That magic, hectic, hopeful time—moving time—is just around the corner. Of course, before you buy you have to show, then sell your present home. Home owners who are also pet ‘owners’ sometimes face additional challenges in getting ready to show. There are two parts to getting ready: the first is ensuring you’ve eliminated all evidence of pet odors, stains, or damage. The second involves preparation for those days you’ll show your home to prospective buyers.
The first order of business is the clean-up phase. Start with your pet’s potty area. In addition to tacking stains or ‘accidents’ as soon as they occur, here are some practical clean-up tips:
- Figure out first where the ‘accident’ took place. The Humane Society of the United States says “use your nose”. Smells travel, so you need to figure out where before you can clean up.
- Trying to mask pet odors with candles, incense, or air freshener often backfires. Some may find the new smell less tolerable than the original. Others may be downright allergic.
- For fresh stains, use paper towels and old newspapers to sop up the mess. After that dries a bit, rinse and re-rinse with cold water. If on a carpet or rug, consider a shop-vac or wet-vac.
- Don’t use steam cleaners: the heat often seals a stain in place.
- Paint and varnish react to your pet’s urine. Sanding or even paint-stripping may be necessary.
- Try a little preventive maintenance, in several different ways:
- First, long before you show your home, examine your pet’s diet. There are some foods that prevent shedding.
- Second, consider treating your pet to a special de-shedding shampoo.
- Third, think about dedicating an old towel or two to the task of temporary comforter or arm rest for your pet.
- Pay special attention to high traffic areas, or those areas potential home buyers will see first.
- If stains prove impossible to remove, consider bringing in a professional.
So let’s assume you’re vigilant and/or have moved into high maintenance mode ever since you decided to sell. At that point, the whole specter and question of what to do with your pet before or during an actual showing raises its sometimes uncomfortable head. We’ve got you covered here too, though you may not like some of the suggestions you read.
At best, you’ll have fellow pet owners and lovers inspect your lovely home. Better, they may not balk when the occasional reminder that yes, you do have pets, pops up. They may not even mind if your tail-wagging dog or little kitty comes by to say hello. But that’s at best; and that might not turn out to be your experience. It’s worth taking at least a quick look at some situations that might not be ideal, and what you can do about them when showing your home.
If you’re lucky enough to have only fellow pet owners come visit, don’t think of that in terms of a blanket solution. A cat lover, for example, may not even like dogs. Not all dog owners welcome rover jumping up on them; it’s something worth considering. And here’s something less obvious: your pets are just that. They’re yours. You are used to them.
Some visitors, whether or not they like animals, may be highly allergic to certain kinds of pet hair, fur, or dander. Even if you’ve cleaned the place spotlessly, that might not be enough. If they have allergic reactions, they’re not likely to even stay long enough to think about your place. Assuming your animals have their favorite little hiding or rest spots, that might be the best place for them during showings. If your cat or dog enjoys the outdoors, that, too, might be the best spot for them.
Here’s something few pet owners consider, especially if they have mild-mannered, or even small pets—some people are afraid of animals. I’ve seen it in the hallway, and when people have refused to get on an elevator. There are numerous superstitions about cats, and any number of highly publicized stories about aggressive dogs. It doesn’t matter that it sounds irrational, or that it’s rare: some people just can’t help it. What to do?
Consider making sure your pet isn’t home when visitors come knocking.
Ask a neighbor or friend to take them in for each showing. If that’s not possible, boarding them might be the only answer. Not always a pleasant thought, but it’s one that may make the difference to a potential buyer.
There are a number of other things you can do in conjunction with boarding your beloved pooch, and most of them have to do with reducing your pet’s paw print in the home before showings. Try these 3 things:
- Put away dog or kitty food and water bowls.
- Pick pet toys up and put them away too.
- The cat or dog carrier, or cage, should be tucked away too.
If you insist on having your kitty or pooch around during a showing, make sure to put it in a cage or carrier, to let your visitors know it’s there, and to ask them not to disturb it.
Selling your home may require tremendous vigilance, so the few little things you can do to ensure your pets are safe and out of the way may be well worth the effort.