Selling a home with pets can be a very tricky part of the real estate process. You want top-dollar, but not at the expense of your pet’s well-being. But then, what do you do with them during an open house or a showing or multiple showings? Knowing how to navigate the schedule for buyer viewing, removing pet odor (and we mean completely) while minimizing the stress on your pet, is a phantom part of selling your home, and it can sneak up on you if you don’t prepare.
Just like with humans, The Golden Rule is to make sure pets are out of the home during a showing. We also have a handful of tips, strategies, and resources that we have developed over the years in dog-crazy Denver to help pet owners sell homes without much cost to their pets.
1. Prepping Your Home for Market: Getting Rid of Fluffy Evidence
But don’t let this stat make you lazy. We tolerate the odor of our own pets (because they are the frickin’ best), but we also become nose deaf to their smell. No one likes the smell of other people’s pets.
People like their pets. Your pets are dirty. You’ll clean up that spot of carpet your cat vomits on, but you don’t want to buy a house that has carpet with cat vomit in it. Do a DEEP clean.
Show them a house fit for a dog. Not a dog house. Remove all evidence that you have a pet, and showcase to buyers that their pet would love it here because it has:
- Pet-friendly flooring
- A fenced-in yard
- Discreet areas for litterboxes
- Porches and entryways preventing the rest of the house from getting filthy
Your pet smells. Clean your house. Then do it again. Scrub all evidence out of existence. Treat it like a crime scene where you have to hide the evidence that you have a pet.
Ask your agent. You agent is in this with you. They want the same things. They have no reason to lie to spare your feelings. Plus, we know the best cleaners in town. Just ask.
10 Things to Do Before Selling Your Home When You Have Pets:
- Clean your house from top to bottom
- Remove dog houses and kennels
- Remove scratching posts and cat trees
- Remove litterboxes, litter, and scoops
- Pack up food and water dishes
- Pack up indoor and outdoor toys
- Consider sealing the doggy door (most overlooked item)
- Remove any personal pet photos
- Double check the yard for waste
- Hire a lawn company with pooper-scooper service (here is a list of companies that scoop the poop in Denver and Seattle)
The goal from this effort is to make it easy for buyers to imagine their pets living here.
2. Okay, That Should Take Care of the House. Now Let’s Take Care of Fluffy.
Here is our Pet Services resource for quick access.
Friends and Family
If available, this may be the cheapest, least disruptive option. Be sure the friend or family member isn’t taking on more than they can handle. Remember to do something nice for them when you close on the home.
This is likely the best option if you’re planning to bring your dog back at the end of the day. Many daycares have outdoor, fenced-in play areas and large indoor rooms. Daycare tends to be an even better choice for high-energy animals and pets who need plenty of daily exercise.
One nifty trick, schedule a day at the local groomer during an open house. This will additionally reduce how much your pet sheds in the house when it’s not being shown, especially for long-haired and actively shedding pets. Even after grooming, continue to vacuum and check every area of the house between showings. Here’s some counsel before you groom.
Pet Sitters and Pet Hotels
Luxury and individualized pet care is also available in the form of professional pet sitters and pet hotels (or even traveling with pets) that cater to your animal’s every need. You can hire someone who watch your pet at their private residence. You can book a stay at a pet hotel. You can find places that offer one-on-one attention and/or round-the-clock supervision.
These are most commonly used for overnight and/or multi-day pet care, and many off daycare as well. These facilities will provide for your pets’ basic needs, but there may or may not be someone present overnight. Most pets can tolerate a short-to-medium length of stay at a reputable kennel, but the best candidates are healthy cats and dogs who are not easily overwhelmed.
Here are tips offered by The Humane Society about choosing a boarding kennel, and some tips from Barkpost on overnight options. The typical cost per night is around $25-$45, but discounts are commonly offered for long-term stays and additional pets.
Other Last-Minute Preparations, Problems, and Solutions
Whether it’s scratching, chewing, vomiting, drooling, shedding, or just plain knocking things over, assume your pets will be on their worst behavior, especially if staging and showings have changed their routines.
This level of planning isn’t easy, but hopefully it’s enough help to present your best home and keep your pets from chewing their feet.