Selling a home with pets takes a few extra steps in order to make sure the home is ready for any buyer who walks in the door. The last thing you want is for a buyer to automatically exclude your house from their list due to some pet related issue. In order to remove any stigma in the buyers mind it is best to minimize as much as possible the fact that a home has a pet.
While your home is on the market it would be ideal if your pet or pets can stay with a relative and thus be out of sight out of mind for buyers who then have one less thing to distract them when they come through your home. For most home sellers though sending their pet away even for a little time may not be an option. Regardless if your pet stays in your home or stays with other family the below tips will guide you in getting your home ready for sale by taking care of any pet related issues
Repair Pet Damage
When it comes to repairing pet damage this means more than just repairing scratched walls, chewed up molding, or frayed carpets. Check your sofas and other furniture (wood or upholstered furniture) to make sure there are no rips, tears or wood damage cause by your pets. If you can repair those items effectively then do so. Otherwise it may be best to put those pieces of furniture in storage or sell them before you start showing your home to buyers. Buyers will definitely notice pet damage on walls, carpets, molding and they will notice pet damage on furniture. The fact that buyers can see the pet damage on furniture but don’t see any on other parts of the home may lead the buyers to think there is more unseen damage around the house as well. Remove any doubt from the buyer’s mind and repair or remove from your home anything that shows signs of pet damage.
Walls, Molding and Doors
Drywall damaged by pets should definitely be repaired or replaced. Depending on the extent of the damage a small hole can easily be patched with wall repair compound and sanded over. Make sure to paint the spots that were patched as well. Be mindful of how you paint the patched spot as well since the paint on the wall will have faded and changed color over time and new paint of the same color will stand out against the old paint making your patch and paint job very evident. Even if you have paint left over from the last time you painted the wall, depending on how long ago you painted and how old the paint in the can is, you may not be doing yourself a favor by applying that paint. Better choice would be to paint the entire room so it has a uniform look that does not throw off buyers.
Wall repair compound will not be able to address large holes or large areas of damage in drywall. When your drywall has large holes the first thing you should be doing is inspecting inside the hole to make sure no electrical wires have been damaged by your pet. If you do notice any damaged wires, have a qualified electrician replace the wiring and then install new drywall to repair the holes. Fill in the gaps between the new drywall and old drywall with joint compound then sand and repaint as needed. Your walls will look as good as new and there will be one less thing to distract any buyers when coming through your home.
Generally repairing solid wood molding and wood doors is not easily done and often times the end result is wood that is much weaker than as it was originally. Instead repairing damaged wood you should completely replace pieces of wood molding or doors that have pet damage. Replacing wood molding should be an inexpensive task if the damage is confined to a small area. Damaged doors on the other hand require the entire door to be replaced and sometimes replacing the door hardware (hinges and door knob) might also be in order. Interior doors can be ordered to the exact size need in your home at your local or big box hardware store. Exterior doors with damage may be a more costly replacement depending on the type of material used for the door and whether you can replace the door itself or there is more involved like an entire door and frame.
Over time the shine of hardwood flooring will wear off with continual foot traffic. Add pets into the mix with hard or sharp claws then the shine and polish of hardwood can wear out quicker. The nice thing about hardwood is that even if the shine is gone the underlying quality of the hardwood still remains and the shine can be brought back through the process of either resurfacing or refinishing. To determine if the hardwood floor should be resurfaced or refinished it is recommended to get in touch with a hardwood flooring expert. In many cases where refinishing is called for the color of the floor can be changed to bring it up to modern tastes if need be. A new modern color for hardwood floors will work great for buyers looking for that special feature that sets a home apart from others.
Carpets over time absorb a lot of dirt from the foot traffic of both humans and their pets. If a good steam cleaning can remove all of the stains and the carpet is not too old that it has lost its plush then you should be fine with just a steam cleaning and deodorizing treatment. On the other hand if your carpet is worn out in spots where Fido likes to relax, or worse Fido used certain spots as a scratching or chewing post then it needs to be replaced. If part of the carpet needs replacing you should look into redoing carpet throughout the entire house. Brand new carpet in a home means the buyer does not have to worry about replacing carpeting before they move in and facing an expense they may not be ready to afford thus tipping them towards buying your home over one that has older carpet.
Most people having lived with their pets for some time become accustomed to the smells that non-pet owners may readily notice. Regardless of whether there are pets smells or not having ones carpet and furniture upholstery steam cleaned is always recommended prior to putting one’s home on the market. As mentioned above if steam cleaning can take care of stains and odors then you don’t need to go any further. If on the other hand the carpet is damaged or the odors cannot be removed from the carpet then the best bet is to replace the carpet and padding.
While your carpet may be new or recently steam cleaned and odor free the furniture your pets hang out on may be another story. That furniture can give off pet odors in your home and that may turn buyers off. Steam cleaning furniture may also take care of pet odors, if not then the furniture should be removed from the home.
Pets and the Great Outdoors
Great landscaping adds to the curb appeal of your home that draws buyers in and makes them want to see the rest of the house. Prize winning flowers, beautiful bushes, and great trees won’t sell a buyer on your home if they have to walk through a mine field of dog droppings on the lawn. Pick up after your pet on a regular basis while the home is on the market. Even if your pet is trained to do their businesses in one particular area make sure that area is cleaned up. Buyers will walk where they want to and stepping into a pile of droppings is sure to make them forget any charming feature of your home they did see. Even worse is if they stepped into the droppings before going into your home and now they will be walking through your home with those same tainted shoes. Keep the yard clean and you and the buyer will be happier for it.
When a pet urinates on the grass it can cause the grass to yellow due to the high levels of nitrogen in the urine. This usually does not happen when the grass is wet enough to absorb the extra nitrogen but when it is high and dry outside your lawn will turn yellow in those frequently used spots. To help avoid this situation you can water your grass regularly or you can simply add some plain water to the area where Spot just relieved himself and the diluted urine will not cause your grass to burn. End result is a nice green lawn that has little evidence of pet activity.
Last but not least you should also be considerate of your pet. This may be a stressful time for your pet with buyers coming and going. If your pet gets aggressive with strangers or is scared by strangers you should take your pet with you when showings are happening or keep your pet in a crate until the buyers are gone. Make sure you let your agent know what type of instructions to leave for any buyer’s agents who come through your home on how to deal with your pet. You may also want to consider leaving a note close to the front door about the pet if something has changed since you last gave directions to your agent to share. Let buyers agents know if your pet should be confined to one room if he/she is loose, be left alone or other directions. Most real estate agents are used to showing homes with pets and will handle pets per your directions.
Make sure your pet’s toys and bedding are put away as well to help minimize clutter around the home. Ideally if your pet comes with you try and put away any and all signs of a pet in your home. Toys can be put into a cabinet; the pet crate can be covered up in the garage or basement. The fewer pet signs a buyer sees means less distractions for them when looking at your home.
Selling a home with pets requires a few extra steps and considerations in order to put your home in the best position for buyers. Cleaning up the yard and repairing any interior damage, odors or stains caused by your pet helps to keep your home looking great for buyers. With the proper preparation buyers should be able to focus on the charm and quality of your home above all else.