Dogs, Cats, and Real Estate – 10 Tips for Pet Owners While Selling Their Home

My beloved boxer dog, Chester, died on Monday after a short battle with lymphoma. He was only five years old and such a great companion. He was my little buddy and I will miss him dearly. As a tribute to Chester, I have decided to write an entry on pets and real estate. Pets can be your best friend, but they are no friend to real estate. Here are some tips to consider if you are selling a home as a pet owner.

  1. You home should appear to be pet-free to any potential buyer.
  2. Place all pet-related items out of sight including toys, beds, and water and food bowls.
  3. For heaven sakes, clean up the dog poop in the yard! How do you think the buyer will feel about your home if they step in doggie doo?
  4. Ask your realtor or friends if you have a pet odor and tell them to be honest with you. Many times we become immune to the way our home smells. You might need to throw away pet beds or have the carpets cleaned.
  5. Clean that litter box every day. Nothing is worse that that dreaded cat smell.
  6. Remove dogs from the property during showings. Some people are turned off by pets altogether, and some are just plain scared of them.  Even if they are placed in a cage, people can become uneasy. Alternatively, these situations can make your pet nervous and scared, and that isn’t very nice either.
  7. Remove cats or place them in a crate. I realize that cats do not like to be moved or handled, but cats can ruin a showing. Many people are allergic to cats, they are worried about cat smells, and they just don’t want to live where a cat has been. Also, the buyers and the agents showing your home do not need to be hassled with a cat trying to escape. The cat may very well be allowed outside, but how do they know that? It isn’t nice, and more importantly it distracts from the showing if the buyers have to be worried about wrangling a cat.
  8. Repair any yard damage caused by your dog. Dogs can be hard on backyards. Be sure you take inventory and decide if you might need to do some seeding or landscaping.
  9. Remove the dog house in the yard. Nobody wants to see this, and really – how often does your dog even use it?
  10. Clean at dog’s-eye-level. Does your dog press their wet nose against the glass? Do they scratch the door when they want to go out? These things will not go unnoticed by a buyer.
About the Author

Sarah Snodgrass is a residential real estate agent specializing in Kansas City's historic neighborhoods and enclaves.

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