Selling a House With Pets
Here are a few tips for certain types of pets.
Most people who are "dog people" are extremely fond of their pets. Borderline obsessive. That means the dog typically has run of the house, including bedrooms, furniture, you name it.
Pros: Most people DO like dogs, and a listing that obviously has a dog probably has a homey feel to it. That's a plus. A home with a dog also likely has a groomed back yard and a well-kept fence. Another plus.
Cons: Even if prospective buyers are themselves dog people, they probably don't want your greeting them when they walk through the house. Something is going to have to be done with the animal during showings, which can often pop up without much notice. Also, dogs -- especially those of a certain age -- can have problems with incontinence, making messes and worn, smelly carpeting a possible problem. Dander, shedding, toys and general fabric discoloration can all make cleaning up more of a hassle than it would be otherwise.
To do: to avoid distraction if possible the dog really needs to be absent or at least well confined to a porch or other out-of-the-way space like a crate or take the dog for a walk or car ride during the day.
Cats -- while less visible -- can be even more problematic, especially indoor cats as some people are allergic to cats.
Pros: There's a very good chance when shown a house with a cat will actually not be seen. They also can add an air of comfort and relaxation to a room and -- in general -- don't leave surprise messes around the house like some dogs may do. If an indoor-outdoor cat can be outside for the day, all the better.
Cons: Obviously, any sizeable mammal that does its business in plain sight is going to be a bit of a maintenance problem, and cats fit the bill. Cats also shed, making regular vacuuming of carpet and furniture a must.
To do: When it comes to the litter box, it's simply mandatory that the box be in an out-of-the-way place (utility room, spare bathroom, etc.), cleaned daily, deodorized and covered. Potential buyers should not have to see any of that. If someone who is allergic to cats really wants your home, a full-on professional cleaning may be asked for.
Now that we've gotten past the Big Two, we move on to niche pets. Birds are mostly inoffensive and can be kept out of the way.
Pros: Throw a blanket over Polly's cage and he thinks it's night. That makes it pretty easy. Birds also can be a nice conversation piece and are generally pretty. If it's not annoying it might even sing and add some ambience.
Cons: Bird cages can be a bigger pain to clean than litter boxes, so keep that newspaper fresh. Some birds also can be obnoxious, so try to keep the Myna Bird out of sight.
To do: Make sure potential buyers know a bird is in the house so they're not frightened by some flapping or chirping. Make sure it doesn't smell or look off-putting. Other than that it shouldn't be must of an obstacle to a sale.
The most passive of pets, fish are a conversation piece and little more. The headache lies in the tanks.
Pros: Who doesn't love to stare at a fish tank? A well-appointed setup can add ambience to a room and even serve as another piece of furniture.
Cons: Just because a client likes your fish and the tank doesn't mean they want it in their own home. They're bulky and time-consuming (and expensive) to maintain. To do: Make sure buyers know the fish will be leaving with the current owners, but take the opportunity to point out the versatility of the room or space they're in.
Now we're getting into the sensitive stuff. If you have a snake, iguana or some other exotic pet, they're going to need to keep them as put-away as possible in a tank or terrarium.
Pros: Reptiles are cool?
Cons: Reptiles, especially in the home could not that they will freak a majority of buyers out.
To do: Keep them confined to their tanks and as out-of-sight as possible. If you have older kids, we recommend keeping the tank in your child's room during the day. The sight of a strange pet in a teenage boy or girl's room is far less bizarre than, say, in the dining room. If possible think about giving the snake to a friend or relative while the house is on the market, all the better.
These are only suggestions to help you find a buyer and still live your life style while you are selling your home