When potential buyers tour your house, they want to be able to picture themselves in it. While you may not think a house is a home without a four-legged furry friend, there are many people out there who are turned off by the idea of pets. They may have a phobia, allergy, or just a simple aversion to dogs and cats. To make sure those people still see your house as a viable option, it’s important to stage your home in a way that minimizes your cat’s or your dog’s presence.
The Problem with Pets
Many pets — especially dogs — become anxious and territorial when strangers enter their house. The home is a safe and comfortable space for them that they are inclined to protect. Your dog may react to potential buyers by barking, howling, or even biting the guest. That’s unacceptable. A dog bite is also a legal liability that can cost you thousands of dollars.
Instead of risking your dog’s reaction when you’re showing the house, consider hiring a pet sitter or boarding your dog on days you plan to show. This way, the people viewing your home are safe and undisturbed while they picture themselves in the home. If you can’t get your dog to the sitter’s in time for an unscheduled showing, have an area of the home ready for him where he can be safe and out of the way.
Making Sure Your Home is Clean for Showing
Once you’ve figured out where your pets should go during a showing, it’s important to make sure your home is as clean and sanitary as possible, which is just that much more work when you have pets.
- Put up toys, food bowls, leashes, etc. whenever you have potential buyers coming over. Designate a closet or cabinet where you can easily store them and get them back out when they are needed.
- Have your carpet professionally cleaned or do a deep clean DIY style. Have this done every month while you are showing your home and vacuum carpet and rugs every day or consider investing in a robot vacuum that automatically catches dust and hair for you.
- In addition to your carpet, have your curtains and furniture upholstery professionally cleaned to remove pet hair and dander. It can be surprisingly affordable– the average price to clean upholstery and furniture in San Diego is $121 – $212 and takes approximately 3 hours.
- Buy an air purifier that captures pet allergens and odors and filters through clean, breathable air.
- If your dog wreaks havoc on your backyard, fill in holes, pick up his destroyed toys, and clean up any… ahem, personal messes he leaves behind.
- If you have a cat, be sure to scoop his litter box and sweep the area around it at least once a day and always before a scheduled showing.
On the Other Hand …
While clearing your home of pet evidence before showing is a good general rule of thumb for most people, don’t be afraid to advertise your home’s pet amenities if your realtor thinks it can help in your market. Cities like Austin and Seattle attract millions of dog lovers every year. Sharing your home’s big, dog friendly backyard, pet door, and nearby amenities like parks or a doggy daycare may attract certain potential buyers. Talk to your realtor about what is right for your home and market.
While your pet makes your house a home, you don’t necessarily want to advertise that when you’re getting ready to put it on the market. Consider boarding your dog or hiring a pet sitter to watch him when you have a showing scheduled. Put up all his things and clean the home thoroughly to remove any traces of pet hair, allergens, and odors. While you want to make your house look like no pets live there, don’t be afraid to advertise its pet friendly amenities if your realtor thinks it can help in your market.
By: Cindy Aldridge