4 Tips for Selling a House with Pets at Home: Cleaning & Showing Strategies
While you may love your pets with all your heart, not everyone likes animals. Trying to sell a home with a pet can be a challenge, but it doesn't have to be—knowing the right tips and tricks can make the process much easier. Understanding why signs of pets might turn some buyers off is the first step to success, and then it's just a matter of keeping everything clean and ready for showings. With the right preparation, your home can be sold both to pet owners and those without.
Why Can Pets Be an Issue for Buyers?
Potential buyers may be put off by the presence of pets when viewing a home. If they're roaming free, the pet's behaviour can be a distraction and may even cause a disruption. Even if they're not visible, the smell of pet odours, or worse, pet accidents, can be off-putting to buyers who may not have pets of their own.
Additionally, the presence of a pet can be a safety concern, especially with certain breeds; some buyers may be allergic to dogs or cats, or simply not be comfortable with the presence of pets. For these reasons, it is important to be aware of what pets may be present during showings and how home buyers may perceive them.
There's also home's marketing. While many people will be glad to hear about amenities like a fenced yard or mudroom, if the listing focuses too heavily on it being a pet-friendly home, it lets everyone—including those uncomfortable with pets—know there's likely been pet-related damage to the home over the years.
Steps for Selling a Home with Pets
Selling your home with pets requires some extra steps to ensure that buyers are not put off by odours or damage. To prepare your home for showings and ensure it's marketable, it's important to remove or repair any damaged items, deodorize and clean all areas, and have a plan for showings.
Talk to Your Real Estate Agent
The first thing you need to do is get in communication with your agent. Find out what the common handling is for people that are selling a house with pets. If you have small caged animals like bunnies or hamsters this is usually not a problem, but if you have a cat or dog, this can raise a few concerns when you are selling your house. Your real estate agent will let you know how they personally handle these situations.
Remove or Repair Items with Pet Damage
Homeowners should assess all areas of their house for signs of pet damage. This includes pet-chewed furniture, stained carpets, and scratched doors or floors. Some items like cushions are easily repaired, but others like a wooden chair might need to be replaced entirely. Even if you've gotten used to seeing the damage, it'll likely be one of the first things a buyer sees when they enter your home.
Don't forget the outdoors, as holes dug by your pet or any damage to plants or grasses will also stand out. This is especially important in the front yard, as it's among the first things visitors notice when arriving.
Remove Pet Odours & Deep Clean Stains
The next step is to remove odours and clean the home. Start by vacuuming carpets, upholstery, and curtains to remove pet hair, dirt, and odours. Wash bedding and dog beds, and clean all pet-related items like food dishes, litter boxes, and toys—though note that you'll want to have these out-of-sight come showings. Open windows to allow fresh air to circulate throughout the home and air fresheners and scented candles in strategic locations can also help.
Cleaning should be done regularly during the selling process to remove all evidence of pets—or as much as you can. You can always consider hiring a professional cleaner to get the job done quickly and efficiently.
Have a Plan for Pets During Showings & Open Houses
One of the most important things to remember when selling a home with pets is to have a plan for when your real estate agent is going to show your home. If possible, it would be best to have the pets out of the house entirely. That way, they won't be alarmed by strangers, and potential buyers who are uncomfortable with pets won't be driven away.
If a pet has to stay in the home, inform any visitors that there are pets living in the house. Have a designated area where the pet can go when potential buyers are viewing the home, and put away food bowls, kennels, and toys so that it's easier for buyers to forget the pet is there.
What About Loud Neighbourhood Dogs?
Potential buyers may be just as concerned about neighbour's dogs as they are about the pets living in the home. No one wants to hear constant barking, after all. If your neighbour's dog barks a lot, you can ask your neighbour if they can keep the dog inside when you know you have showings. You can even offer to pay for a dog walker or doggy daycare.
If nothing else, do what you can to reduce the noise heard in your home. Keeping windows closed and having white noise like fountains or quiet background music are some simple ideas. While this may help during showings and open houses, you shouldn't lie to buyers if they ask about neighbourhood dogs barking.
Preparing to Sell a House With Pets
While selling a house with pets at home creates more things to be aware of, following the tips and tricks outlined can help make the process easier. Taking the time to address any potential pet-related issues with the home can help set a successful sale in motion. With the right preparation, home sellers can create a smooth, stress-free experience for everyone involved—even buyers who aren't pet owners themselves.