8 Top Tips To Selling Your Home With Pets

How do you sell a home with pets? This is a question that gets asked a lot in real estate sales. While pets are great for your emotional health, it does not help you sell your home.

If you have a dog or cat, chances are you love your pet. While some home owners have strict outside pet rules, most allow their animals inside their homes as part of the family.

When you decide to put the house on the market you need to do some serious housecleaning and repair work before you can command a competitive price.

You want buyers to be able to picture themselves in your home. This means giving them the space to envision living there, a space that is free from too many of your personal things – including pets and all they bring with them. So how do you go about selling your property when you have pets?

You have to understand that not every prospective buyer will be sympathetic to your animal friends, and they might be the ones who want to pay you the most for your house.

It doesn't matter how nice a property's exterior is, where it's located or how hot the current real estate market is. If prospective buyers walk into a home and notice the floor coverings look tattered, the molding looks cat-clawed, there's dander on the furniture or the air is pervaded with pet-related odors, these factors will undercut efforts to sell the home.

Pets can reduce the selling price of a home. Put differently, there's never been a house that sells for more money because the owners have pets. Fortunately, there are solutions to even the worst cases where pets have reduced the value of a home, including the following eight:

1. Touch-ups

A fresh coat of paint can go a long way, as can new carpeting, a good cleaning service and some simple, artful touches by an interior design professional. If these efforts sound expensive, consider how expensive it would be to sell your home at a ten or twenty percent price reduction. Prospective buyers look for leverage when negotiating prices, and the obvious need to cleanse a house of pre-existing conditions caused by pets is a huge leg up in their favor.

2. Considering the buyer's perspective

Sellers try to imagine what a potential buyer might think if they walk into a house where the first thing they see is a cat-clawed newel post, the first thing they smell is the unmistakable trace of urine in the air or the floor they're standing on is littered with dust bunnies wrapped up with dog or cat hair.

There is a chance that this buyer will stay and tender a bid for your home, but the odds are they'll do so at your disadvantage. You didn't take the time to show off your home in its best light, so now you'll be penalized for it."

3. Eliminating the presence of pets as much as possible 

The bottom line is that if you're showing your house, the feeling and presence of pets need not be there. Realtors tell their clients that this is not them passing judgment on their lifestyle, values or pets, but rather trying to get them the best possible offer for what is likely the most valuable asset in their financial portfolio.

All the cute things your dog does will not help you sell your home, and will only remind the potential buyer that the house has contained pets previously.

Having a pet in the house or yard can create complications for your agent while trying to show the house, and puts your pet at risk of accidentally getting out during the process. There are also liability issues to deal with as well.

While your dog or cat may be ultra friendly, it is certainly possible they can have a bad day just like you and I.

There are times where it may not be possible to remove a pet from a home. Maybe due to your job you just can’t come back and remove them or you can’t find anyone who will help take care of them.

If this is the case your next best option is to either put them in a contained space and let a buyer and their Real Estate agent know about it ahead of time or buyer a pet friendly cage to keep them in.

While your pet may not be accustomed to this and you love treating your animals like one of the family sometimes this is what is necessary when you are making selling your home a priority.

4. Repair Any Damage

As much as we love our pets, they are still animals, and pet damage is never attractive when selling your home. Dogs and cats will inevitably destroy something, including carpets, furniture, hardwood flooring, walls, doors, turf in your yard and your fence.

All of this damage should be repaired prior to showing the home.

This may require some investment on your part, especially if the animal has damaged expensive items like your hardwood flooring or walls in your house. Regardless of the cost of repair, though, the value you will get for your house will be well worth paying for the repairs.

5. Remove Pet Odors and Stains

Pets have accidents; and while it is possible to get used to the pet smell over time, new visitors to your home will be sure to notice the smells. This is not something you want to happen. In fact, above all else, this may be important tip for selling a home when you have pets.

Our sense of smell has a powerful effect on our emotions, our memory and on our perception of

An initial urine odor on entering a house is sure to stick in the buyer’s mind, and he or she will likely deduct the cost of carpet replacement immediately from an offer as a result.

A strong odor is in fact one of the top reasons a buyer will pass on a home.

Avoid this by having your carpet and flooring professionally cleaned, with a focus on removing pet odors. If the staining or odors are too bad, you may need to replace the carpet in the problem areas.

6. Clean Your Yard

Pick up any messes in the backyard, and have any sod replaced and other damage repaired as necessary. You may be the kind of person who picks up after your pet regularly, or you may have a cat that causes very little impact to your yard.

However, a large number of dog owners give their pets free reign of the backyard. This is a great life for dogs and cats, but it can be hard on the look of your lawn. One of the best tips, when selling a home with pets, is to make sure you don’t neglect the yard as this is just important to some buyers as the inside of the home.

7. Erase Signs of Your Pet for Potential Buyers

You want to buyers to be as unaware of your pet ownership as possible. If they ask the question, you will have to answer honestly. However, you can often avoid this by taking necessary steps like those listed above.

In addition, put away all pet toys, bedding, litter boxes and food – preferably at another location besides your home.

Some realtors recommend removing all personal photos including your pet as well. 

Like other forms of home staging, removing extra pet clutter is an important consideration when you are selling your property.

8. Remember Pet Liability

Did you know that you can be held liable for your pet biting someone while on your property? According to Kenneth M Phillips who specializes in law surrounding dog bites, there are more than 4.7 million dog bite cases reported in the US every year. Further the average lawsuit resulting from an injury is settled for more than $29,000 and climbing much higher when extensive plastic surgery is needed.

If you own a pet and are leaving them in your home during showings this should be a real wake up call! I know you are probably thinking Fido would never hurt a flea. Is it really worth taking a chance?

One of the things you should do if you own a dog is check your home insurance policy and make sure that it does not exclude dog bite coverage. You will want to check the exclusion in the coverage section to make sure it does not mention dogs or even animals in general.

Some insurance policies will exclude certain breeds such as Pit bulls, German shepherds, Rottweilers, Great Danes and others.

In approximately two thirds of the states in the US pet owners can be held liable for injuries resulting from a dog bite even if the animal has shown no previous aggression. So while it was previously mentioned that you shouldn’t leave your dog around for showings it can’t be emphasized enough. If you want to know how to sell a home with pets this tip should be the one you don’t forget!

Be optimistic and don't forget the bottom line...