7 “Must Do”s for dealing with pets while selling your home

Have Pets, Must Sell!

One of the biggest challenges for pet owners comes when you have to sell the house. Pet odours and hair can actually kill a sale but we love our furry family members so what’s a pet owner to do?

Before you list

1) Ask yourself the tough questions

Can your pet(s) be temporarily relocated until the house gets sold? The best case scenario (and easiest for homeowners) would be if Fifi can go stay with Grandma until the deal is done. Have you got a trusted family member or friend who could help you out?

If you can’t stand the thought of being separated from your pet (and honestly, most of us are probably in that boat) then consider if you can restrict Fido’s access to a designated section of the house i.e. only the first floor. Having a smaller portion of the house to “de-pet-ify” before showings will make life a wee bit easier while your house is on the market.

2) Have all pets groomed, bathed and clipped regularly

All pets start to get that distinct pet smell if too much time passes between grooming, including short-haired pets. Our main goal with our pets during the listing phase is to minimize both odour and hair and bathing at least every week or two and brushing daily is the best way to achieve that.

3) Wash any and all fabrics

Nothing holds a smell in like fabric! Think draperies, throw pillows, comforters, that cozy lap blanket on the back of the couch, it all needs to get cleaned. We tend to forget those obvious things that are around us all the time, including Fluffy’s fur coating the bottom 12 inches of the curtains but potential buyers will notice.

4) Repair any pet damage in the home and yard

I’ve had a few dogs who were“chewers” over the years and have had to make some minor repairs to door frames, cupboard doors and once even the stair railings! Have a critical eye as you go through the house room by room and identify everywhere Benji may have left his mark (including those pesky carpet stains from the last time he got into the garbage). If your dog is a digger and the yard is full of holes, or your cat uses the wallpaper to sharpen his claws, taking the time to fix these up can make a huge difference in the way buyers perceive your home and how well you’ve cared for it.

Before your photos and for EVERY showing

5) Remove the pets if you can

Not everyone will appreciate how cute Boots really is so if there is a way to can take her with you when someone is going through the house, it’s a really good idea. You can never tell what someone’s allergies and fears might be so why take chances with something as important as the sale of your house? If you can’t bring them with you, try to have pets crated and ensure your realtor has met the pets prior to a showing so they won’t be strangers if your realtor is showing the house.

6) Remove all evidence that pets live here

Even the pet friendliest buyer will be turned off by obvious pet hair, smells and chew-toys all over the house. Remove leashes, food and water bowls, chew toys, beds, litter boxes, crates/cages etc…from every photo that will be used to sell your home. These are the same things you will have to stash in the car during viewing and open houses. This is also where you want to do the “white Glove” test for pet hair. Think in 3D here and make sure you check the ceiling, walls, fan blades, baseboards and furniture. We also don’t want to forget to get the old scooper out and make sure there aren’t any nasty surprises for buyers walking around the yard. As much as we love our pets, they do tend to leave behind a heck of a mess!

7) Fresh air is your friend

Before every single showing and open house, air it out as much as you can (crack those windows even in Winter). There are many great products available now to absorb pet odours (check out http://www.wikihow.com/Get-Your-House-to-Not-Smell-Like-Your-Pets ). If you can manage to get your hands on a portable air purifier, all the better. Keep it plugged in and running constantly but be sure to take it with you when there is a showing or open house so buyers don’t think you’re trying to hide some horrible stench. For those really tough pet odours, consider an Ozone Machine (learn more here http://ozonegenerators.ca).

All of this may seem like a lot of work, and really, it sort of is but our pets are worth it, aren’t they? Once the house gets sold and the move is around the corner, check out these great tips on moving with dogs (http://www.emilyreviews.com/2014/03/10-tips-for-moving-with-dogs.html), cats (http://zdiddle.hubpages.com/hub/moving-with-cats), birds (http://pets.thenest.com/moving-tips-pet-birds-11517.html), snakes/reptiles (http://www.moving.com/articles/moving-pets/reptiles.asp

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Brenda MacDonald-Rowe

Brenda MacDonald-Rowe

CENTURY 21 Explorer Realty Inc., Brokerage*
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