Selling your home is not always the easiest process. You have to consider maintenance fixes, staging, coordinating showings, and finding the right buyer. And if you’re a pet parent, you also have another variable thrown into the mix. Many potential sales have fallen through due to carpets covered in dog fur or lingering smells of cat pee. Fortunately, Chicago realtor Jason Feldman is an expert on selling a home when you have a pet. Here are his seven tips for selling a home when you have a pet:
1. Whenever possible don’t have the pet in the house during showings or open houses. If they have to be there then make sure they are in a secured locked cage or room. Not every potential buyer who walks through the door is necessarily comfortable around pets. Even if your pet is friendly, remove him from the equation so that you don’t risk alienating someone who otherwise might have a great experience seeing your home.
2. Clean and remove stains and odors. What do you want a buyer to remember most about your home––all the gorgeous natural light, or the smell of your kitty’s litter box? Take care to eliminate any offensive odors or stains before buyers walk through the door.
3. Remove dog and cat toys, food, and water bowls. Staging your home is all about letting buyers imagine what the house might look like if it was theirs. That means keeping it as neutral as possible. Pets are a big part of your individual life, but they don’t translate to everyone’s, so make sure your house is set up in such a way that anyone––pet lover or not––can see themselves living there.
4. Remove excrement pads and clean cat litter before the showings. Because nobody wants to think about pee or poop while they’re trying to decide on a place to purchase.
5. Repair or replace any damage like scratches on the back of doors and if the floors are very scuffed from the paws then consider refinishing the them. Your pet did the crime, so it’s your job to fix it up. Just like a leaky roof or an outdated electrical system, these flaws are typically the responsibility of the seller to resolve.
6. Selling your condo? Make sure your realtor screens all buyers before they come to make sure their pets will be allowed there. Why waste your time? Not all buildings allow all pets and all breeds. Get an approved list from your condo board before you start screening buyers, so you can easily let someone know if their pet is welcome.
7. Make sure your realtor knows all of the pet friendly features in your building and neighborhood, such as if there is a dog run spa, or dog park nearby. For those buyers with pets, knowing what amenities are nearby (like a great dog park or grooming salon) can go a long way in making them fall further in love with your home.
And one more thing: Don’t forget that big changes in routine or territory can be difficult on our animals. Take care to make the transition as seamless as possible for your pet, both in the house selling phase and in the moving phase. The last thing you need during the stress of a move is an anxious pet!
Jason Feldman is a Chicago realtor who specializes in pet-friendly homes. For more of his expert advice, visit ChicagoPetFriendlyRealEstate.com.