Fortunately, most of the homes that I show for sale don't have a pet anywhere in site. There is a good reason why that should be the case.
As much as you love Rover or Fluffy, your home buyers don't. Pets are not welcome ambassadors for your property. Quite the opposite. They can drive folks away faster than mauve carpet. It's not that people dislike animals. Some folks are allergic, others are fearful or nervous around strange animals. Whatever the reason, they just don't like them in a home they are considering purchasing. Sorry, but that's the reality.
As a pet owner, if you want to sell your house, please follow these 4 tips:
- Remove pets from the property. I know it's hard, but do it anyway. Either take them with you, board them, send them to live with a relative for a while, ... but get them out. A dog barking at my buyers from the yard or a crate doesn't sound like "arf, arf ... bark, bark". It sounds like "get out ... get out ... get out". Is that the message you want to send buyers?
- Clean. Deodorize. Repeat twice a week. Buyers hate, hate, hate the smell of a pet. You may not smell it because you are desensitized, but they sure will. Don't try to just mask the smell with air fresheners. You need to get rid of it. Smells can be embedded in flooring, ductwork, drapes, furniture, etc. You'll need a thorough cleaning. Cat boxes stink worse than you know. Put them in the garage at the very least.
- Remove all pet "stuff". Don't advertise that this is a pet's home. Hide the pet bowls and toys for every showing. If you wouldn't leave your dirty dishes in the sink, don't leave the food and water bowls in view either. Hide the crate, carrier, cat tree, etc.
- Be fair to your pet and the buyers. If you choose to ignore tip #1 and leave your pet on the premises, at least be nice and fair to everyone. Secure your pet in a crate or outside. Make sure the showing instructions disclose information about the pet. Attach a note to the back door or the crate warning that there is a pet and not to disturb it. You don't always know how your pet will react when locked up and facing strangers. Do everything you can to avoid anyone getting bitten or scratch - and help reduce the stress to your dear pet.