I love pets. Not just mine, but others’. And I have a special concern for those that are orphaned or homeless. I’m pleased to express that concern by being an active supporter of both the Humane Society of the Nature Coast and the SPCA of Hernando County. I was the primary sponsor of both organizations’ annual golf tournaments this year, and the events raised more than $23,000 combined to help sustain these indispensable community resources. I also donate a portion of my professional fee to the Humane Society every time I close on a “pet parents” home. (Check out this video!)
But my personal fondness for our furry friends sometimes is at odds with my professional commitment to my customers who are listing homes in Brooksville and Spring Hill. Marketing a home where pets are present can be a problem. Even if your dog or cat is well-behaved and well-trained, and you are a meticulous housekeeper, there are inherent risks. Odors and hair are unavoidable, and are sometimes accompanied by stains. Even home buyers who have their own pets aren’t always understanding. They may be used to their pets, but they are less accepting of a stranger’s.
Some real estate agents advise their customers to relocate their pets temporarily before putting their home on the market. I suppose that would be ideal from a marketing standpoint. But as a person who can’t imagine being away from my companions for more than a short time, that advice is not very practical. Unless you’re lucky enough to have a willing relative or neighbor, your only option is to pay for boarding. That’s not just expensive, it is not fair — to you or your pets.
So, assuming you are a home seller who has chosen not to displace your pets, here are a few tips to minimize the risk that your four-legged companions will send potential buyers barking up the wrong tree.
• Clean your carpets: Every person who lists their home for sale should do this, but it is especially important for those who have in-house pets. Hire a professional. Smells and stains are an instant turn-off.
• Vacuum: Do it often — daily, if possible — to remove the hair you can see and the dander you cannot see. Some visitors may be allergic. Runny noses and watery eyes do not a good home buyer make.
• Plan ahead: Have a plan to put your pet outside the house, or at least in an out-of-the-way place inside your house. If water and food bowls are usually in plain sight, move them with your pet. (This is important especially for your cat’s litter box.) You don’t want the distraction of your dog jumping or barking, or your cat hopping up on a table, while your visitors should be focused on listening to what your REALTOR® is saying about your home. Better yet, make you and your family scarce, too. Take your pet for a walk, a ride in the car, playtime in the yard, or to a neighbor.
• Police your yard: Be diligent about locating and disposing of the “bombs” your dog is dropping in the yard. The last thing you need is for your potential homebuyer or REALTOR® to step in a pile of poop while they are walking the property.
The bottom line is that it will take extra effort to make sure your pets do not get in the way of selling your home. If you aren’t willing to do what is right for your pet and for your pocketbook, you probably will succeed in making would-be buyers remember your home, but for all the wrong reasons.THE Gail Spada TEAM hopes you have found this information useful. Your feedback is encouraged. Until next time, please remember our pledge: When it comes to buying or selling property in Hernando County, we make sure … it’s all about YOU!