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Selling Your Home? What to do with Your Pets Before Showings

It can almost be impossible to find someone who doesn’t love pets. After all, who can’t help but adore that dog or cat that you own? However, when it comes to selling your home, pets and perfectly staged houses don’t really mix. Even if you’ve gotten used to that strong stench of litter odor and try your best to hide that pee stain on the carpet, any prospective buyer will notice it right away. It’s these kinds of mishaps that can easily lead the buyer to justify a lower offering price, no matter how cute your pet may be. 

In general, you’ll want to keep any evidence of a pet out of a buyer’s awareness so that you can maximize your property’s selling potential. So, before you begin showing your home off in all its beauty, take a look at these key tips on how to sell a home with pets. 

  • Address the Smells

As you might already know, those foul odors that our pet’s waste products create aren’t exactly the most pleasant. Even if your nose might have already accepted the fumes, they have a knack of seeping into our household items like rugs, furniture, and even our walls. To get rid of these smells, it’s not enough to simply grab a Febreze or a strong perfume and spray it all over the place. You’ll want to specifically invest in a pet-specific deodorizer or enzyme cleaner that can go one step further in eliminating the smells rather than just covering them up. It’s also a great idea to replace any air filters that have been in place for a long time and add a fan into the mix.

  • Get Cleaning

This deep cleaning will be the same as any other, except you’ll want to specifically keep your pet in mind. This means grabbing the lint rollers and getting rid of those large hairballs that wouldn’t have fazed you in the past. You’ll also want to throw your slipcovers, curtains, and items that your pet might have slept on into the washer. For those pesky stains, take a look at this guide by the Humane Society to take care of them in a jiffy. 

  • Get Rid of the Evidence

Even though this step might sound like you’re trying to clean up a crime scene, it’s much more innocent than that. As you get ready to put your home on the market and show it to interested buyers, you’ll want to remove any evidence that you have a pet. Be sure to store away those food bowls and hide the litter box away. Keep those dog chew bones in a cabinet and keep those scratching posts in the storage closet if need be. By getting rid of the evidence that you own a pet, visitors won’t suspect a thing. 

  • Repair Those Damages

Investing your own money into damage repair might seem like a headache, but it’ll pay off greatly when your buyers give you the highest offer price possible. To present your home in its best condition, make a list of all the places where your pet has caused damage. This includes any chipped wooden doors, scratched floors, and shredded up furniture. A home has to create that stellar first impression, so you’ll want to keep these damages well out of sight. In order to keep your costs at a minimum, you can invest in some paint and a little filler. For those harder to tackle scratches, try adding some coconut or walnut oil to wipe them away. Beyond merely repairing those pet damages alone, you’ll also be adding more value to your entire house.

  • Keep the Pet Out of Sight

You might think your pet will charm the socks off any prospective buyers, but that usually doesn’t turn out to be the case. That’s why it’s in your best interest to keep them well out of sight if possible. For a tamer pet such as a cat, keeping it in the basement or the garage within a carrier is a do-able option. However, the best choice of action might be to take your pet outdoors on a walk or to the park while the real estate agent comfortably shows off the home. You can also drop them off at a friend’s house or a dog sitter for a couple of hours. 

  • Tidy Up the Yard

While the inside of the home may be the most important factor when it comes to cleaning up evidence of any pets, you certainly don’t want to forget about the exterior and the backyard as well. If you let your pet free-range your surrounding yard, it’s important that you repair any damages done to the holes they’ve created, that empty grass patch, or those front bushes and flowers they could have desecrated. By giving your curb appeal some love, you’ll be able to lock in that first impression that drops the jaws of your prospective buyers. 

  • Bathe and Bathe Again

Before you remove any pets from your property for those pivotal showing hours, you’ll want to continuously bathe them so their smells won’t re-attach themselves to the inside air. If you owe a cat, chances are that they’ll bathe themselves well enough. On the other hand, if you own an active dog, you’ll have to get your hands just a little more dirty. So, get the suds ready to start scrubbing away! 

Final Thoughts

At the end of the day, it can always be helpful to invite a friend in and get their honest opinion on what they notice. As soon as they give you the stamp of approval, you’ll be well on your way for a successful home staging and selling process. The cherry on top of it all is that at the end of the day, you’ll maximize your home’s value, have a better smelling pet, and won’t have to deal with so much annoying pet fur. Who doesn’t love that?

Here at the Brian Burds Home Selling Team, our team of experts are able to guide through every part of the home selling process. Whether you’re selling a home with pets or without, we’ll help you obtain your best offer yet. 


Brian Burds

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