Protecting Your Pets when Selling Your Home!
Are you in the process of selling your home or considering selling your home? Do you have pets? There are numerous ways that you can make the process easier for everyone, including your four legged family members.
When placing your home on the market, remember that the easier it is to show, the easier it is to sell. When my husband and I sold our home in Florida, we had a newborn baby, five cats and a large dog. The dog was a sweetheart, but looked & sounded scary when strangers entered the house. We sold the home in 2005 (when the market was booming), which means it was being shown 2-5 times per day. While it wasn't always easy to clear everyone out, we made it possible. We really wanted to sell the property and knew that buyers are more likely to look at a property if the seller is not hovering around.
When showings were scheduled (sometimes just minutes prior to the showing), we would put the dog on a leash, the baby in the stroller, and each cat in a kennel... then we took a stroll around the neighborhood. We left blankies and water in each kennel and placed them in the laundry room so they were always available for quick access. We then closed the door, left photos and manuals for the washer/dryer just outside the door, and it worked really well. Most people didn't even open the laundry room door, except the buyers that were really interested in the property. And our kitties were not stressed out by having strangers around them.
By placing the cats in the kennels and taking the dog for a walk during showings, we never had to worry about them sneaking out the front door. Most Real Estate agents are very careful about pets, but some pets (mine included) can be very quick & sneaky.
With cats, ALWAYS keep the litter boxes clean. If you aren't already (and you should be) scooping them twice a day, start as soon as you place the home on the market. If a potential buyer walks in to a stinky house, they may not even consider looking past the front door. If your dog is barking or growling at potential buyers, they will probably run back to their car as fast as possible and may not ever look back.
If you cannot be present when a showing is scheduled, make sure that your agent is aware of all pets and any special instructions. When we couldn't be present for showings while trying to sell our home, we would leave our cats in the Laundry Room and lock the door. If a buyer was serious about the property, we could always schedule a second showing if necessary and make sure that our pets were locked up and safe. Cats especially don't handle change or stress very well, and these precautions made life much easier for them as well as us and the real estate Agents showing the property. Our REALTOR® also knew our dog, and she would let her in the backyard before the buyers showed up.
Also remember, that just because your dog or cat is friendly, not everyone loves them like you do. Some buyers do not want your lap dog or crazy cat chasing them around the home and tripping them as they walk around. Even worse... What if your pet bit someone? YIKES!