Here Kitty Here Kitty...Kitty HAS been Here !

Real Estate Agent with Keller Williams 414-525-0563 57026-90 Broker

   We toured a home  the other day and while it appeared to be very visible dust bunnies, windows washed, counters sparkled....the unmistakable and penetrating odor of cat urine sent our buyers running out the door.  We left a message for the listing agent with a "showing report" that we really could not spend any time in the house having been overcome by the smell. She called back, sure that we had confused her listing with another one because this house had no cat living there....and had not with this Seller. 

     Dini HansonAs a former landlady....and  a "Cat Mom" for decades....the odor is unmistakable....and can certainly be the reason for short  showings and no offers.  The Sellers likely have developed sensory adaptation....having been around the smell for a long time, they no longer smell it.  

   How can there be a "Pet Problem" with no pet in the house ?   What can when carpeting is cleaned the chemicals in the cleaning solution "awaken" the former pet puddles....which likely have gone thru the carpeting and into the floor boards. When this repeatedly with wet solutions only makes the smell return and after the "pet deodorizer" that the carpet cleaner may have added to the cleaning solution dissipates, the smell returns. 

    Lipstick on a pigIt is kind of the "lipstick on a pig" can attempt to deodorize and neutralize...but likely, the smell which has penetrated the carpet, the padding and the wood beneath.

    The location of the smell is often difficult to detect with air appears to be everywhere. Soooo...what is a homeowner/realtor to do ?   In years gone by, some cleaning companies had a stick sort of tool that detected urine crystals and could pinpoint the affected areas.  In our market, we can no longer locate this item. 

  black light poster need to take a trip back to the 60's....or know someone who "still lives there"....and get a black light...yes, the kind that served as the "staging" for college dorm rooms from California to New York...and that will "illuminate" so that you can eliminate !  Eliminate does not mean continue to least not in our experience.  We have not found an effective means replacing carpet, padding....and what you will see as discolored wood flooring.  A more expensive remedy...but one that gets to the problem and doesn't cover it...but removes it.  "Cat houses" rarely sell for what they are worth.

   Perhaps this blog will inspire others to tell of products and methods that worked in the permanent removal of pet puddle problems...great....the more the better.

    If you are looking for the purrrrfect house to call home in Southeastern the Hansons...we will be sure that every member of the family...two and four footed is pleased with their new address.







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Sally K. & David L. Hanson, ABR, CDPE, CSS, e-Pro,ILHM, REDS

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Cindy Jones
Integrity Real Estate Group - Woodbridge, VA
Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News

Unfortunately you hit the nail on the head with pet urine.  It can lie undetected for awhile and then if a house is empty or someone tries to cover it up the odor becomes front and center.  Then it's usually time to pull up the carpet and pad.  With any luck the subfloor isn't penetrated.  If it is the problem just got huge.

Jun 08, 2012 10:50 PM #1
Sheila Anderson
Referral Group Incorporated - East Brunswick, NJ
The Real Estate Whisperer Who Listens 732-715-1133

Good morning Sally and David. You have made a wonderful presentation for getting to the heart of the issue. You are you accurate, cat houses seldom sell for the real value. Suggested.

Jun 08, 2012 10:51 PM #2
Roger D. Mucci
Shaken...with a Twist 216.633.2092 - Euclid, OH
Lets shake things up at your home today!

One of the biggest problems of all with rental properties..............ran into it all the time, with new carpeting too!  Grrrrrrrrrrrr.

Jun 08, 2012 10:54 PM #3
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

I have heard from carpet cleaners that the cleaning solution can wake up the ammonia in the urine and bring its smell to the fore.  Mixed up with another listing?

Jun 08, 2012 10:54 PM #4
Sally K. & David L. Hanson
Keller Williams 414-525-0563 - Brookfield, WI
WI Realtors - Luxury - Divorce - Short Sale

  It is the wake up no one wants to get...the cat that becomes the elephant in the house...that will not sell...yes Jay...the listing agent apparently did not smell it...yicks....some people do have less than an acute sense of smell...and she was sure we had the wrong house...oh not.

Jun 08, 2012 11:00 PM #5
Dorie Dillard
Coldwell Banker United Realtors® ~ 512.346.1799 - Austin, TX
Serving Buyers & Sellers in NW Austin Real Estate

Good morning Sally and David,

There is nothing worse than cat urine odor!! And nothing harder to get rid of..I think worse than the smoke odor from a smoker! Cindy is right if the sub floor has absorbed the odor its a big problem and hard to get rid of!! Suggested also!

Jun 08, 2012 11:05 PM #6
Edward Gilmartin
CRE - Boston, MA

Pet problems are tough to deal with. If a buyer has an alergy and you have carpeting you can forget about a sale.

Jun 08, 2012 11:15 PM #7
Scott Godzyk
Godzyk Real Estate Services - Manchester, NH
One of Manchester NH's Leading Agents

Good Morning Sally and David, This is a large problem when showing homes. Many time sit is non pet owners who notice it right away. if you add someone with allergies the result is often a buyer running for the door.  Have a great Satuday

Jun 08, 2012 11:16 PM #8
Debbie Gartner
The Flooring Girl - White Plains, NY
The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers

Yes, we come across this often.  Many times it's still in the carpet pad, and hence carpet cleaning does not solve the issue.  Other times it has soaked down to the plywood and we have needed to replace (that's really the only good solution).  The worst is when there is concrete and you can't remove that and it really absorbs it.  Kilz helps but it doesn't always solve and it can return. 

Jun 08, 2012 11:40 PM #9
Kristin Johnston - REALTOR®
RE/MAX Realty Center - Waukesha, WI
Giving Back With Each Home Sold!

Yup, I have been there with you on this one too..not an easy message to leave, but has to be done....I am sure OUR homes don't smell like kitties :-)

Jun 08, 2012 11:40 PM #10
Sally K. & David L. Hanson
Keller Williams 414-525-0563 - Brookfield, WI
WI Realtors - Luxury - Divorce - Short Sale

The most thorough solution is the best resolution....have not seen a situation where the problem ended with the always goes beyond...more expense BUT the only way to really cure the problem !

Jun 09, 2012 12:11 AM #11
Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Real Estate Agent, Top 1% of Lyon Agents
Lyon Real Estate - Sacramento, CA
Put 40 years of experience to work for you

Personally, as a cat lover, I will not buy a home in which another cat has lived. I learned the hard way. And yes, I have a blacklight. Doesn't everybody?

Jun 09, 2012 02:49 AM #12
Sally K. & David L. Hanson
Keller Williams 414-525-0563 - Brookfield, WI
WI Realtors - Luxury - Divorce - Short Sale

  There are those folks who believe...the more the merrier...not true....and the cat will "tell" you by claiming their territory...two is our limit....and everyone lives happily ever after...just ask Magic and Dini.

Jun 09, 2012 02:56 AM #13
Gene Mundt, IL/WI Mortgage Originator - FHA/VA/Conv/Jumbo/Portfolio/Refi
NMLS #216987, IL Lic. 031.0006220, WI Licensed. APMC NMLS #175656 - New Lenox, IL
708.921.6331 - 40+ yrs experience

Very good info here, Sally.  Having never owned a cat, or having to address the resulting issues, I had never heard of the 60's lighting trick.  Good info to pass on.  Buyers need to be aware that the kitty smell can linger quite stubbornly and present a sizeable problem, if found within a home.  Valuable info to pass on ...

My best to David ... and to Magic and Dini too, of course!


Jun 09, 2012 07:36 AM #14
James Dray
Fathom Realty AR LLC - Bentonville, AR
Exceptional Agents, Outstanding Results

Good moeninf Hanson's I like the ending using the purffffect statement brilliant..  Anyway you are correct but the blacklight tough to find at least you one you're talking about.

Jun 09, 2012 07:36 PM #15
David Burrows
Classic Realty - Fairfax, VA
No Pressure, Just Seriously Devoted to Real Estate

Good Morning: You shared some very interesting insight today on what is commonly known as a pesky problem. Thanks for posting.

Jun 09, 2012 09:57 PM #16
Pacita Dimacali
Alain Pinel - Oakland, CA
Alameda/Contra Costa Counties CA

Regardless of how many times a carpet is shampooed, the odor will come back after a while. The only solution I've heard of that really worked was to rip out carpet --- padding and all --- repaint, remove all drapes... everything that can retain any kind of odor (pet, smoke) goes out the door.

Jun 12, 2012 06:07 AM #17
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Sally K. & David L. Hanson

WI Realtors - Luxury - Divorce - Short Sale
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