Ah, the dreaded litterbox.
First and foremost, it must be clean. Always. No evidence. Ever.
Get a litter box with a cover or lid. That’ll help contain the smell and conceal anything that goes on while you’re at work.
Just like real estate, litterboxes are about location, location, location. While I realize that your cat may have become accustomed to having its litter box in the basement shower that you never use, it’s super gross to everyone except you. Hide it away as best you can. Of course do this long before showings begin so that your cat can get used to it and doesn’t rebel. Poo in the shower is grosser than a litterbox in the shower.
Unless you’ve got a hairless cat or a non-shedding dog, you’re going to have fur in the house. It’s your job as the Seller to keep it fur-free, and unfortunately, that might mean sweeping and vacuuming multiple times a day. It’s never good when potential Buyers get distracted by furballs or allergy sufferers go running out. Pro tip: restrict your pet’s access to a small part of the house to reduce the number of rooms you need to clean.
Ever wonder how your sister-in-law can live in that house that reeks of wet dog? Here’s the thing: she doesn’t even know it. Humans have a thing called ‘sensory adaption’ which means that bad smells that are constant, eventually seem ‘normal’ to us and aren’t recognized by our noses anymore.
Case in point: My house only smells like dog if I’ve been away on vacation.
So don’t trust your own nose. Before listing your house for sale:
- Get the carpets and upholstery cleaned
- Thoroughly wash the floors
- If Fido or Fifi has a history of accidents on a particular area rug, get rid of the rug (yes Finn, I’m looking at you and that shag rug I used to love so much).
- Feed dry food instead of canned (the smell lingers longer than you know)
- Throw out old stuffie toys
- Put away the dog and cat beds
Dog and Pet Accoutrement
Like kids, pets come with a lot of stuff: toys, balls, water dishes and bowls, treats, food canisters, scratching posts, leashes….Put. It. All. Away.
Poop in the Yard
This is important: not only should you clean up all the poop in your yard before every showing, you should also do it before you move out. As someone who once was greeted with giant poop scattered throughout her new backyard, trust me, a clean yard will be appreciated. Also, karma.
While agents will do their best to make sure they don’t let out your cat or dog out during a showing or open house, if you’ve got a runner, consider crating or boarding your pets. Keep in mind that strangers entering your home may also inadvertently frighten your pets, so even if they aren’t runners, they may choose to exit vs deal with unwanted company during nap time.
Barkers, Biters, and Scratchers
There’s nothing less welcoming than entering a home to maniacal barking. Pets can be unpredictable, and every experienced agent has been scratched by a cat, jumped on by an excited dog or bitten by something at some point. While it will make your home memorable, it probably won’t make people want to buy it.
If you’ve got a dog, arrange for someone to walk it during each and every showing.
To Board or Not to Board?
In an ideal world, your home is pet-free during showings. If you don’t have a friend or family willing to lend a hand, there are some great boarders out there that will make your dog or cat think they are vacationing at a resort.
If you can’t fathom being without your pet while your home is listed for sale, then follow our tips and be prepared to take on a little extra work.
Need help deciding what to do you with your pets while your home is for sale with the BREL team? Our Concierge can help!