Getting Your House Ready to Sell Series: Pet Owners and Home Sales

It is a fact of life that those of us who own pets consider them to be family members.  You see evidence of this daily with dogs accompanying owners on trips around town. Cat owners are just as enthusiastic about their friends; they just have a harder time getting them on a leash!

When you go to sell your house, however, you must stop thinking of your pet like a member of the family and start thinking about your pet as a possible impediment to a quick sale. dog with bowl

When it comes to dogs I often suggest that pets be crated during the day when a house is on lock-box.  Many pet owners balk at this suggestion.

As an alternative, I would like to suggest using a baby gate or pet fence to sequester your dog in a small room (such as a mudroom or study) where potential buyers can see the animal, but feel protected from it's enthusiasm.  Post a sign with the dog's name and provide a dish with dog treats (if appropriate). I do not recommend putting the animal behind a closed door.  Even if this information is posted outside of the room, it may keep a buyer from opening the door to the room--this will leave them with a feeling that they did not see your whole house, and they will likely scratch it off the list.  I once sold my house to a woman who was EXTREMELY scared of dogs.  We gated our 75 pound dog in the mudroom, where she could see her, but not feel threatened (this dog wouldn't hurt a fly).  She has since told me that if the dog had been loose in the house, she would not have gone in and would not have bought our house.

catCats are a different story.  I have had buyer clients who would not buy a house where they could see evidence of cats. It does not matter how well behaved your cat is, many people don't want a home where a cat lived.  If you can see your way to have your cat "stay with a friend" you are going to feel the least amount of repercussions from this.  People who don't like cats feel very strongly about this dislike.  Hide your litter box and remove other evidence. If you are a cat owner, you are likely feeling offended by this.  I apologize, but I see this over and over again when I work with buyers.  Don't shoot the messenger...

Finally, other less common pets can also present problems; hamsters, ferrets, snakes and other animals that some people love and others hate.  If you have these animals, consider having them go stay with a friend during the marketing of your home. Or, if it is a possibility given your home and the weather, keep them in the garage.


If you like what you've read, please consider subscribing to my blog by clicking on the Orange RSS button and following the instructions. Thanks!

 Momentum Realty

A GREAT Real Estate  experience.

If I can help you, your friends or family buy or sell their next home in Northern Virginia, please let me know!

If you need help with a home outside of Northern Virginia, I have an extensive network of referral agents and will make sure you are working with the best!

The contents of this blog may not be copied or reproduced without the permission of Holly Weatherwax.




Comment balloon 3 commentsHolly Weatherwax • September 16 2007 12:41PM


Holly ~ I have to say that I tend to agree.  Many years ago, looking for our first house, one of them was home to a cat, and there was an odor that was stronger to my husband then to me.  We viewed that house probably the fastest of all of them.  In addition, I am allergic to cats, so I really do not want to be around them - not that they are not cute.  
Posted by Kathy Passarette, L.I. Staging/Decorating (Creative Home Expressions) about 11 years ago
I agree with you on this one! Not everyone has pets or even likes them for that matter. Homes do not show well when pet odors are present.
Posted by Ann Krewson, A.L.I. Designs; Staging Houston Homes; Allied Member of A.S.I.D. (A.L.I. Designs, Inc.) about 11 years ago

Of all the blogs I have written, the one about home selling with pets, and its subsequent article, have caused the most furor among readers. But I go one step further. I tell clients to get the pets out of the house, period. For example, much as I love cats, and I am owned by three of them, if it came down to a choice between a home where I knew a cat lived and a home sans pets, I'd choose the home without. Because I know first hand what they can do, ha, ha, ha. In California, eventually a buyer will find out if the seller has pets, but there's absolutely zero reason to advertise that fact by leaving the pets in the home during showings. FWIW, if you google the topic of your post, you will find my stuff at the top. I print out my piece about selling a home where pets live and give it to sellers before completing the listing paperwork. It's more palatable if it comes off the Internet. :)

weintraub signature

Posted by Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Real Estate Agent, Top 1% of Lyon Agents, Put 40 years of experience to work for you (Lyon Real Estate) about 11 years ago

This blog does not allow anonymous comments