Selling a House with Pets at Home

This is a sensitive subject for any pet owner and one of the most difficult subjects I have to face as a real estate agent.

I myself am a huge pet lover. I have a very small dog that rules the roost at my house. So, I totally understand the importance and position a pet takes in our lives and families. With that being said, here is my advice on the subject.

The easiest way I have ever heard this point made was said this way. People either will not, or can not go into a house with pets. This is because it is either based on fear, or allergies. Cutting out those buyers will unfortunately drastically lower the number of people who will look at your house.

Also to be fair to your pet, they don’t like strangers in their homes either. It is instinct for them to either protect their territory, or flee from fear. To lessen the stress on your pet the best option is to remove the pet for showings. Take them with you, or have a family member, friend or neighbor come over and remove them from the house until after the showing is over.

If you do have to leave them in the house it is best to put them in a safe place like a carrier. Be sure to put a sign on the outside that says Please don’t disturb. People see a cutie in there and want to be nice and touch the pet. If the pet were to bite it would not be good for the potential buyer or the pet to be stressed that way.

Okay, here is the obvious part of the story, but I have to include this because living day in and out we sometimes overlook these minor details that make a huge difference in the buyers eyes.

Cat Litter Boxes & Dog Potty Pads: Keep them out of sight and impeccably clean. Nothing turns off buyers faster than opening the door to the laundry room and being greeted by a full or stinky cat box.

Carpet & Floor Pet Stains: Hire professionals to remove the stains. Buyers will spot them and form unfavorable opinions about the rest of the house. If the stains can’t be removed, then remove the floor covering and replace it.

Pet Odors and Smells: Cat urine is the worst. Without question. The. Worst. Bring in a friend or neighbor to do a whiff test. Be careful with air fresheners. People with allergies will react. Try enzyme cleaners such as Simple Solution, Nature’s Miracle.

For Showings Remove Signs of a Pet. Put away food and water bowls when not in use. Vacuum every day, sometimes twice a day. Pick up pet toys and put them away.

Blessed is the person who has earned the love of an old dog.
Sidney Jeanne Seward

About Lisa Marchant

I enjoy assisting people in finding their new home or investment property. I want to be their trusted advisor when it comes to learning more about the process of buying, selling and relocating to our area. It is my number one goal to provide exceptional service to everyone I work with. Having lived in Deaver and Cowley Wyoming since childhood I am very knowledgeable about the area and enjoy sharing that knowledge with those making Wyoming their new home. I am a full time real estate agent working for Johnson Home and Land. I joined the staff at Johnson Home and Land in March of 2003, beginning as the office secretary and personal assistant. I got my real estate license in February of 2005. I am a member of the Northwest Wyoming Board of REALTORS, Wyoming Association of REALTORS, the National Association of REALTORS, and locally a board member of the Lovell Chamber of Commerce.
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4 Responses to Selling a House with Pets at Home

  1. Megan Heindl says:

    I am put off by homes with smokers who smoke inside also. When you go inside and the smell of cigarette smoke is seeping from the walls it is just awful. How do get rid of that?


  2. Sarah Johnson says:

    Hi Megan,
    It’s always good to hear from you. The best way I know is to use KILZ primer and paint products on walls/ceilings. That stuff is amazing. I have even known folks who have used it on sub flooring of a house with strong cat smell and it worked. Carpet and window coverings may need to be replaced if the smoke smell is very strong.


  3. Megan, thanks for commenting! Yes, I agree with you. This is also a sensitive subject for some sellers. Some tips I have given if someone wants to sell their house and are smokers would be to smoke outside. They will want to do a deep cleaning of all surfaces including furniture, flooring, curtains, furnace filters, and personal items. Painting is the least expensive improvement that will freshen up not only the smell but also improves the looks of the home by giving it a clean start.


  4. DeAnna Calvin says:

    Thanks for all the good ideas. I moved into a home once that reeked of smoke, the doors and windows had been covered and the woman who owned it previously chain smoked. I found that using a product called TSP (Tri-Sodium Phosphate) found at the hardware store worked wonders in cleaning the walls and ceilings and then a fresh coat of paint helped with the smell. Lots of fresh air and two or three carpet shampoos later it was not bad at all.


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