There truly is an adage in the real estate industry of “if it smells, it doesn’t sell”. A great article for dealing with pet odors is at this link.
This is something that, as a real estate agent, I run across frequently. With the number of cases of asthma and allergies rising in the US it’s even more important that pet owners be good about cleaning odors and allergens from their homes before and during the time they sell.
Allergies are pretty common and if a person walks in your house and is hit with the smell and/or allergic effects of a pet you can bet that this is where the home tour ends. No one will push their way through an allergic or asthma attack to see your house. A thorough cleaning is in order and you’ll want to be super-vigilant during the time your house is on the market to keep hair and dander levels down. If it makes sense to replace the carpet before going on market, and maybe sending the pup to a friend or family member’s house for a week, you should consider it.
Plus, some pet smells are in more than just the carpet. If a pet has had a long history of soiling a carpet it is very likely that the wetness has penetrated to the subfloor which will also need replacing before the smell can be eradicated.
We’ve found that it also makes sense to have a plan in place to handle how your pet will deal with the stress of having your house on the market. Some dogs and cats have difficulty with strangers and that’s exactly who’ll be tromping through your house at all hours of the day while you’re at work. Letting “Fido” or “Sam the cat” run around loose is not the best idea because the pet could get out and get lost. Animals tend to sense the changes that are coming because of the increased activity around the house so preparing ways for the pet to be soothed and kept safe will make for a better experience for everyone. If you’ve crate trained your pet then you’ll be ahead of the game in getting your pet prepared for the visitors you can expect while waiting for the perfect buyer to choose your home.
From the new buyer’s perspective (and an agent’s) it’s not fun to walk into a house just to be met with a dog that you don’t know if it will be aggressive. Plus a portion of the population is also phobic of dogs – no matter the size. If the dog hears the agent getting the keys and unlocking the door most likely, if left loose in the house, the dog will be at the door. If barking is involved it’s possible that the prospective buyer or agent may say “let’s just pass on this one” for fear of what could happen as soon as the door is opened. Believe me, liability is an issue we all have to deal with on a regular basis. Just because your pet is usually very sweet and loving to you doesn’t mean that it will be to every stranger that comes into the house. Most pets are territorial by nature and you don’t want to get hit with a lawsuit for a dog bite just as you’re trying to sell your house. The number one insurance claim each year for residential property is dog bites.
A new item that was brought to my attention too regarding keeping houses clean and free of pests is dander and pet food sitting out without being in closed containers. A client of mine recently had an infestation of carpet beetles invade their home. The pest control folks told them that it was likely a combination of pet dander, hair, and open pet food that brought the little critters in. Specifically, the pest that showed up are carpet beetles. Read more about them here: Entomology info on carpet beetles Be sure to put your pet food into sealed containers; either metal or plastic. Plus, the general smell of pet food isn’t too pleasant to humans so you don’t want that wafting through your house while you’re trying to sell it.
Pets are a wonderful addition to any home and family but they need to be considered just like any other family member and they need to be part of your planning when you’re ready to sell.