Pet owners face unique challenges when it comes to selling their home. If not careful, unprepared pet-parents can find themselves on the market too long and may inadvertently diminish their homes perceived value, losing money in the process. An experienced pet-centered real estate agent can make sure that doesn’t happen.
There are certain things about pets that can be a big turn-off for buyers even if they are pet owners themselves. Before listing your home for sale you’re going to want a pet-friendly realtor that can assess your current situation and work with you to come up with solutions that’ll help you protect and preserve your home’s value.
To get a good understanding of what needs to happen to get your home ready, here are the most common obstacles that pet owners face trying to sell and ways you can overcome them.
If asked, you must disclose
Some states require you to disclose if a pet lives in the home, North Carolina does not. However, if asked you’re obligated to be transparent with potential buyers. Buyers might love animals, but they are extremely critical when it comes to other’s pets in a home they are considering purchasing.
You don’t want to turn-off potential buyers right off the bat, remove all evidence of your pet from your home. Get rid of that litter box, remove photos of pets in the house, put away food and water bowls, pick up all toys, and pack up all pet belongings.
Owners and pets cannot be present during showings
Real estate agents will always recommend that owners not be present during showings but it’s even more important if you have pets. Pets must be removed during the showings. It makes buyers uncomfortable to have owners or their pets around when they are looking at potential homes to buy.
Pets can be unpredictable when strangers are walking through their home, it puts everyone at risk. You CAN be held liable if your pet bites someone while on your property. Some buyers will flat out refuse to look at a home with pets onsite because of a fear of animals. People don’t respond kindly to animals barking, growling, or jumping on them.
Many pet-parent sellers choose to temporarily relocate their pet while selling their home, others allow friends or family to care for them, use boarding services, treat them to a spa day or plan for weekend showings where they can spend the day away with their pets. Scheduling can be tough, know what you’re getting into and work with an agent who also understands this challenge.
Get rid of familiar pet odors
Pet owners are used to the pet odors in their home and often aren’t aware that their home even has an odor. Most visitors are too polite to mention it but it’s an immediate turn-off for potential buyers. Simply spraying air freshener or trying to mask it with scented wax or a candle won’t work, you’ll need to take the time to properly deep clean and deodorize your home. You do not want your home to get a reputation of having a ‘pet smell’, this could have a negative impact on the ability to sell your home and affect your home’s perceived value.
Deep clean every room in the house and don’t miss floors, baseboards, curtains, comforters, and pillows. All fabrics, upholstery, rugs, and textiles should be cleaned and treated with a pet specific deodorizer that neutralizes the odor. If possible, have this done professionally.
Replace all furnace filters with new ones and anything else that can emit a pet smell from your home. An air purifier is a great investment that you can take with you to your new home. Do not trust your own nose, have a friend or neighbor give you an honest opinion about pet odor in the home.
Flooring is important
The condition of your floors can either hurt or help you sell your home. Carpet, unless new, is a turn-off for most buyers especially if you have pets. If floors are damaged from your pets it could make it more difficult to sell your home.
Consider investing in new flooring or having wood floors refinished. If purchasing new is not an option, think about whether you’d be willing to offer a credit towards new floors as an incentive for buyers.
Preparing the property inside and out
Pet damage is inevitable. We love our animals, but they do destroy things. Carpets, furniture, flooring, walls, baseboards, doors, and landscape and fencing can all show signs of pet damage. You need to take a good hard look at the damage inside and outside of your home and make repairs before showing your home. Your home’s curb appeal is the first impression a potential buyer will see, clean up messes in the yard and pay particular attention to the lawn and landscape.
It takes work selling your home when you have pets, but that extra attention can pay off in a big way. Working with an experienced real estate agent will help you prioritize what needs to be done and when, and save you time, effort, and money in the long run.