By: Alma Raymer
If four legged “babies” are part of your family, they can create additional challenges when selling your home. We’ve compiled a comprehensive list of decisions you’ll need to make, both as a pet owner and as a home owner to be successful in selling your property.
Whether you are a “dog person,” a “cat person” or have pets of a more exotic nature, your top priority should be to make your home presentable to potential buyers. For some house hunters, evidence of pets inhabiting the property can be a turn off—even if they are pet owners themselves. So here is a quick rundown of items you’ll want to take care of as you prepare to sell your home:
Talk to your Veterinarian
Moving can be just as stressful for your furry friends as it is for you, maybe more so! Make sure you create a plan for your pets that takes their health and safety needs into account. Maybe you have a nervous pet, or one that stresses easily. Consulting with your vet helps ensure the needs of your whole family, including Fluffy, have been considered.
Make a Plan for Your Pet
One of the first obstacles to be resolved is where your pets will go. Develop a temporary lodging plan for your pets the entire time your home is on the market. This includes when it’s photographed, being shown or has an open house. Can someone take care of your pets during this time? Will you need to board them? Can Fido or Furry go to work with you? Can Fido go for a long walk or car ride?
Remember: Potential buyers will want access to the entire property before they make decisions, so creating this plan at an early stage will save you headaches later! You’ll also want to ensure the safety of all potential buyers, real estate agents, and your pets. Thinking this piece through will help to reduce stress for all humans and furry friends involved.
Property Photos & Marketing
Speaking of keeping your animals safe and out of sight, you’ll also want to ensure no pets or evidence of pets end up in your property photos. This means putting pet dishes away, but also making sure no evidence of pet damage—that you’re in the process of repairing—shows up in photos, either.
Make Necessary Repairs & Deep Clean
If you have carpets, you’ll probably need to get these cleaned. If you don’t have many problem spots, this could be as simple as a natural pet deodorizer or enzyme cleaners you can purchase at your local pet store. Tough spots will even come out with a simple 50/50 mix of white vinegar and water, and some hearty elbow grease! Think about hiring professionals to steam clean carpets (ask them to use a pet enzyme cleaner) and other floor surfaces.
Take a close look at how well hardwood floors have stood the test of time. Sand and refinish spots with exceptional wear and tear. Not only will this impress potential buyers, but it increases the overall value of your home!
In addition to flooring, inspect doors, door frames, window sills and frames, and other areas where your pets may have left their mark. You’ll want to touch up these areas and repair any damage before putting your home on the market.
As a pet owner, you’re undoubtedly aware your furniture can also show signs of pet ownership. You’ll want to launder cushion coverings, and keep an eye out for claw or bite marks on wooden furniture (and repair any damage). If your pet is staying in the home during showings and open houses, remember to deep clean daily and do touch ups before each viewing.
You’ll also need to think about deep cleaning all of those little nooks and crannies where stray pet hair or smells could have gotten trapped—think baseboards, bathrooms, even the walls!
Consider Replacing Flooring
If all the elbow grease in the world or professional carpet cleaners aren’t powerful enough to remove pet odors or carpet stains, you’ll need to replace carpets or other flooring. If you are replacing flooring, consider going with quality materials that endure wear and tear and increase property value; bamboo stands up well to pet nails and other sharp objects, and is visually appealing! On a tighter budget, consider laminate flooring or cork options that won’t show as much wear as carpet.
Once all of your repairs and touch ups are complete, you’ll want to deep clean your home so it smells nice and fresh—no pet smells! We recommend you replace air filters and anything else that serves as a not-so-friendly reminder Fluffy lives here. Consider using an air purifier or a house fan with a HEPA filter that absorbs odor-causing particles like dander and allergens.
This helps potential buyers imagine themselves in your home. A deep clean and freshening up of your home helps potential buyers feel confident about taking the next step to making your property their next home without concerns for their health as well. You never know who may have allergies to your best friend.
Take a look at your home’s exterior to see if it is in good shape for that oh-so-important curb appeal. Besides verifying the outside is tidy (no evidence of pet business in the yard!), fill in any holes your beloved Fido dug. You could fill these in with sod, mulch, and some seasonal flowers, or even a shrub. Also remember to replace any damaged shrubs or plants sweet Fido gets ahold of as well! If you have a pet run or other permanent fixture that won’t be removed, spend some time to thoroughly clean these areas. To some buyers this may be an asset.
Last but not least, don’t forget about your neighbors’ pets. Potential buyers may be turned off by a snarling dog at the fence. Consider asking your neighbors if they’re willing to keep Fido inside during showings and open houses. If not, offer to pay a walker to come and give their furry friend an exercise!
Clearly, there is a lot of work ahead for pet owners as they prepare to sell their home. But the investment of time and money will pay off big in the end; the finished work will increase your property value, as well as the perception of your property for potential buyers.