Put simply, if there is a “doggie in the window”, the buyers and their agents probably won’t even try to go in. The question should really be “how much will this doggie cost me in terms of days on the market”, but the other title works much better.
The reality is that most sellers have some type of pet. Most times this is not an issue whatsoever. I can, however, share some insight as to how these showings are perceived by the buyers touring the property. A pet should not reduce your chances of a swift sale, but there are some things you can do to help yourself out on this. Today’s mantra is to make the HOME memorable, not the PET.
#1 — If at all possible, removing the pet(s) from the home during the showing is always going to be the best option. This really is the best scenario for all (and I’m including the pet in this). People will be walking up and down hallways, opening and closing all doors including exterior doors, the animal will hear unfamiliar voices and probably get pretty frightened. A barking dog during a showing speeds it up and you want the potential buyer to spend time looking over the house, not trying to talk over the barking.
#2 —Never leave your pet wandering around freely during the showing. Don’t even accept the showing if this is going to be the scenario the buyers walk in on. If the pet must be at the property, have it kenneled somewhere out of the way….spare bedroom or basement. This is a solution that I see often, but you still might miss that buyer that is allergic or afraid of dogs or cats. While I’m at it, yes, cats should also be kenneled. Hand to the Good Lord, I have seen a cat growl and hiss and keep my clients from entering a family room. I’ve also had showings where my clients have been startled with a set of glowing eyes in the basement. This would be an example of Pet Memorable, not Home Memorable. Additionally, it is very easy for a cat to run out of an exterior door so it is just not worth the risk.
#3 — Listing agents need to make the buyers agents aware of the pet before the showing. Most agents are very good at updating remarks in the Multiple Listing Service. This will include what type of pet, how many, and where the pet will be during the showing. When I initially consult with a buyer, I will ask them if they have any pet allergies just for this reason. We can make arrangements with the listing agent to schedule a showing with the pet removed from the home if necessary. To date, I’ve never had a showing wind up in the emergency room and I’d like to keep it that way.
#4 — Does your home pass the sniff test? Odors are a big turnoff for buyers. Have the carpets cleaned to freshen up the place. In some cases, consider new carpeting in rooms that need it. Vacuum each day and get those cute little nose prints off the windows. Not so cute to the buyer. Ever heard of the saying “Dogs leave paw prints on your heart”? Lets keep them there and not on your floor. Also, litter boxes should be neat and clean with as few “artifacts” as possible.
I know that these seem like common sense items and they are. Having pets does not have to be a negative when it comes to selling homes. Like I’m always stating, however, make it easy for the buyer to buy. Show them that you’ve taken them into consideration during their showing. In return, they are now free to have a thorough showing and see all that your home has to offer….HOME Memorable.
Take care and let me know if there is anything you need,
Realtor — Domicile One Realty
Licensed in Kansas and Missouri