Don’t Let Your Pet Come Between You and A Buyer

It’s tough for a real estate broker to tell a client that a beloved pet may deter buyers. Unfortunately, it’s true. Some buyers are physically allergic to animal smells while others are truly afraid of four-legged creatures or just simply dislike pet smells. The following tips will help you manage your pet (or pets!) while your home is on the market:

Bathe Frequently

While pet owners become accustomed to their beloved animals’ smells, a buyer be put off by those same odors. Bathing your pet regularly will help keep your pet and your home odor-free. If possible, only allow your pet in spaces you can manage to clean quickly should someone schedule a showing.

Vacuum Often

Vacuuming picks up pet hair and prevents many odors from taking over a space. Dogs who don’t shed still produce dander, so vacuum often!

Managing Accidental Stains

When your pet has accidents, here are some tips for managing them:

For fresh wet stains on carpet, use paper towels to soak up the stain by blotting until absorbed. Repeat as needed. Then dilute the stain with water and blot dry with a towel.

Tip: To help retrain your pet, move the stained paper towel to the area where the pet is supposed to go to the bathroom.

For set stains, use a carpet stain remover formulated specifically for pet stains. Once the stain is removed, use an enzymatic neutralizer to remove odors. Store-bought neutralizers are available, but if you need to make your own, here’s an effective way to neutralize urine odors:

1. Mix ½ cup white vinegar with ½ cup water. Drench spot and then blot up excess with paper towels.

2. Sprinkle baking soda on wet area to cover.

3. Put 1/4 cup of hydrogen peroxide in a spray bottle with 1 teaspoon of dish washing soap. Spray on top of the baking soda.

4. Let everything dry and then vacuum.

Remove Pets for Showings

This may be impossible if showings are happening while you’re at work during a weekday, but if you are able to take your pet with you or to a friend, relative or dog-sitting service at a local kennel, try to do so for showings. In the event this is not possible, it’s best to put your pet in their kennel or carrier while strangers are in your house. To be safe, attach a note warning buyers not to disturb your pets.

For larger dogs or animals scared of some humans, another option is to put them in the garage temporarily and put a sign on the door asking that the garage not be shown. Ask your real estate broker to invite the buyers back for a viewing of the garage at a time when you’re able to remove the pets from the property.

Don’t Advertise Your Pet

Don’t put photos of your pet online in real estate photos. If your real estate broker takes a photo of your pet, ask them to leave it off your listing photos in the multiple listing service (MLS). Why turn off buyers who are afraid or don’t like pets before they even see your home?

Remove Items that Contain Odors

Stinky litter boxes and puppy pads are real turn-offs to buyers. Remove litter boxes and puppy pads from your home before showings. If possible, put away toys, food bowls, etc. They make your room look cluttered and may contain smells that put off potential buyers.

Be Truthful About Pets

While your goal is to keep your house looking and smelling pet-free to potential buyers, it’s also important that you and your real estate broker be completely honest should another broker ask you if there are pets currently in the home or if any have been kept in the home in the past. Remember, some buyers are truly deathly allergic to pets, so it’s not something to treat lightly. If you’re asked, be upfront and honest about any pets and what kinds of pets have been in the home.