Although your pets may be part of your family, they can make it more challenging to sell your home. Whether you own cats or dogs, even home buyers with pets may be wary of hidden issues when it's obvious a home also houses animals. The following tips can help you alleviate concerns so your furry friends don't cause a deal to fall through.
Tip #1: Consider a temporary relocation
If you have a friend or family member willing to care for your pets while the home is on the market, then by all means take advantage of this. Choosing this option means you won't need to worry about your pets at all when your house is shown. If this isn't an option, at the very least consider temporarily boarding your pets for major showings, such as open house days.
Tip #2: Be prepared to flee before a showing
Put together a quick kit for getting out of the house each time you get a call for a showing. This can be simple with dogs, since all you will need is a leash nearby. For cats, make sure you have their carrier placed near the door. Then, take a few minutes to tuck away toys, food bowls, and litter boxes into a cabinet or other hidden area before you leave the house. If you work during the day, see if a neighbor would be willing to take the pets for a short time during a showing.
Tip #3: Manage the mess
Litter boxes indoors and dog waste in the backyard can be a major turn-off. Make sure you are cleaning litter boxes daily. Consider investing in an automated box so that no one has to come in contact with any odor. Dog waste should also be picked up and disposed of promptly. Keep all waste removal tools and litter boxes in out-of-the-way areas so potential buyers aren't greeted with them first thing.
Tip #4: Get rid of all odors
People that don't have pets can pick up odors very easily. Begin by removing any items that have been damaged by pet urine. This may mean replacing carpet or disposing of ruined furniture. Then, use an enzymatic cleaner or a professional ozone cleaner to remove the remainder of any odor. Don't try to mask odor with air fresheners, since this rarely works and it may irritate the allergies of potential buyers.
Tip #5: Wipe away all evidence
Get in the habit of vacuuming, sweeping, and dusting daily so there are no surprise hairballs waiting to greet a potential buyer. It's also a good idea to remove other reminders of the pets, including photographs on mantels and walls. If you have animals that sleep on furniture, cover the furniture with a blanket so you can quickly whisk it – and the attendant fur – away before each showing.
For more help in selling your home, contact a real estate agent in your area.