More than 7.5 million Canadian households have pets, according to 2016 statistics. Most people love animals and understand the loving relationship between humans and their pets. Pet-friendly features can be exactly what a buyer is looking for. What buyers don't love, however, is to see or smell evidence of those beloved pets in every room and in every corner of the yard and selling a home with pets, especially in a competitive market, can be a great challenge. Many homeowners don’t know what to do with pets when selling their home, so here are some important tips for selling a house with pets.
The first and most important rule is to always relocate the pets during a showing. Take the dog for a walk; put the cat in a carrier and go to a neighbour's home. Boarding pets for a day or two is also a good option if the homeowner is expecting a lot of showings. Real estate agents and buyers alike can be intimidated by a dog barking in the yard, or by signs that say "Please don't let the cat out."
Clean and Refresh
Vacuum and mop often to remove pet hair; polish nose prints and paw prints off windows and floors. Open doors and windows regularly to keep fresh air circulating; and be sure to pick up evidence from front and back yards. Here are some more things to remember when cleaning:
- Pick up litter that’s been tracked out of the litter box.
- Vacuum or lint roll the pet’s favorite spots to sleep.
- Clean food off the floor that fell out of food bowls.
- Mop up water that splashed out of water bowls.
- Clean dark marks on walls and doors from cats rubbing.
Repair and Replace
Neutralize the presence of pets as much as possible. If there is existing damage to floors, walls, wood—or the yard—fix it or install new. That includes sod as well as carpet. Homeowners can also try refinish or touch up wood floors that are showing signs of wear from dogs who love to run back and forth across them. Place the dog bed in the closet, hide pet dishes in the dishwasher or under the sink, remove the litter box from the bathroom and pick up stray toys. Don't try to mask odours with air fresheners because it won’t work very well. In order to get rid of foul smells, use an air purifier or do some deep cleaning to cut off the stink at the source.
If there are other animals in residence—birds, snakes, or other exotic species—it could be best to find temporary homes for them. An aquarium can be a visual delight; fish are calming. However, make sure aquarium water is clean and the fish are healthy. In the case of reptiles and birds that can’t easily be moved and for which pet boarding is extremely difficult to find, put a sheet or blanket over the terrarium or cage so they’re out of site. It may also be helpful to place a clear warning that there is an animal in the room and for guests not to interact with them. If there's a pot-bellied pig, chickens, rabbits or guinea pigs in residence, arrange for off-site boarding unless yours is a farm property.
Pet Health and Liability
Moving is stressful from a De Winton home to another for both pets and humans, and anxiety can prompt abnormal behaviour. Consider liability issues. Also address with a veterinarian some of the other traits that signal an upset pet, including increases in "accidents," abnormal scratching, digging or barking. Other signs to take seriously are appetite changes or newly aggressive or destructive traits. There are some things owners can buy for their pets to try to relieve stress such as stress-reducing mist sprays that have calming scents or a ThunderShirt that helps reduce anxiety.
While doggie showers and dedicated runs can be selling features, chances are good that the house will sell faster without the menagerie in residence. Buyers may be interested in pet doors and slide-out kitchen feeding drawers, hallway cat perches, or dedicated pet food storage in the laundry room, but make every effort to allow visitors to focus on the house and its possibilities rather than on your pets. Some real estate agents also recommend removing pet pictures in order to avoid putting potential buyers off. This also goes for pictures of the home used in online listings. When getting all the perfect shots, remember that they’re for selling a house, not showing everyone on Facebook or Instagram the best cat in the entire world.