Selling your house can be challenging when you have pets and I'm going to focus today on your CAT. Your furry friend and family member. I've got three myself so I understand and can empathize with my selling clients when it comes to this subject. I got plenty of inspiration to share some kitty tips when selling from my own experience over the weekend. I decided to move my cat's litter box from the basement to our first floor mudroom. See, my cats are senior citizens now and since I'm not planning to move into a ranch style home with no stairs for THEIR sake, I had to make some adjustments for them.
The dreaded 'litter box" can pose some challenges when you put your house up for sale. I've seen litter boxes in just about every room now in working with sellers over a number of years. I still remember when we were looking for a house to buy, we toured two houses with cats. The one house had about 7 litter boxes throughout the house including bedrooms. Hmmmm....do you think they had a problem? The other house had only one litter box and it was located in their family room right by the sofa. It reeked. Needless to say, we didn't buy either of those houses. Downplaying the presence as well as the location of the litter box really is critical when selling.
I've found the best locations for a litter box is out of the way places like the basement and laundry/mudroom. I've seen them in bathrooms too but I've found that buyers really want to see the bathroom and not get distracted by a litter box. One way to help my kitties better transition when I moved their box was to put their food in close range of it. This worked perfectly.
What's That Smell?
If you have cats then you know that if you don't keep their throne pristine, it's going to smell. When selling, this is a no brainer. You may have to scoop 3-4 times a day but this is a MUST. Do you have a COVER for your box? If you do, great! Now make sure you turn the box to make sure the hole is facing a wall. If you don't have a "cover", think about getting one. If the box has to be present during showings, at least the box is covered up and the hole is against the wall. Buyers really do not want to see inside of the box even if it is pristine. They just don't.
I also recommend buying those "stick ups" they sell in the pet aisle or pet stores that help neutralize odor. Stick that baby on the side of the covered litter box. They really do work. And a quick spritz of Febreeze in the area before a showing is a good idea too. Remember I said "quick spritz"........NOT half the bottle.
Take It Outside
The BEST solution I give my clients is to place the litter box in the garage during a showing if at all possible. I know this doesn't work for some kitties that can't be trusted but I've found that it works for the majority. My own cats freak and run under a bed and hide when visitors come to our house so having a missing litter box for an hour is not a problem.
I came across an amazing idea on a forum while doing some research for this article. Someone was building a house and decided to incorporate the litter box into their laundry room cabinetry so it was out of the way and they could keep the room....ummm.....more "visually appealing" you might say. I jumped all over this idea and told my husband to break out the power tools and cut a side door into our sink cabinet that is in our mud room. The cats go through the door and all I have to do is open up the front doors to scoop and be done.
It's hidden and better than a covered litter box.
Talk About "Staging" Your Litter Box
Who knew there were such a wide variety of creative litter box options out there? (I'd just suggest turning that hole around to face the wall.)
What about these cool styles?
Okay...if you were freaking out like I was when I first saw this, you can relax when I tell you that I think they are trying to show another option here. I don't think most people would actually put a litter box beside their bed (but you never know!). A cozy hideaway bed for your cat is another way to use this piece of furniture. Feel better? I know I did.
For the modern cat:
Entry Table AND Litter box in one...Who Knew?
Need a Litter box in the Office? Just be careful that you get the right box when looking for that file....
I'm having too much fun with this...can you tell?
Here's some other Staging Tips For Kitty When Selling:
This might be harsh, but when you are selling, kitty is NOT the princess (or prince) anymore. The castle is for sale and things cannot stay the way they are. That means that the cat jungle/scratching post tower has to put away, the million mouse and feather toys must be rounded up and the sunning window perch for cats has to be disassembled and stored away. Yes, I realize that it's your cat's favorite place but your potential buyers needs to see how pretty the window is, not looking at the pile of cat hair left on the cushion attached to the window.
Meow Mix Mayhem:
Did you know that kitty's dishes shouldn't be out during a showing? It's so much a part of our everyday lives that we don't think about it, right? But when selling, they need to be gone. This also goes for those cool plug in water fountains. The cat may love them but with their messy cord and location near a plug (which is usually in the kitchen) it's not a great thing to keep around when you're trying to impress buyers.
Not Everyone Loves Your Cat
I know, it's your baby. I understand. I have three furry children myself and I love them dearly. Not everyone is a cat person. Or likes pets at all. Many are allergic to cats as well. When you are selling, it is really important to see it from the perspective buyer's point of view.
Fur Ball Fiasco:
If you've got a cat, you've definitely got this: Cat Hair. Getting rid of as much cat hair as possible and staying on top of it by cleaning frequently is critical. Are you trying to use a lint brush to get rid of hair on the furniture or curtains? Forget it. The best thing to use is a rubber glove. A damp cloth works really well too. The Swiffer is another great product to use on the floors. I'm constantly amazed at all the invisible hair you can't see until you look at the bottom of the swiffer pad when you're done. Whoa.
Stay Or Go?
Have you been waiting for me to answer the obvious question: What the heck should I do with my cat during a showing? Don't worry, your cat will probably be fine staying at home. More than likely the cat will either go hide (like mine) or lay on a bed and look slightly annoyed at the interruption from strangers. If your cat is never to be outside, you may want to consider putting him in a cat carrier or taking him with you. Better safe than sorry.
Even though your pet is a huge part of your family, downplaying their presence while selling your house is a smart move. Remember it's all about the house and getting it sold. Follow these tips and ideas I've shared with you today so that it can help you better deal with your kitty when selling so that it doesn't cost you a sale.
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