The 3 Things Pet Owners Should Do Before Selling Their Homes, According to an Expert

updated Jun 23, 2020
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There’s no denying that pets are an important part of life. After all, they really are a part of the family. That being said, pets can cause all sorts of problems when it comes to selling a home. Homeowners have to be diligent in making sure their place is spotless before hosting an open house. The thing is, it’s not uncommon for pet owners to become accustomed to the smells that their furry family members leave in their wake. 

Ahead, find three things that pet owners should do before getting their home ready to sell, according to a home stager.

Make sure there’s no evidence of your pet in listing photos or at open houses

Your pet is your world, of course. But there will always be a certain group of people who just don’t have an interest in pets, whether it’s because of allergies or personal preferences. Even those that do love animals may be turned off by the evidence of a pet living in a house they’re looking to buy, simply because it’s impossible to know how the house was cared for with that pet living inside.

“We recommend homeowners remove pets and pet items and have them as out-of-view as possible for listing photos and during showings,” says Brad Pierce, the creative director at Haven Home Staging & Redesign in Chicago. “If actively needed, minimize visible pet items to only one room, such as the kitchen or hallway.

Repair or replace anything with pet damage

OK, so you’ve cleaned up, moved the litter boxes to the garage, and dropped off the pets at your sister’s house for the showings. Unfortunately, there still might be some lingering evidence of your pets if any damage has been done to furniture or even the house itself

“Any furniture that shows visible wear from a pet—such as torn upholstery—should be repaired immediately,” Pierce continued. 

It also wouldn’t hurt to check on any wood that’s been chewed on, or if the walls have some claw scratches that can be covered with a fresh coat of paint. And of course, make sure that all pet odors have been removed as much as possible.

Remove any personal photos with your pet

It’s common advice that sellers should take down family photos before a showing. This is for good reason; ideally, prospective buyers should be able to picture their own families occupying the space. But in case you choose to keep a few photos up here and there, Pierce suggests making sure that you don’t include any that feature your pet. 

A few other tips for pet and home owners

Even if you’re not actively preparing to put your home on the market, it might still be a good idea to keep your house as if you are when it comes to your pet. That way, when it is time to sell, you won’t have to do as much tidying up after Fido. 

In addition to cleaning up after your pet and taking care of any damage as it comes to walls and furniture, Pierce has a few more good suggestions for pet owners. 

“Keep litter boxes regularly clean and in a well-ventilated area,” he says. “Minimize dogs on the front lawns and landscaping to keep these spaces as green as possible, and install pet gates in the home to keep pets focused to certain spaces that are easier to maintain. And try to keep pets out of carpeted rooms.”