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When the dog owns the house!

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Ding-Dong......grrrrrr, with teeth. Great, another cute "Killer" at the door.

Dogs can create a lot of havoc when you are trying to sell a property. Here are some great tips that should help the agent and the homeowner partner up to get Fido out of the way when potential buyers are seeking their quiet place of serenity.  

Removing the dog and evidence of:

  • Is there a relative or friend that could doggy-sit while the home is on the market, or at least during showings?
  • Take the dog for a walk or bring the dog with you when buyers are viewing the property.
  • If the dog has to be on the property, have the dog either kenneled up or fenced off. (And not in the living room!) Even the sweetest dogs may become territorial. For the safety of everyone and the dog, never have any dog roam free.
  • A "BEWARE OF DOG" sign may keep people from getting out of the car altogether.  If the dog is that aggressive, you absolutely should remove the dog from the property during showings, and please take down the signs.
  • Keep bowls, dog beds, and half-eaten dog toys out of sight.
  • Repair any mangled trim around windows and doors. Any damage that any animal has caused needs to be repaired before potential buyers arrive. It's a good reason to lower their offer.
  • If you have a "barker" on your hands, this will only distract a buyer. Removing the dog from the property is your best way to have buyers relax and enjoy the home.

Pet care is a must during the time you're on the market:

  • Avoid bad smells! Washing your dog often will help with smells in the house.
  • Landmines (poop) in the yard - The last thing you want is a potential buyer to step in something that they shouldn't have (...and then track it back into the house before they realize what's happened).
  • Brushing the dog everyday will help reduce the dog hair floating from room to room.
  • Stick rollers will help remove animal hair from furniture.
  • Homes with pets need to be vacuumed, swept, and dusted twice as often as homes without.
  • If you can't eliminate an odor, eliminate the source. That sofa that Rover calls a bed may need to go... and not to the garage. Remove it from the property.
  • Even if you don't smell an odor, someone else might. People get very use to the smells in their homes. Have someone who is not acquainted with the home do the sniff test.
  • Have your carpets professionally cleaned.

It's not my dog, it's the neighbors'!:

  • Sadly, buyers have walked away from homes because of a neighbor's dog. Barking, aggressiveness, and smells have all been reason why a buyer has not signed the bottom line. Talk to your neighbor first to see if something can be done to improve the situation.
  • Make sure that a proper fence is in place between you and the other yard.
  • Understanding the pet laws in your area may help your circumstances.

Helping you get your home SOLD,
Angela Voss
Designology Home Staging
Spokane WA

Comments (14)

Richard Strahm
American Foursquare Realty - Lansdale, PA
Lansdale and North Penn Real Estate

Great tips, all!  If people truly loved their pets, they wouldn't leave them in a house when strangers wandering in.  It's just not fare for the pet.

May 26, 2010 01:23 PM
Angela & Stephen Hardiman / HouseTie.com
HouseTie.com - Spokane, WA
When first impressions count...

Good point Richard. Thanks for the feedback.

May 26, 2010 01:31 PM
Cathy Lee
CL Design Services Home Staging - Danville, CA

Great article and good tips. If potential buyers are dog lovers and the  dog is barking they will leave feeling they are upsetting the dog-it they do not like dogs they will not view the home. Best to have the dog stay at someones home for a few weeks until the home is pending.  

May 26, 2010 04:40 PM
Angela & Stephen Hardiman / HouseTie.com
HouseTie.com - Spokane, WA
When first impressions count...

Your so right, Cathy. Thanks for the feedback.

May 26, 2010 07:06 PM
Karen Otto
Home Star Staging - Plano, TX
Plano Home Staging, Dallas Home Staging, www.homes

Hi Angela,

A lesson I learned recently was when we had our carpets professionally deep cleaned (they are only a couple years old).  Our lab likes to lay on the middle stair landing and the company did not deodorize the area (they were suppossed to).  As it was drying the smell of "wet dog" was overpowering and before they cleaned I swear I didn't smell a thing.  I called them back to explain and they came back and said that if it's not deodorized with an odor neutralizer this is what happens, the chemicals in the cleaning solution actually are releasing the smell from the carpet and padding hence the "wet dog smell" that wasn't originally apparent. It all went away with the deodorizing but make sure that's done if you get your carpets professionally cleaned and you have animals.

May 27, 2010 01:33 AM
Anna Dovger
Add Value Home Staging LLC, 281-704-6607 - The Woodlands, TX
Home Staging -The Woodlands, TX

Great post, Angela. If I would be a buyer and will see or smell evidence of dogs I would pay close  attentionto a wood trim, blinds, outside corners to see if any damage. I wouldn't pay that close of attention in another house.

Karen, thanks for tip on deodorizing.

May 27, 2010 09:56 AM
BethAnn Long
RE/MAX of Spokane - Spokane, WA
Realtor, CRS, e-PRO, CLHMS Spokane Wa Real Estate

Hello! I am so glad you are so active now on AR! GREAT BLOG...Uh...we have two golden retrievers and it is a nightmare. We do think we might sell in the next year, and they will make it harder. sigh

Good Tips! :)

May 27, 2010 10:08 AM
Ross Quintana
Real E Smarter - Spokane, WA
Real E Smarter Real Estate Coach - 509-362-1966

Yes like everything else you simply have to manage it if you don't want it to affect the sale. Hey Beth if you don't want the stress I would be happy to have you as a client :]

Jun 01, 2010 05:17 PM
Ron Marshall
Marshall Enterprises - Saint Michael, MN
Birdhouse Builder Extraordinaire

Wow, I had no idea about this until I read Karen Otto's comment, and this is a great post.  I will be back to read more of your informative content. 

PS - Thanks!

Jan 14, 2015 08:37 AM
Inna Ivchenko
Barcode Properties - Encino, CA
Realtor® • GRI • HAFA • PSC Calabasas CA

You remind me a listing that I never took because......I could not breathe inside of the property and my eyes were crying..... this is how strong the stink of that place was. The lady had 3 dogs that seems never went outside......you got the picture.

Jan 22, 2015 03:37 PM
Claude Labbe
RLAH / @properties - Washington, DC
Realty for Your Busy Life

I've seen people spend good money for homes; often the dog's needs being a relevant part of the home selection.  [point of disclosure: I have our little piece of joy dog who owns us rather then the other way around ].

Yet, when I drop over months later, it's clear to me the dog has already damanged the home. 

To my view, dog ownership, if not well addressed during the home sale process, will cost the seller some serious money.

Your steps should be treated as gold in this process.

Jan 24, 2015 03:05 AM
Sussie Sutton
David Tracy Real Estate - Houston, TX
David Tracy Real Estate for Buyers & Sellers

I had a seller who had five pug dogs in the house. The back yard was disgusting there was no place to place your foot or feet anywhere! The house reeked! I was very blunt and the owner would run home and bleach mop the home each time it was being viewed.... 

Jul 15, 2015 06:02 AM
Cat Zwicker, CRS
Desert Sky Real Estate, LLC - Redmond, OR
Down to Earth Service; Out of this World Results!

I should re-blog your blog! Showed a property where the seller was to have kennled the dogs, which he did not. I ended up with scratched paint on the driver side door as I could not get out of the car without them jumping all over me and the car. GRRRRRR. Of course the seller took no responsibility. 

Jul 28, 2015 10:31 AM
Cheryl Dukes . . . . . Intown Atlanta
Guaranteed Offer for your Home - eXp realty - Atlanta, GA

Those are great tips, but I find sellers with dogs are either hard of hearing or they just don't listen, so I respectfully decline to take listings where there are dogs involved.

Mar 04, 2017 01:29 PM