Home Selling in 78230>Question Details

Juli Lee, Home Buyer in San Antonio, TX

What to do with pets while our home is on the market?

Asked by Juli Lee, San Antonio, TX Sat Sep 6, 2008

I'm sure I am not the first person to have this question, but I just don't know what to do with our two dogs and cat while our home is on the market. Does anyone have any suggestions??

Help the community by answering this question:


Depending on the length of time you are away from your home, a large crate can work for some dogs. Otherwise, keeping the pet in one particular area of the home could work. Instructions can be given in the showing instructions to make sure the cats are not allowed outside or into certain areas of the home. If these arrangements don't work, some realtors are willing to move the pet to other areas of the home during the showing. Or possible a neighbor can take the dog for a walk. As a realtor with my own pet, I work out all the details ahead of time with the homeowner.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon May 16, 2016
Hello -

When it comes to having pet and your home on the market, best option is to always remove them from the home when a showing occurs. On one of my listings the owner has the neighbor who takes care of them when a showing occurs. All showing require a 1 hour notice which the owner says is enough time to take care of them.
If that is not an option then the next suggestion would be to keep the dogs outside with a note on the door saying "Please mind the dogs" the cat can stay in as they usually stay out of the way and mind themselves. If you are worried about them outside then the garage is the next best place to keep them.
If the pets are not friendly and worried they might bite or attack then they should be kept in a kennel during showings. You don't want to have an accident and be liable.
Pet smells are another thing to keep in mind, try to keep the home clear of pet hair and any litter boxes clean. Pick up and clean after any messes the pets cause. If there is an smell then a candle or fragrance will help.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Oct 8, 2014
Pets are always an issue when it comes to selling your home. Not only what you do with the pets while you are selling, but also the wonderful fragrance they leave behind for the next owner. Most sellers do not even realize that their home has a pet odor. They become so used to it that it never crosses their mind they may need to do something about it. I know it is not practical to have them stay elsewhere until your home sells, but that is the best advice you could take. Once the pets are on vacation, I would have your carpets and ductwork professionally cleaned. This should take care of any odor your best friends left behind.

The short answer is get the pets to stay elsewhere until your home sells, and clean the dickens out of your house.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Sep 9, 2008
this suggestion could not be more useless - lol!
Flag Sun May 22, 2016
If you don't want the cat outside, be specific with your showing instructions so that the buyers and their realtor know not to leave the backdoor open when they go out to look at the yard, etc...
This reminds me: if you do have a cat that you don't want to get out, put a sign right on the front door: Realtors: Do NOT let cat out. Put a sign INSIDE the front door, too to remind them when they leave.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Sep 7, 2008
Man's best friend may not be your best friend when trying to sell your house. Here are some tips to selling a house with pets.

1) Clean up the poop. You’d think that this one is a no-brainer, but it apparently is not. It amazes me at how many homes have pet poop all over the yard. If your home has a yard, the buyer is most likely looking for a place that their kids can enjoy. A field of feces is not a selling attribute unless you’re trying to sell the house down the road. Hire a local company to handle it if you need to. Once it’s all up, sprinkle some lime on the areas to kill the smell. Then just make it a daily habit of picking it up so that it doesn’t become an issue again.

2) Paint damaged trim or scratched door jams. This is an easy fix (usually) but reaps TONS of rewards. Scratched trim makes any house look worn and tired.

3) If your home smells like pets (cats are the worst) then you will need to paint and most likely replace the carpet, pad and seal the subfloor. While the subfloor is exposed you should paint it with Killz, Zircon or a similar industrial primer and sealant. This will prevent any odors from reoccurring after you’ve spent good money on flooring. If your floors squeak, now is a good time to add additional screws also.

For more tips:
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Dec 4, 2015
Homes show and sell better w/out pets. It is always suggested to remove them when there is a showing if that is not possible maybe put them in a crate in a room or in the laundry room.

You just never know when you get that Buyer that is allegic to pets and/or are afraid of any kind of animal. I have had Buyers that won't even go inside a house if there is a dog - even if a friendly dog.

Good Luck
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 1, 2015
This can be tricky because many people are not pet people and would likely be turned off by the thought of pets having lived in the house. The last home stager I worked with strongly recommended all pets as well as all signs of pets be removed prior to any showings taking place. My advise would be to get the pets out of the house before the showing happens, as the owners are generally advised not to be home the same is true of pets.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Sep 3, 2014
Remove them from the home when buyers come to see it. Or put them in a crate.

Tammy Hayes, Realtor
Re/Max Palm Realty
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Apr 4, 2014
Here is one of the better articles you will find one how to sell your home when you have pets: http://www.maxrealestateexposure.com/tips-to-sell-a-home-wit…
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Apr 4, 2014

I would recommend that if possible take the pets with you during every scheduled showing or atleast put them in their cages. This will allow your potential clients to look freely around the home.

Best Regards,

Johnny E Williams
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jun 9, 2013
There are several things you can do in order to make sure your pets are comfortable and out of the way for showings while your house is on the market. Make other arrangements for them with a dog walker, daycare, crate them, or put them in the garage with a note on the door as others have mentioned. I would also suggest informing any agents showing your home about pets, especially if you decide not to confine your cat. You want to make sure it isn't accidentally let outside.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jan 23, 2013
Keeping pets in the garage with a sign on he door advising buyers is always a good idea. With the weather being nice right now, the pets should be comfortable in there. Another option is to put them in a crate when you are not home. It is wise of you to explore your options for your pets!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jan 23, 2013
Probably not what you want to hear, but my advice is to get a friend or relative to take them while your home is on the market. I have a cat myself and love animals, but the majority of my buyer clients don't. If they do, they don't normally seem to like anyone elses. More and more I also see people with allergies as well. When they see the dog or the cat or evidence like water bowls, toys, or litter boxes, they're ready to move on to the next house. These days there are just too many choices, so while you might scream about not having your pets around I think it really comes down to if you want to sell the house or not. In my opinion most sellers really can't afford to loose even one potential buyer these days and not doing something that is totally within your control could cost you big bucks or even the sale.
Web Reference: http://www.teamlynn.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Sep 7, 2008
Bruce Lynn, Real Estate Pro in Coppell, TX

These are all great suggestions. Here's just a few other things to consider.

Cats generally aren't a problem, but the catbox can be. Make sure the box is emptied twice a day and an air freshener nearby might help. If you don't want the cat outside, be specific with your showing instructions so that the buyers and their realtor know not to leave the backdoor open when they go out to look at the yard, etc...

I agree that barking dogs can be distracting and hard to talk over. I've also had clients who wanted to leave their dog "running free" because he was the friendliest dog in the world. Remember, animals are very sensitive and strangers are coming into their homes. This can frighten even the friendliest of dogs causing them to bite or have an accident on the floor. And a segment of the population doesn't like dogs (believe it or not!) and they won't even go in to see your home, just like T.E. pointed out.

My last point is make sure to ask your realtor to be honest with you and tell you if the house has an animal odor. This can be a big turnoff to buyers and make them hurry through or not want to stay. If you are going to use an air freshener like plug ins, or the like, stick to the same smell throughout the home, not a different flavor in every room, and something like "Linen" that covers odor but isn't overpowering. In my opinion, it's almost as bad to walk into a home that is overpowered by air freshener...it gives the impression the owner is trying to cover up an odor.

Just some food for thought. Good luck to you!
Web Reference: http://www.MarciaLevine.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Sep 7, 2008

I forgot to add last night...

Has your home been on the market awhile? Is this a case where you think the pets are affecting the sale of the home? Or are you just preparing for showings now?

If its been on the market awhile and you and your agent think this a factor you might want to consider some of the other suggestions...ie, getting them out of the house for awhile.

Again, good luck.

0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Sep 7, 2008
Buyers are simply put off by yapping dogs. Caging them in the house may seem like a good plan, but when you can't talk over the noise, you're going to lose the interest of that buyer. It's almost as bad as people who shut off the A/C in summer. If it's stiflingly hot inside, you lost the buyer.
If they truly are friendly pets, most buyers will not find them offensive. A few buyers are genuinely fearful and won't even come into a house with animals in it. Buyers want to see the sizes of rooms, including the garage, and want to be able to go out into the yard. A locked pantry with a barking dog inside is not a good plan.
So, what to do with them? If you have the luxury of taking them out of the house for a ride or a walk, do that. Just ask your agent to warn visiting Realtors about a cat that might escape. Usually, cats don't attack or threaten people - so they often are not a problem. If you can't take them out and can't find someone to help you, then you'll have to create a plan to keep them chained up outside when no one can take them away. Failing that, keep them at a relative's or a friend's house until you get a contract.
Web Reference: http://www.SumnerRealty.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Sep 6, 2008

Here in San Antonio we use a system called CSS (Centralized Showing Service) to arrange showings of homes. Your agent can set it up so there are specific showing instructions. When a buyer's agent calls to set up the showing they will give them detailed instructions. I've been told evrything from "pets in kennel in master bedroom" to "dog will bite, is confined to back yard - do not enter" to "don't let cat out of house."

Of course there is the issue of what kind of dogs they are (I've worked with several buyers flat out afraid of dogs) so having them contained (garage, yard, kennel) is always a good idea to make potential buyers as comfortable as possible. Use air deodorizers (Febreeze, plugins, etc.) To minimize any smells. This often turns a buyer off before they enter the door. Clean up as much as possible and like I said, discuss showing instructions with your agent, that's one of the many reasons we're here - to solve problems and make the sale as smooth as possible.

Good luck.

0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Sep 6, 2008
I've shown houses where the seller has put their pets into kennels before they left the house, or taken a dog with them for a ride or a walk while the house is being shown. In one case, I would go to the house and take the two dogs out with me or if I was showing it, I would get there first and put them on leases. Luckily they were adorable and no one minded them being there. It wasn't the best thing, but the alternative was to restrict showings and for a house to sell it must be ACCESSIBLE, and showing instructions of "only after 6 or on weekends" is not accessible. I would only do this again if, like this home, the property was near my own house so I was able to run over there easily if it had to be shown.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Sep 6, 2008
This is truly a delema. The burden is on you to keep the home in tip-top shape for showings and having 3 pets will require a ton of effort.

One suggestion we have come across is to restrict the hours of your showing time to weekends and evening hours when you can be present to supervise the pets or possibly remove them for a short time from the home.

Another thought is to restrict the dogs to the garage area during day time showings. The cat will be less of a problem but keeping it inside may be an issue.

We hope you find this information helpful.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Sep 6, 2008

For most people the cat won't be an issue. The dogs are a bit more complicated. If there is any way to get them out of the house - neighbor, take them with you, etc. - that is the best case scenario. Failing that, having them in a cage in a room and warning the showing agent prior to the showing would work. In the end the worst thing that you can do is to have them running free in the house, it is however done from time to time.

Cameron Piper
Web Reference: http://www.campiper.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Sep 6, 2008
If you can put them in a kennel during the day, that would be best. Otherwise, a cage in the garage will suffice. Just stick them in there before showings or when you leave for a few hours.

If you are concerned about leaving them in a cage, ask a neighbor to check on them every few hours for extended absences.

If a cage will not work and the kennel is not an option, taking them to a neighbor or leaving them in the backyard is an option. Make sure to mention any special instructions in the agent remarks and/or leave a note on the back door with any necessary warnings.

Good luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Sep 6, 2008
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