Next, put food bowls away, dump out any litter (and bring the box to the garage) if you have cats, and put any toys neatly away.
Open windows to let in fresh air and remove any pet odors, utilize air fresheners and products that remove pet odors from carpets and furniture.
Once done, invite a neighbor over for an honest assessment if there are odors in the home, as often it can be difficult for a pet owner to notice smells caused by the animal themselves.
Another great tip is not to forget the outside. Fill any holes your dog might have dug up. Get rid of any plants or decorations a dog might have chewed. And it goes without saying that any messes from a pet need to be cleaned up. Do all this, and you and your pets will be barking or meowing with joy in no time at all.