The process of listing a home and keeping it meticulous can be overwhelming for anyone, never mind those with furry four-legged family members. Sudden changes in routine, the chaos of packing and boxes, and an unfamiliar environment or strangers can be stressful on pets, which can add more stress to the owner.
As much as most people love animals, when it comes time to look at a home, potential buyers are looking for extreme cleanliness. The cleaner a house appears, the more value a buyer sees in the home, assuming maintenance and upkeep have had just as much attention. So it is important to remove as much evidence of your pets as possible.
Smells, shedding fur, and muddy paws are just some of the extra upkeep involved with owning a pet, especially during the wet seasons. Be prepared to schedule a lot more time for house cleaning while your home is listed, or allow costs in your budget for a regular house cleaning service while you are showing your home. Being prepared for last-minute showings is important, so keeping on top of cleaning is a must.
Here are some great tips for pet owners when it comes time to show your home:
Keep the Yard Immaculate
Curb appeal is the first impression your house makes! If your dog has spent his leisure time digging up the yard or gardens, be sure to replace pieces of missing grass, as well as trampled or dug up flowers in the garden. This also means cleaning up after your pet immediately after they relieve themselves outside. This will prevent unpleasant backyard smells which would otherwise have potential home buyers wrinkle their noses.
Keep the Vacuum Ready
As much as we love our four-legged friends and their soft, fluffy fur to snuggle into, pets tend to leave a trail of themselves wherever they go. Make a point of sweeping floors and vacuuming carpets throughout the day as to prevent a build up of excessive fur on your floors and furniture. Brush your pets more often, especially if it is spring and summer time, a common time for dogs to shed excessively.
Eliminate any Smells and Stains
Smells are commonly linked to memories and emotions. Bad smells are a major turn-off to any potential buyer and may be the only thing they remember about a house. As much as pets may melt our hearts, they do come with smells that can resonate on furniture, carpet, and pet bedding. Bathing your pet will help, as well as washing floors and their bedding more often. Litterboxes should be kept on top of. Choose a litter that comes with a deodorizer to work against lingering odors. Be sure to have any stains on the carpet removed by using highly recommended products on the market that combat the smell of ammonia, or even better hire a professional to eliminate carpet stains and odors.
Fix any Damage Caused by Pets
If your pet has been gnawing on the banister, scratched up the floors or carpet, or chewed on wires, you will want to have these repaired or replaced altogether. Potential homebuyers will only see dollar signs on items that need to be fixed or replaced while wondering what other damage there is that they can’t see. If your pet has torn up the furniture, place a throw blanket over the torn section, or consider buying a cheap couch cover. Clean windows allow more natural light in and help sell houses, so be sure to remove pet smudges!
Scheduled Showings are Ideal
Generally, real estate agents are to give the seller a fair warning before a showing. But sometimes last-minute showings are requested. It is up to you as the seller to agree to the showing or to request more notice. Although it is not advised to turn down any showings, most clients shopping for a home will understand if there are pets in the home.
You can also request certain days for showings to your real estate agent in order to accommodate scheduled pet care.
Remove Pets from the House During Showings
Dogs and cats can be unpredictable when it comes to strangers in the home. The last thing a potential buyer wants is an attack from an angry or upset pet. While some may consider leaving the pet in the house in a kennel during the showing, it is not recommended. Whining noises or growls can distract potential buyers as they tour the home trying to envision themselves in it.
The best solution is to take your pet for a walk or a visit to the pet store or arrange a day at the local doggy daycare for open houses or days that you will not be able to be at home. This will also help prevent any accidental escapes of your pet as doors are open and closed during showings.
The best thing you can do for yourself and your pets is to be prepared when it comes time to sell and show your home. Ask friends and family members with pets who have moved for any advice. If you are lucky enough, one of them may kindly offer their home as a place for you and your pets to hang out during open houses and showings!
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