Dogs in the house, Sellers should know there is a price to Pay

By
Real Estate Agent with Coldwell Banker Residential, Prescott AZ.

I am working on a listing this week and the home owner has 5 dogs.  I told her before I visited that pet odor might be a problem with 5 dogs, "in the house".  She and I entered the house together and I immediately commented, pet odor.  She said well I normanlly do not notice it but now that you mention it, I did smell it when we walked in.  (This was after she told me she had cleaned every thing very carefull to eliminate odor.  So now she wants to put room deoderizers in the house.)

Folks, you take a bath every day, the only possible way you will not have pet odor is to give you pet a bath daily as you do, then its not a sure thing.

I appreciate the fact that to some people, pets are part of the family and will not go away but it needs to be a serious decision to have pets in the house. 

In general, pet oder will elimimante a lot of potentilal buyers right off and some even later.  Remember the substituion effect, if a buyer finds two or more homes they like, and yours has pet odor, it will be one of the first scratched off the list.

You can argue, well maybe the buyer has pets and is accustomed to it.  NOT,  remember it is not thier pets and "thier pets do not smell that way" and after all, it is not thier pet odor, it is someone elses.  Just like us people, we will quickly reject companionship of person who have strong body oder, maybe even if we have body odor but after all it is not our body odor.

Pet odor in a home will lower the value several thousand dollars, if you find a buyer, but the first thing a buyer will think about is the cost of cleaning and painting before it is thier house.

Pets are wonderful, but there is a price to pay.

Comments (56)

Glen Fisher
National Property Inspections of Southern New Jersey, LLC - Oaklyn, NJ

If I was a smart buyer, I would smell a big discount coming my way. 

Mar 29, 2011 11:52 PM
Brad Baxter
Brad Baxter, Weichert, Realtors - McDonald-McKinney - Fishers, IN
Indianapolis Real Estate Broker

If you can SMELL it....you can't SELL it!  It really speaks to the motivation of the seller.  If they want to sell bad enough at a certain price, then they must get rid of the smell and make adjustments with their dogs during the listing period.  It's only temporary and then they can go back to life as normal in their new home.

Mar 29, 2011 11:59 PM
Laurie C. Bailey-Gates
Robert Paul Properties - Barnstable, MA
ABR, SFR

Odor in general is bad - dog odor and smoke odor are the worst. 

Laurie

Mar 30, 2011 12:21 AM
Hella Mitschke Rothwell
(831) 626-4000 - Honolulu, HI
Hawaii & California Real Estate Broker

I love dogs but can't see 5 dogs having the run of the house while it's being shown (it sounds like). Don't they have a kennel area outside? Dogs should not be cooped up inside anyway. No wonder they smell, they need fresh air. IMHO.

Mar 30, 2011 01:33 AM
James Loftis
RealEstate911.com - West Palm Beach, FL
RealEstate911.com

Good post, I have a large Chocolate lab and I have to keep him in the house most of the time.

The ordor can be a problem and giving him a bath regularly and making sure that he and the house is clean can be a problem at time.

 

Mar 30, 2011 01:39 AM
Christine McInerney
Great Life RE - Knoxville, TN
The McInerney Team, Knoxville TN Homes For Sale

Odors in general can be a bad thing.  The biggest problem I have encountered in regards to pets is when sellers gate off a section of the home and leave a note that says something to the effect of "do not enter this area as dogs may bite- if you are interested in seeing this area schedule an appoinment over the weekend and we will remove them for the showing."

I have seen notes like this about 5 times last year, if prospective buyers can't comfortably tour a home they probably are not going to buy it.

Mar 30, 2011 01:44 AM
Christine McInerney
Great Life RE - Knoxville, TN
The McInerney Team, Knoxville TN Homes For Sale

Odors in general can be a bad thing.  The biggest problem I have encountered in regards to pets is when sellers gate off a section of the home and leave a note that says something to the effect of "do not enter this area as dogs may bite- if you are interested in seeing this area schedule an appoinment over the weekend and we will remove them for the showing."

I have seen notes like this about 5 times last year, if prospective buyers can't comfortably tour a home they probably are not going to buy it.

Mar 30, 2011 01:44 AM
Bob Zorechak - ABR, GRI, e-PRO
Keller Williams Realty Metropolitan - Morristown, NJ
Sells Homes in Morris/Somerset/Hunterdon Cos., NJ

Definitely a tough issue.  A lot of dog owners simply do not smell the scent of their own home after a while.  They become immune to the odor. 

Mar 30, 2011 01:49 AM
Michael Setunsky
Woodbridge, VA
Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA

Pete, pet odor can be controlled. Seller just need to be aware of it and the impact on selling. Thanks for the reminder.

Mar 30, 2011 01:52 AM
Scott Fogleman
Richmond, VA

Pet oder can be an issue, but homeowners have to be able to live in the house while it sells. While its a buyers market, keeping the pet at a friends home or a kennal for extened periods is not an opetion for most.

Mar 30, 2011 02:13 AM
Pam Dunn
RE/MAX Premier Choice - Crossville, TN
Relocation Specialist

I have indoor dogs and yes there can be a smell. If my home was on the market I would keep the dogs out as much as possible-maybe suggest that to your client.You have to be careful not to offend the people ,mine are my babies. But I do know that smells are bad when trying to sell. Maybe a nice doghouse would be an answer!

Mar 30, 2011 03:16 AM
Mary Jo Quay
H360homes.com - Minneapolis, MN
I Move You Home

While I agree that odors in general are a problem, it is unreasonable to expect that any pet be bathed daily.  People who have multiple animals in their homes are far more tolerant of those issues than non pet owners.   I've had owners who had awful cat smells that they didn't recognize at all.  The same goes for smokers.  

Recently, I showed a property with a massive Great Dane and a Jack Russell.  Having both of them greet me at the front door was a surprise, and my buyer hid behind me.  Both are friendly animals, but 160lbs of hound in your face can be intimidating.  Buyer bought the house at a discounted price but it had nothing to do with critters.  There was deferred maintenance in many areas, and the buyer was happy as long as the critters didn't come with the house. 

Mar 30, 2011 03:22 AM
Richie Alan Naggar
people first...then business Ran Right Realty - Riverside, CA
agent & author

I bet the dogs eats a lot of homework too LOL.....I have encountered this many times over the years and the owner loses sensitivity to the smell after a while. In one case, I had to rip out carpets and bleach bath the whole place. Bleach kills the germs and bacteria that make the smell..Buyers already have enough to deal with

Mar 30, 2011 03:45 AM
Andrew Haslett
Van Warren Home Inspections, NAHI CRI - Fort Knox, KY
Heartland of Kentuckynulls, Best Home Inspector

Pets, particularly dogs, aren't bathed everyday. Basically, it damages their skin and their fur.  And, it won't eliminate the odor. Brushing helps. Carpet deoderizers, some of the cleaning solutions used by hotels and restoration companies (think water damage) are helpful solutions, too.

Mar 30, 2011 04:07 AM
Randy Harden MBA
CENTURY 21 Wieder Realty - Pompano Beach, FL
www.RERandy.com

Stanley, I think you make a valid point. Lots of people are afraid of dogs and lots of dogs give people reason to fear them. Also I find that dogs in particular can be a real distraction when showing a home for reasons of love and hate. Sometimes the prospect just wants to play with the dog and they forget why they are there in the first place.

Mar 30, 2011 04:25 AM
Anna Matsunaga
Team Momentum Keller Williams Realty Tacoma - Lakewood, WA
Seller specialist, Certified Negotiation Expert

I agree and often Cats are worse.  Small dogs that don't shed seem to be better, but let's not forget that even hamsters and so on can make  house smell.  We get accustomed to the smell, but a buyer who walks in is not.  If selling everything needs to be kept doubly clean including the pets themselves.

Mar 30, 2011 04:47 AM
Jeff Getman
Realty Executives of Ravalli County - Hamilton, MT
Realty Executives

Like some people, certain dog breeds have stronger odors than others. Some folks do need to bath their dogs but some breeds are relatively odor free. Cat houses are 1000 times worse than dog houses where odor is concerned.

Mar 30, 2011 04:47 AM
Rosalie Evans
Meritus Group Real Estate - Sioux Falls, SD
The Evans Group, Sioux Falls, SD Homes For Sale

This is totally true but yet at the same time its hard to bring it up. Oh by the way your house stinks! How do you bring this up without offending people,especially those who treat their dogs like children.

Mar 30, 2011 06:10 AM
Jenny Cross
Newlun Realty - Nekoosa, WI

This is a big issue in my home. Neither my boyfriend or myself dislike pets, we just don't have any that walk on all fours. However when he bought the home it was in distress and the previous owner did have animals. We are not sure what variety. There were stains all over the house, with a massive smell. Before he moved in i went through and did a MASSIVE cleaning and steam cleaned the carpets. Unfortunately all that did was make the spots bigger as the leakage issue had seeped into the pad under the carpet. We have not been in the home long and are slowly making repairs as we go and have yet to get new carpet. Now EVERY time i shampoo the carpets i smell pet urine for at least 2 days. I find this rather annoying since we don't have pets (of the 4 legged variety.) This is something i try to keep in mind when i am showing a home. Not only that but when you bring a animal into a new place and they smell another pet, they WILL try to mark their territory.

Mar 30, 2011 07:04 AM
Judy Cicalese
William Raveis Real Estate - New Canaan, CT
Market Knowledge-Social Media Savvy 203-638-7812

Most people have some fondness of animals (dogs or cats) but when you bring buyers into a home and it hits you in the face as you walk in - huge turnoff.  I would be afraid to show a home with 5 dogs -sorry - that's scary.   I wish you lots of luck.

Mar 30, 2011 07:09 AM