Pets can present a big challenge when you're trying to sell your home. While your puppy, cat or ferret may be a welcome member of the family at any other time, a pet can get in the way during the home sale process - and not just because the dog is begging for its favorite chew toy while you're showing buyers around the property.
Not every person who visits your home will be a pet person. This may be due to an aversion to animals or an allergy. In either case, you need to ensure your pet's presence in the home doesn't deter buyers from falling in love with the house. Additionally, from the home inspection to the open house, there will be a lot of strangers roaming around your home, which could upset your pet.
Here are some tips for minimizing your animal's impact on the sale:
Find temporary housing for your pet
Although your dog may be used to curling up at the foot of your bed every evening, it may be in your best interest to relocate it to another home while you're showing your property to buyers. When guests arrive, you won't have to worry about Fido being underfoot while they peruse the kitchen and bathrooms.
This strategy may also be helpful for your pet. If you're hosting an open house, there could be a large number of unfamiliar people in the house. Depending on the personality of your furry friend, the new faces could be scary. Not only do you want to avoid stress for your pet, but you also want to prevent it from behaving poorly because it is anxious.
Of course, this tip is dependent on the type of animal you have. Reptiles and fish, for example, may not cause as many issues as dogs or a territorial cat.
Don't lock your pet in a room
Some homeowners think it is a good idea to hide their four-legged friends in a small room while buyers tour the house. However, this strategy can be ineffective for two reasons: Buyers will open every door while they do their walkthroughs, and your pet may make distracting noises from behind the door. Imagine what your guests may think if they go to open a door and are met with a loud bark from your German Shepherd.
Clean up pet-related messes
While animals can be fun and cuddly, they can also do a number on a home. While staging your house for an open house, pay attention to messes that resulted from your pet, such as mud tracked in from outside. Also, don't forget to eliminate odors. After some time, you may have become accustomed to your pet's smells, but buyers may not be as fond of the scents.
Furthermore, improve the air quality in your house. Pet dander can hang in the air for long time, and you don't want to upset a guest's allergies. Dust and vacuum to remove loose pet hair. If your carpet has any set-in stains, consider renting a steam cleaner or hiring a service to give it a deep clean.
Place litter boxes somewhere out of sight and sweep up any litter that is on the floor. Do the same for pet pads or soiled bedding for smaller animals.
Prepare for a showing at a moment's notice
You never know when your real estate agent is going to call about a buyer who wants to see the home. If you only have a hour to get the house ready, you want to be prepared to move your pet in a hurry. Keep your phone ringer on to catch any calls from your agent and have all the necessary supplies - leashes, carriers and harnesses - ready to go.