9 Helpful Tips for Selling Your House When You Have Pets

selling a home with pets

No matter how long it’s been since you visited, the instant you walk into your grandma’s home you’re transported back to your childhood. Because you’ve been away, you’ve overcome the nose blindness that occurs when you’ve gotten used to a home’s odors. As you get ready to sell your home, you’ll need to see your property with new eyes and a fresh nose so that you can turn your home into a shining jewel that potential buyers will pay top dollar for.

Every home has its own distinct scent, no matter how clean it is, and you don’t want that unique scent to be a deterrent to selling your home. For non-pet owners, smelling your beloved furry friend the instant they walk in the door can be a deal-breaker. As you prepare your home for sale, here are nine tips to prep your property when you have pets. 

1. Tackle Smells 

What causes pet odor? Bacteria that live on your dog, dirt tracked in from the yard, or feces on your dog’s paws are just a few of the potential reasons that your home smells less than fresh. 

Even if you have a dedicated cleaning schedule, you may have missed the hidden spots where pet hair, dirt, and dander like to linger. You’ll need to go beyond vacuuming the carpet and remove the true sources of pet odors.

  • Wash your pet’s bed, or better yet, replace it.
  • Strip the sheets on your bed.
  • Move furniture and vacuum underneath it.
  • Wash down the baseboards and doors.
  • Wipe down pet cages or litter boxes with disinfectant.

2. Clean Up Pet Hair

Depending on how much your pet sheds, you may already have a routine in place to keep up with the hair. Go the extra mile and remove couch cushions to vacuum underneath the cushions. Remove cushion covers and wash them to remove any dander. As you open your home to more potential buyers, you should increase how frequently you vacuum. 

3. Shampoo Carpets

Pets running in and out of the house can track in dirt, and all of those potty accidents add up over time. Homebuyers will notice stains on your carpet, so cleaning your carpets should be a high priority. Whether you take the DIY route and rent a carpet cleaner from a tool rental company, or hire a professional, deep cleaning your carpets is a huge component of getting your home ready to sell. 

4. Use Enzyme Cleaners

Simply masking the smell of your pets isn’t enough. If you haven’t tried enzyme cleaners that break down and remove the scent of your cat’s territory marking, then it’s time to step up your game. Some enzyme cleaners work better on stains and some work better on odors, so it may take a few tries to figure out the right combination to tackle your specific situation. Best Reviews has tested dozens of products and settled on the five best ones for pet odors and stains.

5. Replace Air Filters

Generally, HVAC experts recommend that you replace your home’s air filters every 90 days, but if you have a pet, they advise that you replace them more often. How often? Well, that depends on how many pets you have in the home, how efficient your HVAC system is, and how much your pet sheds. Before putting your home on the market, it’s a great idea to start with fresh air filters no matter when you replaced them last.

6. Repair Pet Damage

Woodwork- Pet nails can wreak havoc on your home’s woodwork. For baseboards or doors with scratches or gouges in them, fill the damage with wood filler, sand lightly, and repaint. For wood floors, consider having them sanded down and refinished entirely so that your house’s beauty takes center stage in an open house.

Windows- For minor scratches, go the DIY route with toothpaste (yes, toothpaste!), a baking soda mixture, or buffing cloth. Serious scratches that you can fit a fingernail into may call for professionals. Glass restoration specialists may be able to buff out and restore your windows without replacing them. Replacing the windows is the last resort for only the most serious pet damage.

Screens- If you have the time, you can rescreen your screens. Age and dirt can take a toll on screens, but so do cat claws. Shredded screens can bring down the perceived value of your home, even if it doesn’t cost much to repair or replace them. Go the extra mile and make sure they’re in working order. 

7. Clean Up the Yard

Improve your curb appeal and address any long-term damage your pet may have caused to your landscaping. 

  • Remove pet deposits.
  • Replace or reseed grass.
  • Repair or remove dog runs.
  • Address fence damage or holes.
  • Dig up dead bushes.
  • Clean up pet toys.

8. Keep Pets Quiet

After you’ve gone through all the effort of removing the evidence of pets from your home, having your dog bark as home buyers tour your home may undo all of your hard work. Whether you need to have a friend pet-sit, send them to doggie daycare, or plan showings around your work hours so you can keep them with you, make plans to keep your pets out of the house during showings.

9. Reduce Your Pet’s Stress

Selling a home is also stressful for your pet. Having strangers walk through their territory can cause your pet to act out in ways you’ve never seen before. Normally docile pets may become aggressive when they’re stressed, and act out by either marking their territory (your home) with urine, having more bathroom accidents, barking or meowing aggressively, or pulling out their fur. Make the home selling process easier on your pet by finding ways to reduce your pet’s stress. Limit their exposure to strangers and make the home-selling experience easier on everyone involved.

The Bottom Line

Even if you have a regular housekeeper, or are one of those rare adults who manage to keep on top of the household chores, deep cleaning your home for an open house means tackling areas that are overlooked during routine cleaning. The goal, after all, is to remove any smell, sign, or hint of an animal so that potential buyers are left with a favorable impression of your gorgeous home. 

Getting your home ready to sell may take a little more effort when you have pets. After all, you’ll be repairing any damage that your pet has caused to the property. However, with a little planning and elbow grease, you’ll be able to list your home with confidence.

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