Consider the following pet and home selling-related facts:
56% of Canadian households have at least one pet according to a 2008 Ipsos-Reid survey conducted by the Canadian Veterinary Medicine Association.
23% of these homes harbour our feline friends, while 20% happily co-habitate with canines, and in 13% of Canuck homes, it's raining cats AND dogs. 35% of cats and 33% of dogs are senior citizens...over 8 years old. The average lifespan of both cats and dogs is 12-14 years.
Now, just for laughs, let's throw in some Canadian home selling statistics in with the cats and dogs (for the purpose of this topic we're not including fish, rats, ferrets, roosters or pandas)...
If the average Canadian moves once every 5 to 7 years, then it's almost a certainty that more than half of us will be selling our homes while one of our furry friends is co-habitating our space, except of course, in the case of cats... If you have a cat you know all too well that they are merely tolerating your existence in THEIR home.
So, how do we sell a house with a pet in it? It's really just common sense. Although chances are, most people taking a look at your house have a pet themselves, they don't need the distraction of Rover thinking he's about to get a walk from this new friend or the nasty smell that a poopy in the cat box will greet your potential buyers with. You have made your house beautiful and well staged as you've read in my previous blog: http://www.century21.ca/dee.girdler/Blog/Dee_s_Tips_on_Creating_Your_Own_Unique_Saleable_Home_Environment
So, how do we get around this? Simple. Let's start with dogs. The average first showing lasts about 15 minutes. Walk the dog. You're stressed so you could use a little stroll around the neighbourhood, if the agent's car is still there, take another lap with the dog... or as in our case... it's plural. As one of our neighbours commented to me today"You don't need to go to the gym, you get a workout walking the pack!" It's funny because it's true...
Now, your sales representative knows you have a dog, and you are both trying to sell your home. If you optimally have greater than one hour's notice before a showing and you are at work, or the dog is home alone you should have an emergency plan in effect. Much the same as you have when your kids are ill at school. You have planned ahead for this eventuality so make a similar arrangement for your dog in advance. Find a neighbour or a doggy day care that will take your pooch in for an hour or the entire day. I, personally, would work this detail out before the sign goes up on the lawn. I would say to my client "Is there a neighbour or doggy day care you like that I could drop Rover off at for you or I will happily walk the dog myself if you like." The inconvenience or cost of planning ahead is microscopic compared to the danger of losing potential buyers as they missed out on seeing your beautiful ensuite bathroom because the puppy couldn't stop jumping up on them. You know you're selling your house. How much time and intense negotiations did you put into selecting the right colour to paint the front door? I promise you that making arrangements in advance for your dog while your home is being shown takes far less time and is just as important. Minor planning, major benefit. Ask your realtor for help, and suggestions. If its another agent showing your home and I'm not busy, I would be delighted to take 15 minutes out of my day to walk a client's friendly pup. To me, it's a win-win and I'm all about everyone winning!
Cats! Oh Mr. Mistoffelees, how you equally delight and vex us! Cats are easier to care for as pets, no question, but they come with their own set of issues when showing your home. The biggest of which is odour. My number one suggestion is if at all possible during the entire selling process, move the litter box somewhere well out of the way and away from any kind of venting. I have seen litterboxes in bathrooms, and horror of horrors, even in the kitchen. Out of sight, out of mind but the foggy odour of a dirty litterbox should not be something that a potential buyer should have to deal with when trying to visualize their family in your home. Your house should smell like poppyseed cake not little Poppy's pee. I personally don't have a problem, if you are out for the day, nipping into the house prior to a showing and clean the catbox for you. Such a small thing to do, which makes the world of difference in showing a home to it's fullest.
After you've prepared your house fully for sale and well before there are any showings, have some friends over and ask them if they smell anything and to be perfectly honest with you. If they smell something funky, you better believe a potential buyer will too. Better to hear the truth from a friend than have the word go out that a buyer wouldn't go past your doorstep because of the the odiferous assault of kitty tinkle!
"Now Dee," you ask, "what scents DO positively affect the human brain?" Fresh baked bread, vanilla, chocolate, lavender, lemon, and orange to name a few. Think fresh, and real. Nothing from a can. Fresh bread, fresh cookies, fresh pancakes and fresh flowers make a world of difference.
Remember, no-one ever walked into a house and said "Yummy! What is that delightful smell? Wet dog? Dirty kitty litter? Mmmm... Let's buy it, honey!"
For more ideas on preparing your home for a showing or if you would like to chat over coffee about listing your home, I'd love to hear from you. firstname.lastname@example.org or www.deegirdler.ca or 705-324-2552