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.
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.
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) 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.
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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.
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.
Johnny E Williams
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.