“Pets are either an attractive distraction … or smelly, frightening, or otherwise off-putting,” says Diane Saatchi, a real estate broker.
Pet-proof your place when preparing to show it for sale. Here are six simple steps to follow:
1. Check your insurance
Although you know your pets would never hurt anyone, they could scratch or bite a potential buyer whom they mistake for an intruder on their territory. You could be held liable, so make sure your homeowners insurance covers you for incidents like these.
However, if your insurer won’t provide coverage because of a pet they deem vicious or aggressive, it’s best to keep the pet out of the house during a showing.
2. Prepare your yard
Buyers will walk around your yard, a stroll that will be ruined if they step in poop or turn an ankle where your dog likes to dig. Perform a poop patrol before each showing. Double-bag the waste before disposing, so your garbage cans don’t smell when buyers walk by. Fill all holes and sprinkle grass seed on top.
Before putting your house on the market, make sure your yard is a green oasis. You can try to aerate and seed bare spots, or replace ugly patches with new sod.
3. Remove the odors
Removing pet odors is a challenge. It’s easy to clean and tuck away kitty’s litter box, but harder to erase years of piddle from rugs and hardwood.
If a bacteria-eating pet odor remover doesn’t banish all traces of cat or dog urine, hire a professional service to clean carpets or rugs. Or if a carpet continues to reek, replace it before buyers trek through.
Clean turtle, hamster, and guinea pig cages frequently, to prevent odors. And a daily swipe with an eraser sponge will do the trick in the fish tank.
4. Clean up the hair
Not only does a layer of pet hair on floors and sofas make your home look messy, it can trigger allergies and send potential buyers sneezing and wheezing out the door.
Before each showing, vacuum and dust to remove any settled hair or dander. Or, consider buying a vacuuming robot (such as a Roomba) that you can schedule to suck up hair several times a day. They actually work.
If your pet sheds, brush him frequently outside, so the hair doesn’t fly around the house. Bathing can help minimize shedding, too.
5. Hide the evidence
Put away leashes, collars, toys, water bowls, food, cute sweaters and costumes. No matter how adorable you may think the pet toys are, to buyers, it’s just clutter. Wash pet beds to remove odors and dirt, and only display them if they’re attractive.
6. Say goodbye to your pets (just for a while!)
If you decide to leave your dogs or cats at home, either crate them or confine them to a special area of the house, and make sure your real estate agent knows where they are. Keep them busy with interactive toys or long-lasting treats.
But it’s best for everyone if you can find a playdate or temporary sitter for your pet before a showing. Talk to your veterinarian, who can help you ease your pet’s transition to a temporary new home.
Source: “6 Essential Steps for Selling a Home With Pets,” (realtor.com, Oct. 2016)