Australians love our furry companions: research shows that 80% of Australians want a home with a yard for their pets, and 45% would move or would like to move to have a home that’s pet-friendly. However. while having pet-friendly features can increase your chances of sale, having pets can also hurt it if potential home buyers are scared of animals or allergic.
When you’re putting your property on the market, it should appeal to the broadest range of buyers out there - and that means removing any traces of your pets that could turn buyers away. If you’re gearing up to sell, here are some helpful tips for selling a home with pets.
1. Thoroughly clean the house and invest in pet odor removal
You should always clean your house before an open home, but this is even more important for selling a home with pets. Even if your carpets and floors look clean on the surface, pet odors can linger and there can be traces of animal dander that could trigger allergic reactions.
It’s tempting to cover up these smells with air fresheners or simply do a quick vacuum clean, but you may miss little details that could cost you a sale. Invest in professional cleaning services before an inspection, including professional carpet cleaning, and steam cleaning for upholstered furniture.
While there are more upfront costs associated with professional cleaning services (cleaning costs can be close to $200 for a large house), having a clean home can deliver a 3-5% return on investment and means your property will appeal to more buyers.
2. Fix any damages caused by your pets
From scratch marks on the bottom of the sofa to floor stains and stretched fly screens, the little damages done by your pets over time can quickly add up to major costs to your final sale price. Buyers want to see that their future home is well taken care of, and will pick up on these details - and potentially use them as reasons to negotiate the final sale price on your property.
Do a once-over of your home and check your window sills, skirting boards, fly screens, table legs, and sofas for signs of scratching or gnawing from your pets. Quick fixes, such as a throw on a damaged couch or a table runner, are enough to cover up damages to your furniture; but for damages to the structure, like the fly screens or window sills, it’s worth it to consider a fresh coat of paint or replacing damaged property.
3. Remove traces of pets from your home
Your furry pals are part of the family, and will be even after you move from your current property. However, when you’re styling your home, the general rule of thumb is to remove personal traces and leave your house as a blank canvas so potential buyers can visualise themselves living there.
Remove any traces of pets living in your property, as they might make potential buyers nervous or deter a sale. Before your inspections, go through and put away any:
- Food and water bowls
- Pet toys
- Litter boxes
- Cat trees
- Photos of your pets
- Cages or kennels
- Warning signs for dogs on the property
You can also consider sealing dog and cat doors, as this may be a detail that some buyers will pick up on.
4. Don’t forget your yard!
Backyards are massive boosters when it comes to property value, but these areas are also prime territory for your pets and this means your yard may be looking a little worse for wear. Animals love to dig holes and leave droppings in the yard, and this can leave a negative impression on buyers and suggest that your home hasn’t been properly maintained over the years.
Fill in any holes with plants, re-grass any larger patches of dirt, and even consider investing in minor landscaping (this can add value to your home regardless of whether you have pets).
5. Keep the pets out of sight during inspections
Above all else, one of the most helpful tips for selling a home with pets is to make sure they’re not on site for inspections, open homes, and auctions. Animals are unpredictable: dogs can bark and scare away buyers, while cats can scratch kids and pose safety risks, plus your pets may run around and affect the styling and cleanliness of your home.
Although it may be hard, try to arrange for your pets to be off-site when potential buyers are visiting the property. You can entrust a neighbour or friend, or find a local pet care service to look after your pet during this time. Your local real estate agent might also be able to recommend some companies that you can trust with your pets if you’re not comfortable finding places on your own.
6. When in doubt, ask someone else
As a pet owner and a homeowner, it’s easy to overlook certain details or even miss pet odors because you’ve become accustomed to having your companions around. Before showing your house, invite a friend or a relative over to inspect your property thoroughly for pet damage, and do a smell test for any lingering scents from your pets.
During open homes, it also helps to listen to the feedback of buyers as they’re inspecting your property, as they might raise new points that could be fixed when you’re preparing for your next inspection.
Selling a home with pets doesn’t have to be challenging. With some careful planning and preparation, you can set yourself up for a smooth inspection and sale - and, of course, if you’re in doubt, it always helps to ask your real estate agent for advice and tips.
For more tips on selling your property, take a look at our selling checklist here.
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Looking to sell your home in 2019? Contact us to book in a free, no-obligation appraisal with our expert local agents, and find out how we can help you achieve a successful sale for your property in 2019.