How You Can Stage Your Home For A Better, Pet-Free Showing
There are plenty of issues your home can have that potential buyers will easily overlook. A few scratches on the wall? May not be noticeable. An outdated appliance? That alone certainly won’t crush a possible offer. But if your home is covered with signs of your pets, now that’s a deal breaker for many shopping for a new home. Here’s how to make your pets (and their by-products) vanish on showing day.
Focus on odor, first and foremost
Pets smell. Even if your dog or cat is completely housebroken and you don’t have to deal with urine on your carpets, pets will still stick up your home. That’s because their dander creates odor, as well as their natural oils that get onto your rugs, couches, and beds. The number one turnoff in a home with pets is a strong pet odor. You may have gotten used to it, but trust us, your potential home buyers have not.
The best way to tackle odor is through enzymatic cleaners (pet-specific). For a less pricey alternative, vinegar solutions are pretty solid. This will help with spot treatment of cloth and carpets, but a deep-cleaning machine may be in order for tough odors. You must also do a good amount of vacuuming to remove hair and dander.
Get rid of the pet
If you’re trying to eliminate the presence of pets during a showing, it stands to reason that you would want to get rid of the pet itself. Depending on the length of the showing (single showing or open house), you may consider hiring a dog walker or boarding your dog. Or, you can schedule a play-date with a friend and their dog—anything to get the dog out of the house. Same goes for a cat or any other animal. Their presence during a showing will not only turn off prospective buyers, but it will give the pets anxiety, too.
Get rid of the evidence
In case you didn’t know, your pet leaves a lot of evidence behind, other than smell and hair. You must do everything you can to remove food, food bowls, toys, beds, crates, cages, litter boxes, and any other evidence before you show your home. Don’t just stuff it in a closet because people check those. Instead, put it all in your car or store it somewhere else. The goal here is to remove any trace of your pet’s existence.
Don’t forget the yard
Home showings often include a walk around the exterior of the property, so you must make sure that your potential buyers don’t find themselves stepping in something unsavory. Mow your lawn to better reveal hidden poop, and then block out a decent amount of time to scour the yard for surprises. Poop isn’t the only potential backyard landmine, however. If you have a dog that likes to dig, you may want to work on filling in holes in your yard or garden. Check here for more on that.
Check your home for pet damage
Dogs, cats, rabbits, birds, and small rodents all have one thing in common—they like to chew. Most of them also love to scratch. Ripped-up couch fabric, scratch marks on door frames, and pulled carpet are all signs that a pet has been there. Make sure you make repairs to damaged elements in your home before you let people tour it (this applies to more than just pet damage).
You love your pets, and nobody is going to question that just because you work to remove all trace of them before a showing. Even animal lovers don’t like to see evidence of other people’s animals in a home they are about to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on. It’s just common sense. Your home will receive more offers and sell faster if it appears pet-neutral. Team up with your local real estate agent to get started!
By Cindy Aldridge