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We know that our pets are part of our family – loved, cherished, and important parts of our lives. The problem when trying to sell  a house is that not everybody understands or shares our affection for our furry companions. It’s a fact – people do not want to see evidence of animals when viewing a home.

Here are a few tips to make your house appealing to all buyers when animals are part of  your family:

  • Odors: Smells are the absolute #1 turn-off for perspective buyers.  If you know there is a problem with urine odor, treat it thoroughly with a product like Nature’s Miracle.  You should also ask an honest, objective friend to  do a sniff test and if it is still obvious, take  all measures necessary, even down to replacing the carpet, to eliminate ANY trace of urine odor.
  • Litter Boxes: Buyers don’t want to see or smell any, um, leavings. Make sure the litter box is scooped and clean before any showings. If you can’t be around to tidy before buyers come calling, consider an automatic box like Litter Maid, or at a very minimum get an enclosed box  so all the fun stuff is not visible to visitors.
  • Exterior: Remember that the yard is part of what you’re selling.   Interested buyers will want to poke around outside and the last thing you want is for somebody to put their foot in it. Make sure you scoop religiously.   Better yet, your dog probably needs more exercise, so why not get into the habit of taking your pup for a walk around the block (and bring a baggie with you!)?
  • Food Dishes: Keep them out of site for showings. If you get a plastic tub with a lid you can stow all the dishes quickly before buyers arrive.
  • Toys: Same thing goes for chew toys, bones, balls, etc.    Grab them all and throw them into a basket or storage bin.   Bonus: nobody can trip over them if they’re out of the way.
  • Your Cat:  Cats will generally make themselves scarce when there are strangers in the house, but if you have an indoor cat that might make a run for the door, do your best to contain them for their safety.   Be sure to let your agent know that the cat should remain indoors!
  • Your Dog: No questions – get your dog out of the house for showings.   Even the best dogs. Just do it. There are too many people who are frightened by even the tiniest or most well-behaved dogs, and this is for the animal’s protection as well as yours. If you’re not always around,  get a neighbor or relative to help you out.
  • Birds and Exotics: These guys are a little tougher.   If the birds are large and noisy they can really freak people out. Snakes, lizards and rodents give many people the chills. Temporarily relocate them to caring friends or relatives if at all possible, but if you can’t, keep their cages covered or concealed for showings.
  • General Cleaning: I know from experience that we can cease to even notice the  tumbleweeds of  dog hair  on the kitchen floor. Buyers, however, will notice. It goes without saying that fur, feathers, food, cookie crumbs, water drips, nose prints, and any other traces of our pets should be aggressively removed from the house.

Think about everything in your home from a buyer’s perspective. I cannot overemphasize the importance of having your house immaculately clean and odor-free – if you want to sell, that is. Think sample house!