What to Do With Pets When You’re Selling a Home

They say a pet makes a house a home, and we couldn’t agree more! Having a fluffy friend or a scaly pal to spend time with can be incredibly rewarding and make home life that much more fulfilling. But here’s the sad truth: As much as you love your pets, other people probably don’t! If you’re planning to sell your house, knowing what to do with your animal friends is critical.

You don’t have to have an aggressive dog or a giant snake to keep potential buyers from seeing the promise of your home. As many as 15% of people have allergies to various pets, and many more people have phobias of different animals. Some people are just uncomfortable around animals for various reasons. Is it worth losing a buyer over something so easily remedied? 

There are two major considerations regarding pets and selling a house: What to do with your home to repair any damage caused by your pet, and how to handle your pets while the house is on the market. We’ll explore both issues and help you make your home as buyer-friendly as possible without sacrificing quality of life for your pets.

Selling a House With Pets: Cleaning & Repairing

Even if you keep your home meticulously clean, pet smells or damage can add up over time. Potential buyers will want to envision themselves in your home – not you and your pets! Taking the time to remove all signs of pets is well worth it when selling your house, and can often be addressed while carrying out other sale-related home repairs and upgrades.

Make sure you pay special attention to these factors:

  • Eliminate pet odor. Deep clean your carpets and upholstery, consider air fresheners, and keep areas where pets live free from unpleasant smells.
  • Inspect floors for signs of pet damage. In addition to odors, pets can damage flooring. Whether it’s shabby carpet or scratches on hardwood, ensure it’s fixed and in good shape!
  • Clean window treatments & furnishings. One area that can absorb odor (or show damage) is your home’s furniture and curtains. Take the time to repair or replace items that have seen better days.
  • Make windows sparkle. Ensure you’ve fixed any pet-damaged windowscreens and removed any doggy noseprints from your windows.
  • Check baseboards and molding. Excitable and curious pets may have damaged baseboards, doorway molding, and more. Make sure it’s repaired and looks nice!
  • Hide beds & toys. Just like you’d keep kids’ toys out of the way when your house is on the market, you’ll want to stash your pets’ toys and beds as well. Consider designating a bin as a “toybox” that you can easily whisk away during showings.
  • Keep habitats, litterboxes, and food clean. Ensure that any areas that pets use stay neat and tidy while your home is listed for sale.
  • Take care of outdoor spaces. If you have a pet that spends time outdoors, make sure you’re cleaning up after them regularly. Patch any bare spots in your lawn with soil and grass seed if necessary, and make landscaping touch-ups as-needed. 

What to Do With Pets During Home Showings

The next thing to think about if you have pets is what you’ll do with them during showings! You have a few options, but some are more ideal than others. The worst thing you can do is let a pet roam free during showings – your otherwise calm cat may dislike having strangers in the home, for example.

Relocate Your Pet

If you have the option, consider relocating your pet for the entire period that your home is on the market. A family member may be able to take them for a few weeks, or you might consider boarding them. Not only will this help during showings, you’ll also be able to keep your home much cleaner without your pet there.

Head Out of the House

If it’s not feasible to have your pet out of the house entirely, at least try to ensure your pet isn’t home during house showings. If you have a dog, you might find a dog-friendly cafe or park nearby to hang out in. For cats and other critters, camping out in an air-conditioned car may not be fun, but it will keep buyers from being surprised by your pets.

Crated Inside or Outside Your Home

If you have a suitable space outside (like a dog run or a bird aviary) you may be able to have your pets outside during a showing. Other out-of-the-way places like basements or garages may be suitable for a pet in a crate or other habitat. 

Ideally, you’ll be able to secure pets in a familiar habitat or crate. If possible, work with your pets to acclimate them to these spaces in advance of listing your home. 

However, don’t stash pets inside closets or other small spaces – buyers will expect to look through these areas, and being surprised by a pet isn’t a great way to end a house tour. 

Selling Your Home When You Have Pets

While putting your house on the market with pets can be a little more challenging, it’s very doable! After all, every home needs some TLC to look extra-nice when buyers are taking tours. So, just make sure you pay special attention to areas where pets have had an impact, and ensure you’re keeping your loved ones safe during showings!

Looking to list your home this year? Look no further than the local real estate experts at Howard Hanna! Find a real estate professional near you.

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