Tips for Selling a House When Your Kids have Paws and Tails and Squishy Noses..
As pet owners we know our fur kids are members of the family. Sometimes we'd rather spend our time with them more than we want to see human family! But when it comes to selling your house quickly and for the right price, it's time to think like a Business person and strategize ways to protect your peace of mind when it comes to the fur kids AND make your house as compelling and attractive as possible.
Things to think about as you're getting ready to list your home:
- Does your dog try to escape everytime the door gets opened?
- Does your dog jump up on people when they walk in?
- Will you be home during every showing? Usually your Realtor• shows your home and in some areas of the country houses have a lockbox, meaning other Realtors•, people you don't even know, will be coming into your home
- Does your cat like to jump up on peoples laps?
- Is your dog a big baby but look like Cujo? Will he/she scare a buyer half to death just by saying hello?
Not to worry, a little careful planning and forethought can make everything go smoothly.
First things first. What do you need to do to protect the safety of both your pet and the people coming to see your house?
Dogs should be crated or taken to doggy day care or left with a friend on days that you have showings scheduled. If you're not going to be home to reassure your guardian that these people aren't coming in to murder you it may be wise to just remove the dog for the day. Showings are usually scheduled 24 hours in advance, but if you are able to have a couple days a week where your agent knows they can show at a moments notice, that gets your property in front of more people which could mean the different between a sale and that buyer buying the house down the street!
How does your House Smell?
The sense of smell has been found to be an important factor in purchasing decisions. The sense of smell conjures of memories and can trigger strong reactions in people. Be honest with yourself, or ask someone who loves you and the furkids to be brutally honest with you; does your house smell like wet dog or a litter box?
The dog should be groomed pretty regularly during the Listing period if that's an option for you financially. Keep all the dog blankets and dog beds clean, get carpets cleaned, make sure your house is aired out. If your dog has accidents and you have carpeting, think about whether carpet removal or replacement is an option. Nothing turns a buyer off faster than smell.
Speaking of the Litter Box....
I have three cats of my own and understand the challenges of keeping up with a litter box. It's my experience though that cat odor from a Litter Box is the WORST offender on the bad smells list, even for people who have cats!
Buyers tend to worry that there is a cat that is "spraying" in the house and the odor is permanent. Not very exciting for a buyer looking for a new property, is it?
The rule of thumb (or so I've read) is to have one box per cat plus a spare. If you can't do that, consider a litter waste system that helps you keep the box clean at all times. I like Litter Champ because it reduces odor and mess. The litter box will need to be completely spotless at all times and ESPECIALLY for a scheduled showing.
Find a place you can tuck the litter box out of sight but where kitty can find it easily. Give kitty time to adjust and hope for the best! Diligence is your friend and will show up in your bottom line.
Pet Fashion and Gear
Let's face it - we buy a LOT of stuff for our pets. I have two toy boxes for one very busy Jack Russell Terrier and there is stuff EVERYWHERE!
Pick it up. Narrow it down to their favorites. Put the beds and the blankets and the balls and the couch covers and the laser lights and all the other fun stuff you've collected AWAY.
Here's an idea, it's really fun to take the pets to the store and buy them stuff. Why not take this opportunity to clean out your collection, take the gently used items to the animal shelter, toss the rags that are no longer recognizable and start fresh in your new place?
Toss the dog beds and blankets into the wash regularly during your showing periods, they hold a lot of odor that you might not notice anymore.
Organize and clean food and water bowls. Tuck water bowls out of the way so people don't step in them or knock them over.
Pet Fur and Allergies
Pets shed, whether you see it any more in your house or not, they shed. I for one am always slight furry whether it's from one of the cats insisting on a morning hug or the dog sleeping in my lap while I write helpful blogs about dogs.
Some people have such intense cat allergies they will start sneezing the second they walk into a house. If that happens, it's probably not going to be a sale. Luckily they're not the majority.
Vacuum, vacuum, vacuum and vacuum. Do it a lot. If you have more than one animal, or an animal with long hair I'd suggest vacuuming every single day. Have Swiffer dusters around so you can keep dusting from high to low; dust from high spots down to low spots and then to the floor. Then vacuum it all up.
I didn't say this was going to be easy.
In the End....
You just need a good plan. You know your pets better than anyone. Think about how they'll react to a stranger, whether you're there with them (usually not, during a showing) or whether they know and love your agent and you think she'll handle them just fine.
If you're ready to sell your house and you want to talk to a pet loving Pro with lots of experience in this area - call us today!