According to a Gallup poll in 2016, more Americans say real estate is the best long-term investment over stocks, mutual funds, and bonds! To help you maximize your investment, we’ve written numerous articles over the years with home selling tips. See here, here, and here. Today, we’re going to talk about tips you should consider when selling a house with pets.
First, whether the house you’re selling is your own residence or a rental property, have a discussion with your insurance agent about the coverage you currently have. Although you may think your pet (or your tenant’s pet) would never hurt anyone, it’s best to make sure you’re covered in case an accident happens while a prospective buyer, agent, or appraiser is on your property.
Next, think carefully about where your pet will be during buyer showings, open houses, and inspections.
You have three primary choices.
You can temporarily relocate your pet to a close friend or family member’s house. Logistically, this may be the most difficult option, but we have also seen it result in faster and smoother sales. Or, make a plan to remove your pet(s) during every showing. This could involve you working from home on certain days, heading home before showings, or as a last resort, scheduling showings around your work schedule. If your pet must be home during showings, we recommend you designate an area where your pet will always be: a crate, section of a room, part of the back yard, etc. Be careful not to designate an entire room or back yard, especially if the area is one of your home’s better features!
At this point, talk to your veterinarian about how to prepare your pet for the upcoming changes. Moves can be stressful for pets, too, so be sure help them adjust to their new routines.
Now, let’s talk about home staging.
First, walk through and around your entire home, inspecting it for chew marks and scratches; then, repair them. Next, use a pet odor remover to help neutralize your home’s scent. But steer clear of strong smelling fragrances like cherry and cinnamon. They can be just as distracting to buyers. Lastly, determine if you have any carpet stains and whether they can be professionally cleaned or if the carpeting will have to be replaced. Carpet stains can be an immediate turnoff for prospective buyers, especially since the majority of home buyers are not looking for fixer-uppers.
If you’re not already, start cleaning up after your pets on a daily basis. In addition to cleaning up pet waste from litter boxes and back yards, we recommend cleaning any cages or tank and vacuuming pet hair off of furniture. This will not only ensure your home is always show-ready; it will also help keep pet odors at bay. Now may even be the perfect time to take a Roomba for a test drive.
During buyer showings, try to hide or minimize your pet accessories around the house. Things like toys, training pads, dog gates, and pet beds should be stored out of sight in a cabinet or container. Otherwise, buyers may have trouble seeing through the clutter and appreciating the home the way we want them to.
Don’t forget the front and back yards.
Now that your home is looking its best on the inside, you’re going to want your landscaping to look just as impressive. Address any holes, damaged plants, or discolored grass by planting new plants, reseeding your lawn, and/or laying down new sod.
Finally, consult with Realtor about whether you are required to disclose your pet(s) on a seller disclosure statement. Some buyers may, in fact, consider this material information. In Arizona we always say: When in doubt, disclose!
If you have any more questions about selling a house with pets, please contact us today!