Have We Been Taking The LOVE Out of the Home Unknowingly?

Home Stager with California Moods Inc

As an interior designer and home staging consultant, pets conjure up a big red flag and a potential mine field for me. In the past it was my job to rid any evidence of the household critters from existence during open houses and showings...and removed entirely for a time. Are pet owners afraid to invite us into their homes because they know what we will say: "GET RID OF TOR LOVED ONES...NOW!"

Some of you may already know about my change of heart (heart life actually) recently because of buddy, and either the world has changed and filled up with dog and cat lovers or that is all I see these days. Either way...it is a animal lovers paradise that I now dwell in. So finding the Pet Friendly Real Estate Organization is not surprising to me.

Have we been taking the LOVE out of the home unknowingly? What is this new kind of love? Are we turning potential buyers who are animal lovers off? Do they see a home as cold and uninviting because there are no animals living there? I am wondering!

So how can we, as staging consultants, advise our sellers? Hide the bowls? Keep them hidden! I think it is something we really need to rethink. Stage the animal feeding area? Hmmm, why not? We stage the garbage can area. I would like to know what percentage of homeowners (both buyers and sellers) consider how their pets are going to fit into their new home.

Please take this short survey to help me find out if I am off my rocker or am I dead on. Have I just discovered the secret to successful selling and buying of real estate for 2007-2008? Do we buy our houses for our pets and we are just there to maintain them and try to be comfortable while doing it?

Click Here to take survey

After you answer, you will be taken to Survey Monkey if you want to create your own survey. Then click on the back arrow until you have returned to this post to comment. I am looking forward to the results. 

Read this blog too if you haven't already... 

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Comments (16)

Terry Haugen STAGE it RIGHT! 321-956-2495
Stage it Right! - Melbourne, FL
Sheron, thats a really good question.  Actually, I do stage vacants with a cat bowl full of pretty colored food and a dog bowl with same.  Almost everyone these days has pets and I want to portray the look of pet friendly in my vacants.  As for the occupied, thats a different story.  It would be hard to "stage" the feeding station when pets are living there.  When selling my own personal homes, I hide the litter boxes but keep the food bowls in place.  Not to toot my horn, but in the past I've gotten some really good comments on the presentation of my homes, so the animal bowls don't seem to make a negative impact.  Cute pic of Buddy.  I see he wears a party bandana!  Is he spoiled or what?
Aug 24, 2007 04:27 AM
Sheron Cardin
California Moods Inc - Selma, CA
ARTIST - A Home Stager/Sellers Best Friend!
I should have know Terry that you were hip to these things. I have never ever allowed anyone to keep these things in the open...did you take the survey?
Aug 24, 2007 04:38 AM
Yvonne Root
rooms b.y. root - Prescott, AZ
Home Stager - Northern Arizona
Sheron, That was the easiest survey I've ever taken. This should turn out fun. Of course you will let us know the results. I love your idea about staging the pet area. It is something I've twinked (I love making up my own words.) around with. There are some really darling feeding bowls to be had at Ross. I know I have some from there for my Prissy3/4 pug 1/4 doxie. Her name is Nina Presciosa (not sure of the Spanish spelling) it means, "precious little girl." We call her Prissy.
Aug 24, 2007 04:39 AM
Cheri Dueker
Transitional Designs, LLC - Saint Louis, MO
Transitional Designs, LLC, Home Staging St. Louis

Sheron: I have pets and adore them however, they are alot of work. When my home is for sale, they are not in residence. Not because I think others are anti-pet but because there is a difference between loving your pet and loving everyone else's pets. I don't have as much of an issue with the food bowl as the litter box!

Sellers need to be made aware that although they love and are used to thier pets, not all buyers will find them (or their smells) so charming. Good post though

Aug 24, 2007 04:40 AM
Sheron Cardin
California Moods Inc - Selma, CA
ARTIST - A Home Stager/Sellers Best Friend!

Yvonne - what are you feeding your Prissy? Her eyes are compelling and she is just precious. Feeding bowls could make nice client gifts.  We are going to have to have a play date for our puppies as soon as mine has healed from snipping his manhood.

Cheri - I agree totally about cat boxes...never liked them when I had cats either. There must be a place prepared to store the little stinky things when a visitor is expected.

Luckily we don't stink ;] 

I am very curious about the survey results 

Aug 24, 2007 04:53 AM
Brian Bloom
www.AllinOneStaging.com 1-630-292-2710 - Bartlett, IL
All in One Staging Inc. - Home Staging Consultant, Redesign Expert


I really think this is just a reflection of the homeowners neglect on cleanliness, I have a white champion pure breed lab that sheads like there no tomorrow. But if you walk into my home you would never know I had a dog, I don't want little white hairs all over the place so I clean a little every day, so when you get the unexpected guest or in the case of selling your house, you don't have dog or cat evidence imprinted all over.

But I guess everyone are not like us who walk into a home and see things we would love to change around and clean just instinctively.

Best wishes, Brian Bloom

Aug 24, 2007 04:54 AM
Yvonne Root
rooms b.y. root - Prescott, AZ
Home Stager - Northern Arizona

Oh Sheron, You guessed it. She is on the diet mix of the same brand of food she has eaten since we first picked her up in Santa Fe Springs, California. She has been in all 48 contiguous states. Her trucking days are over. She chooses to be the "guard dog" now. Yappy little thing. That photo was taken the day we brought the (now 2 year old) grandbaby home. Talk about curious! NOW, the dog likes the kid who will throw the "puppie" toys for her.

When we have property for sale not only do we exit during showings but so do the pets and their belongings.

Aug 24, 2007 05:07 AM
Terry Haugen STAGE it RIGHT! 321-956-2495
Stage it Right! - Melbourne, FL
Of course I took the survey Sheron, but thought it was a joke :-)  Only one question?  I've never bought a house without taking into consideration the animals.  If it wouldnt work for them then it wouldnt work for me.  Like Brian you would never know animals live in this house.  Can you say "constantly cleaning?"  When selling, the litter boxes get shoved under beds :-) all the cats run and hide under the beds, and the dog(s) either are put in the backyard or go bye bye.  Actually the last house I sold I quit driving away.  It gets old real fast, so the dogs went in the backyard, I stood outside in the front yard to meet and greet and that didn't seem to bother anyone.
Aug 24, 2007 06:08 AM
Sheron Cardin
California Moods Inc - Selma, CA
ARTIST - A Home Stager/Sellers Best Friend!

Terry - I know the survey is short and simple but it is all I need to know. I think it is a slant to be considered like adding a fence to keep potential pets in or?

Brian - be still my heart...are you for real?

Yvonne - waistlines are hard to conceal :-) About 4 years ago we temporarily moved to an area that we wanted to buy in, rented a nice 2 story house with a gazebo and a fenced yard to keep the dog safe. What we didn't know was the sprinkler system bombarded the entire back yard and got everything soaked every morning including the dog house and the dog. I laughed when I finally realized what was happening for the first couple of days and then realized I had a big problem on my hands.  

Aug 24, 2007 06:51 AM
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher
Ok, I voted but I think you know my answer already!  I was thrilled to see Molly's blogs here and I'm willing to bet more people have animals and take them into account during making a decision where to buy...it was on a few episodes of HGTV as well.  I would certainly want to have a secure backyard and safety for my animals the same way someone would want it for their children (aren't they are kids?? :)
Aug 24, 2007 09:34 AM
Sheron Cardin
California Moods Inc - Selma, CA
ARTIST - A Home Stager/Sellers Best Friend!
This really opens up a whole different world to me...like I have been living in a fog. I am surprised my clients have taken my advice literally. I have to really give them credit.
Aug 24, 2007 11:21 AM
Sharon Simms
Coastal Properties Group International - Christie's International - Saint Petersburg, FL
Today's USA Today had a great article about Pet "Homes". There are some very creative ways to make their "quarters" attractive and useful, without subjecting non-pet-owners to pets all around.
Aug 24, 2007 01:58 PM
Kristi Lynn

I have two huge yellow Labradors that are my big kids.  Every-time I look for a new home, I definitely take them into consideration.  I just recently sold my beachhouse and when listing the property even put in the MLS description that the home was set up great for pets.  We had 4 levels of decks, a fenced side yard and outdoor shower just for the dogs.  When potential buyers came to visit we would ask them if they had dogs, if they said yes we would emphasize the wonderful set up for the animals.  Putting the pet thing out front in the listing also prepared the buyer that there were pets in the home so there were no surprises. Anyone with allergies or who find pets appaling would stay away and not waste anyone's time.  you will never be able to hide the fact that there are pets living in the home no matter how hard you try, so make it a positive not a negative.

 Almost everyone who came to view the home had dogs and loved the setup.  The buyers of the home actually even had a dog with the same name as ours.  Talking about pets with buyers is a great way to break the ice and a great selling tool.  Making and emphasizing your home as pet friendly could be the difference between a sale in my opinion.  If the people do not have pets, then just don't talk about the pets, but they will still know they are around.

We just moved into one of our rental properties temporarily and it is not set up for pets.  We have a salt water canal behind our home and no fencing.  we are surrounded by neighbors who also have dogs and it is a pain making sure that boundaries are not crossed.  Boy I miss my doggie dream house and my pets are ceratinly making us aware of thier discontent as well.  If buyers with pets are not taking into consideration how their pets will live they are making a big mistake.  It should be a priority for Realtors to ask about pets and make sure the buyers needs are being met. 

I think you are on to something here.  Even in model homes by new builders I have seen decorative pet bowls in the laundry or mud rooms to help give the home a more personal feel.  I have been behind people when viewing these homes that  and say oh!  Look how cute!!


Great topic Sheron

Aug 25, 2007 01:27 AM
Sheron Cardin
California Moods Inc - Selma, CA
ARTIST - A Home Stager/Sellers Best Friend!

This is very interesting to me. And family photos have always been a bugaboo but I am rethinking that now. I am not talking about wedding photos and family milestone photos should be left up but how about photos of the children or pets. I like the idea of copying the photos in black and white and reframing them as a group for the family room. Staged properties have become so generic that it has lost its human qualities and looking more like a furniture showroom. 

Kristi - I think I am on to something too. I am going to have to go back and rewrite some pages in my home staging instructions. Thank you for describing your experience. 

Aug 25, 2007 02:16 AM
Stephanie Heron
Dressing Rooms LLC - Scottsdale, AZ
Weeber - Dressing Rooms

Hi Sheron- did the survey - wow, that was easy:) My home is currently on the market. I always make sure that the dog hair (golden retriever x 2) is vacuumed away and the dog bowls - which are outside - are clean as well as removing the usual pet evidence. The dogs leave with me when there is a showing (we go to Starbucks) but you would have to be a fool not to notice that dogs reside in the house. We have a sign out front which reads "Rancho Perros Dorados" which roughly translated means Golden Dog Ranch. We have horses too and there is no hiding them but I 'stage' the barn just a little before each showing:)


Aug 26, 2007 04:28 AM
Sheron Cardin
California Moods Inc - Selma, CA
ARTIST - A Home Stager/Sellers Best Friend!

Stephanie - you are my idol! Staging the barn is over the top and deserves a chocolate ice cream cone.

ice cream

Aug 26, 2007 05:09 AM