When selling a home, making a great first impression really counts. And no homes are judged harsher than Private Sales [FSBO Sales]. Just because you love your pet, doesn’t mean your buyers will…
Sight and smell are major factors in how your home presents. Many families have pets that are a major part of their family. Private home sellers may see their pets as cute and cuddly companions, however, a buyer may look upon your pet as a smelly nuisance. Many people love pets, but in viewing a home available for purchase, prospective homebuyers don’t seem to be among the majority (even if they have a pet of their own).
Why don’t buyers like your pets?
- Nervousness. Pets make some people very uncomfortable. Not everybody grew up with a family pet or enjoyed outings to the zoo.
- Fear. Real and irrational; it’s not only dogs that instill fear in people. All kinds of silly wives’ tales and superstitions involve cats.
- Inexperience. Pets are not always predictable.
- Your pets aren’t their pets. Even if they have pets of their own, they may imagine that yours bite, jump, vomit, claw, spit up hairballs, or are just plain hyper and bad.
Some home buyers could be afraid of certain pet types such as large dogs, snakes, lizards etc. They may not want to enter any room where such animals are living. Some For Sale by Owner [FSBO] buyers may want to escape the home altogether, which certainly destroys any chance of selling that person your home.
Even small pets can intimidate or distract potential buyers. And most pets have some degree of odor or hair loss to which the pet owner is accustomed, but not visitors! Although you may no longer acknowledge these smells or debris yourself, a potential buyer will. Pet hair and litter box odors are the top complaints made by FSBO buyers. Allergies are another serious complaint; you don’t want buyers sniffling and sneezing while trying to view your home.
It is important to pay very close attention to the cleanliness of your home, particularly where your pets spend time; for example, preferred corners, under tables, on the couch etc. These areas may need extra cleaning if you are showing your home regularly. A quick touch-up with a vacuum or lint roller can pick up any hair your cat or dog may have left since you last did a thorough cleaning.
Finally, here are several suggestions to consider for people with pets:
- Carpet shampooing (especially if stained areas are visible)
- Keep all litter boxes clean (and use a deodorizer)
- Vacuum and dust regularly
- Clean up all droppings outside
- Stow all your pets’ toys and feeding bowls during showings
- Check for odor (ask a friend or neighbor for an honest opinion)
- Contain or remove your pet for showings
If you choose to shrug off all the professional advice, and absolutely refuse to remove your pets while showing, then at least minimize the pet possessions and odors. Even some effort is better than none. An in-house carrier or kennel is recommended for the short time period that potential buyers are in your home. This will stop the pet from escaping outside by accident, reducing the panic and anxiety the potential buyer may feel in reponse to your pet.
Dogs and cats make it harder to sell a home, but a little bit of pre-planning can help overcome those issues. With some extra work and careful attention, it could seem like no pets live there at all! Taking the time to keep the house clean and keep pets and people safe during showings can mean the difference between selling a home for the right price, selling it for a lower price… or not selling at all.
For more tips & tricks on Open Houses and keeping your house in great ‘selling shape’, visit the Canadian Home Find Blog.