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How to Sell a Home When You Have Pets

  • November 18, 2018
  • By Cody Battershill

7 Steps to Selling Your Home When You Have Petsselling your home when you have pets

If you have pets and are looking to sell your home, you aren’t alone! According to the Alberta Government, more than 57% of households in Canada own pets, which equates to about 7.5 million Canadians!

Sometimes pet-friendly features can be just the thing a potential buyer wants. But some things that buyers won’t enjoy are the sights, sounds and smells of a pet while viewing your home.

Potential buyers visualize themselves in your home space; smelling cat litter, seeing fluff balls or hearing loud barks during a showing doesn’t necessarily help them do that by any means.

Truth is that selling your home when you have pets can be a great challenge as you may not know exactly what to do with your pets. That’s why we’ve created this sellers guide to help you sell your home with pets the next time around.

Why Don’t Buyers Want to See / Smell / Hear Your Pet?people question mark

Fear – Some people have fears of certain pets which can make then very uncomfortable. Just because you grew up with a harmless, cute little Bijon Shih Tzu named Oliver and enjoyed family outings at the zoo every summer doesn’t mean everyone else did too.

Anxiety – The last thing you want when your home is showing is for a potential buyer to be anxious because of the presence of your pet. You want a buyer to focus on the walls, the space and everything in between undisturbed as they visualize living in your home.

Unpredictability – While you may feel like you know how your pet will act with strangers, you just don’t know for sure. Pets are not always predictable in the presence of strangers, especially dogs who feel it is their duty to protect your home.

Your pets aren’t theirs – They may have pets of their own; if so, let the judging and comparisons begin! They might think that yours are aggressive, loud and may bite, but theirs would never do such things or act in such ways.

#1 - Relocate Your Petsselling your home when you have pets relocation

The most important thing to do during a showing is to relocate your pets completely. That could include any of the following:

  • Taking your dog for a walk
  • Putting your cat in a carrier in a car
  • Bringing your pet with you in the car to do errands
  • Dropping your pet off at a friend’s house
  • Boarding your pet at a kennel / daycare clinic

If there’s a frequent number of showings within a few days, the last option might be your best when selling your home with pets as it will same you time and hassle.

Relocating your dog, for example, to the rear garage may be an option as well, but barking may intimidate potential buyers. Just remember that it’s always best to remove your pets completely from the vicinity.

Pet Liability

You are responsible for what your pet does! If your pet happened to bite someone viewing your home, it would not only spell catastrophe for that person’s interest in your home, but it may also end up in a lawsuit.

Yes, that’s right! You may be sued if something like that were to occur, which is why removing your pet all together from your home is the best when it comes time for showings and open houses.

#2 – Clean Up Pet Messes

Cleaning up after your pet(s) is obviously something you’ll want to do long before the day of a showing. Clean-up tasks include:

  • Sweeping, dusting and vacuuming to remove pet hair
  • Cleaning windows, floors and doors to remove paw prints
  • Using a lint roll on bed sheets, curtains and clothing
  • Tidying and organizing designated pet areas
  • Removing as much pet paraphernalia as possible

The last point is your best bet. Eliminating all traces of your pet(s) means less clutter and a tidier home.

Once you’re done cleaning up after your pets, gauge your clean job by asking yourself: does it look like there’s been a pet in here at all? If the answer is no, then you’re set!

#3 - Repair Pet Damagehow to sell your house when you have pets

Repairing damage done by your pets is the next step after cleaning. Look for necessary (and noticeable) repairs such as:

  • Scratches on drywall and hardwood
  • Markings on baseboards
  • Stains on carpet
  • Yellow-stained grass
  • Permanent odours

Remember that it’s best to not try and mask odours as some air flow and time is all it takes for them to come back.

A deep clean at the source of the smell in combination with an air purifier usually does the trick. You can also try using enzyme cleaners, or if you’re desperate, call a professional cleaning company.

#4 – When You Can’t Relocate Your Pet…

Many home sellers simply refuse to relocate their pets all together. If this is you, then you should at least try to remove some of these objections and nuisance factors when it comes to selling your home when you have pets. Remove things all together such as:

  • Dog training pads and cat litter boxes
  • Cat trees, dog kennels, cat carriers
  • Animal play toys of any kind
  • Pet odours and smells of any kind
  • Pet food and anything else related

A garage or outdoor shed is probably the best place for smelly items. Make sure you don’t hide your cat’s litter box in a closet or small confined area as potential buyers will be in for an unpleasant surprise when they open that door!

#5 – Hide Your Pet’s Existence selling your home when you have pets hiding your pet

Taking down pictures of your pets should go hand-in-hand removing any of yourself and your family. Remove the chance of judgement from a potential buyer on you, the home seller, and just do yourself this favour.

This includes any degrees your pet has earned (okay, just kidding!). But you get the idea. It’s all about removing the identity of ownership from the space while a potential buyer is viewing the home to, once again, let them visualize living in your space.

#6 – Clean Your Yard

This goes together with some of the other cleaning tips above, but deserves its own section because of how much time your pet(s) likely spend outdoors.

Some buyers put as much value into the tidiness and upkeep of a home’s outdoor space than that of the interior. Make sure to replace any discoloured grass or fill in dug-up holes and tidy up any pet toys laying around.

#7 – Don’t Forget the Neighbour’s Petshow to sell your home when you have pets neighbour's pets

Now that you have your pets under control, what about your neighbours? A dog that’s barking loudly in a nearby back yard or growling at an entrance way can be a turnoff for buyers.

You can’t control what your neighbours do with their pets, but hopefully you do have good standing with them so that you can request they keep them inside while your home is being showed.

A nice gesture would be to offer to pay for a dog walker during an open house or showing to keep them away. Perhaps dinner on you would be another, all depending on how close you are with your neighbours of course.

Selling Your Home With Pets... No Sweat

Selling your home when you have pets doesn’t have to be a headache. As a pet owner, you’ve already dedicated extra time and energy to taking care of your pet(s), and the same goes for when it comes time to sell your home.

While many people do love furry beings, you can’t be sure that the potential buyers viewing your home will! Follow these steps and you won’t have to stress out about if your pet’s presence will make or break your home sale!

Also see: Getting Your Home Ready to Sell Checklist

Category: Blog, Selling Tips