While furry friends are cherished members of the household, pets can have negative effects on a house when it comes time to sell.
In order to appeal to the most buyers, pet-owning sellers may need to take extra steps to clean the house and examine how others may view pets in a home. Colleen Matey, a real estate agent with Virginia Cook Realtors, said not all buyers appreciate pets the same way.
“You have to appeal to a broader scope of buyers; you can’t just assume everybody treats their pets like you do,” Matey said.
From pet-related allergies to dislikes of certain type of pets, an animal in a house could be a turnoff to buyers. While every seller should perform a deep cleaning, pet-owning sellers should take it a step farther.
“Any seller needs to clean, clean, clean, but you need to pay special attention when you have pets that you clean it even more so,” Matey said. “Clean it, freshen it, deodorize it, whatever you have to do to get a pet smell out it.”
Sheri Quinlan, a real estate agent with Vincent Realty Group, said sellers need to pay extra attention to the smell and take steps to neutralize any odors, which could require replacing the carpet.
“People don’t want to come into a home that smells like dog or cat,” Quinlan said. “If they’ve had accidents or things like that — you just want to make sure you get the odor out and make sure that it’s very clean.”
As homeowners become accustomed to the smell of their house, Matey said they should seek an honest second opinion on how the house smells. The smell of a house can dissuade buyers from even taking a look.
“People have hit the doors of a home and smelled animals and have turned and walked away,” Matey said. “They don’t even want to walk any further — it’s a big, big deal to people.”
When agents photograph a house, Matey said they should pay attention to what items are visible inside the frame. Pets and pet-related items should be kept out of sight.
“No cats laying on a bed, no food bowls sitting out in the pictures because I know buyers will sometimes bypass a whole house and not even look at it due to them having pets,” Matey said.
After the house is listed for sale, but before buyers begin to see it, Matey said the sellers should make plans on where to keep pets. Before a showing, pets need to be contained or removed from the property.
“The nicest animals still don’t like strangers in their house,” Matey said. “Again your fluffy might be really nice when you’re there, but when a family walks in, and a dog is running loose — it’s unnerving because you don’t know how that dog is going to react.”
Quinlan said sellers need to make arrangements for their pets during a showing and maybe even board them for the day. On the showing instructions left for the buyers’ agent, she said sellers should also leave instructions dealing with their pets. Like if an animal is contained to a certain room or the sellers don’t want an animal petted, they should give that information.
And sellers should pick up any animal waste outside before a showing.
“If you have a beautiful yard, you don’t want people to worry about where they step,” Matey said. “If you can, just try to keep it all nice and clean.”
The pets belonging to neighbors can also be an issue when selling. Neighbor dogs that bark constantly may turn a buyer off of a property, Matey said. Quinlan said aggressive animals or animals that frequently run loose inside a neighborhood can be a turnoff as well.
“Just be kind and crate the pet or take the pet with you when the house is being shown,” Matey said. “It’s just kind of courteous that way to the people coming in.”