Pets are growing more and more omnipresent throughout households in the United States. According to a recent survey by the American Pet Products Association, (APPA), they found that a whopping 67% of households own a pet.
Pet owners can be devoted. In one neighborhood, when the real estate agent was having a conversation with a potential seller, the seller said that he knew the name of every dog in the neighborhood yet didn’t remember most of the pet owners’ names.
While pet ownership is great, there is a shift in thinking that takes place when someone is looking for a home. As professional real estate agents, you are dealing with the personalities and emotions of all different types of people all day long. This includes their feelings about pets also. For pet owners, they are part of the family. And pets always add a unique flavor to a home, but not every buyer loves pets, and not every buyer loves the same breed of pets that your seller has.
How do you bridge the gap between your buyers and sellers?
Discuss These Issues With Your Seller
Safety and Liability Issues
When showing a property, dogs can be territorial and want to protect their space with a lot of barking. Make sure your sellers’ homeowner insurance policy and all veterinary documents are kept in a safe place. Dog bites, of course, are to be avoided and are a potential huge liability.
Potential buyers and their children may have severe allergies to pet dander, which could be an obstacle for the seller.
Not Everyone Loves Animals
Yes, this can be true. And a potential buyer can be put off if a dog/cat/pig/etc. comes charging up to them when they enter the home, or if the smell of the animals pervades the home.
These Steps Can Make or Break a Deal
Do you want the house to sell?
Keep It Clean
Have the home spotless and de-cluttered during the entire home selling process from listing to closing. If there are pet clothes on the furniture, couches, or chairs, remove them. Get a professional to come and clean the home periodically while it is on the market. Sometimes Buyers want to sit and have a conversation about the home with you, their agent. They don’t want to be sitting on a couch that is coated with pet hairs. Many people have a different definition of clean, so having an outside professional can make a BIG difference.
Keep the Pets Away From the House During Showings
Have the owners or friends keep the animals with them and away from the home during showings. Clean the pet’s living space. Put away all feeding bowls. Re-locate cages. I know this can be a tough one. At the very least, many sellers will walk their dogs during showings. The space needs to be clean and clear for the Buyers to see and appreciate the home.
Avoid Scented Candles or Plug-Ins
Scented candles and plug-in deodorizers can be potentially toxic to both humans and animals, and the strong fragrance to cover up animal smells can be offensive to people viewing the home. To minimize animal scents in the home, opt for natural scents, like a pie in the oven, or a natural essential oil such as lavender, peppermint, lemon, or wild orange, which are soothing to the nose.
Remove All Photos of Animals
Create a clear space for the potential buyers to appreciate the home and visualize their own family (including their own furry, feathery, or scaly babies) living in it. If the home is located in an area that specializes in horse racing and most potential buyers are in that profession, this still remains true – unless you want it to strike up a conversation.
Get Rid of Any Stains or Pet Residue – Replace Carpet If Necessary
Buyers can spot stains instantly and will start deducting the price of a new floor in their heads before an offer is even made. Make sure all stains are removed and cannot be seen, otherwise replace the stained carpet or remove the furniture and keep the animals out of that particular room until the home is sold. Again, any dirt, stains from food spills, urine, or feces need to be removed so the entire area looks and smells clean– and not covered up by a chemical odor as noted before.
Do Not Market the House as Pet-Friendly
When people are searching for a home, they will ask about the community and whether they accept pets and how many. There is no need to advertise this feature, as it will distract from those buyers who do not have any pets and do not want any in their home.
Clean the Front, Side, and Backyard of Home
This includes any sheds. Keep the lawn looking green, shrubs trimmed, and all debris and feces picked up regularly. Many owners give their pets free reign of the backyard. Some dogs have their own home out back. Be creative, since most of the time, the doghouse can’t be removed. Put a welcome sign up or something cute that will make potential Buyers smile.
If There Are Any Reptiles, Consider Covering or Moving Them
Many people, especially children, may be fearful seeing rattlesnakes or any type of reptile within the home. One Buyer was sitting down with the Seller and the real estate agent in the kitchen before viewing the property. When the owner started talking about his prize rattlesnakes, the Buyer gave a look to the real estate agent and politely exited the property.
Make Appointments in Advance and Be There for All Showings
One of the values a professional real estate agent brings to the table is their ability to build rapport with all parties. It is also their ability to show a property and it greatest appeal along with the surrounding area. (Adhering to all NAR and governmental guidelines.) This happens when the above steps are taken into account and the Listing or Showing Agent can be there to meet the Buyer’s Agent and potential Buyers.
In today’s time, there are so many distractions and potential obstacles to purchasing a new home. By following the above suggestions, it can be a smoother and safer process when pets are involved.
And when managing your transaction, Form Simplicity‘s Ultimate Edition can help you stay organized and on schedule. Form Simplicity’s Ultimate Edition includes all the transaction management features plus unlimited eSign and document storage. A real estate transaction management software like Form Simplicity is crucial in today’s world.
Paws up if you agree!
Written for Form Simplicity by Janice Zaltman, a Realtor, LEED AP, Marketing Coach and Writer with more than 20 years of experience in the sales, marketing, and media fields.