I Really Hate to Inconvenience Your Pet, But Can You Please Remove It

By
Real Estate Agent with Keller Williams Realty

I Really Hate to Inconvenience Your Pet, But Can You Please Remove It

PetsAdmittedly, I am beyond terrified of cats, but I will show a home to my client if the buyer doesn't have a problem with the animal.  Albeit,  I'll be shaking in my boots, but I'll still show it. 

Yesterday during a home tour with my buyers, when we arrived at house #5, I called the agent to ask if the dogs were still in the backyard (as the MLS agent notes had indicated).  While I had the agent on the phone, I asked her if there were any other animals in the home (just a precaution since only the dogs were mentioned in the MLS).  The agent responded that the sellers had a cat, but that it had never been a problem during previous showings.  I told her that I understood, but my question was are there any other animals in the house? She responded again that it had never posed a problem.

It was clear that she was avoiding my question.  So I explained that one of the buyers was afraid of cats and that I needed to know if the cat was in the house.  She asked me to hold while she called the seller.  When she got back on the phone, she said that the cat was in a cage in the garage.  I politely thanked her and we proceeded to the house.

Lo and behold, what's that I see as I stepped foot on the porch?  If if it ain't the damned cat.  I told my buyer that the cat was on the porch and she refused to see the house.  Yes the cat on the porch was a huge reason why she didn't want to go in, but she also felt that the agent or the seller had lied about the cat being caged in the garage.  The cat on the porch may have even been a neighbor's cat, but had the agent not put so much effort into avoiding the question, it may have made the difference between showing the house and not showing the house.

NOTE TO SELLERS:  We really do understand that animals are a part of your family and that you love your pets just as much as you would love any other member of your family.  But we ask you to be a little understanding as well and understand this:  just because you love animals, does not mean that everyone else loves them too.  Granted, we may not love animals, but it does not mean that we hate them.

NOTE TO LISTING AGENTS:  Don't be deceptive.  Mentioning the dog(s) and not the cat(s) is deception.  Don't do it.  Please disclose the presence of all animals.  Some people won't mind, but there aren't the ones that I'm concerned about.

Fear of animals, whether it be cat, dog, bird, snake or whatever, is a genuine "fear" and no one appreciates it when someone else doesn't take that fear seriously, makes light of it or are generally insensitive to the situation.  Yes, yes, yes I understand that fido just likes to play, but not everyone wants your dog jumping all over them.  Is that so difficult to understand?

What if we had walked in the house, suddenly turned around and saw the cat, instinctively jumped and knocked over your great, great grandmother's fine china that's been in the family for 75 years, all because you and your listing agent didn't warn the buyer and their agent about the presence of the animal.

You asks a lot of showing agents:  turn the lights off, don't lock the bottom lock, don't let the cat out, leave the lights on at night, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.  And yet, we make one simple request (please remove the animal from the premises) and you act as if we've asked you to euthanise the animal.

We don't hate your animals, but when selling a home, please don't be offended if the buyers agent or the buyer is not the animal lover that you are.  Remember that there are hundreds of houses for sale and many are just as nice as yours and the buyers made it clear that your house was of interest to them. 

In the end, it was probably just as well.  Need I tell you what happened when we viewed the next house that was quite similar to yours?  Well I'll just say this, we had 11 homes to view and we only got to house #6.

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Rainer
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Elizabeth Bouchard
Long & Foster Realtors - Arlington, VA
Associate Broker in Northern Virginia

I seldom see a mention of cats on a listing but often when we get to the house there is a sign that says not to let the cats out or mentions where they might be.  I have had what seemed to be rather ferocious dogs barking at me though and made the choice not to show that house.  One of my cooperative sellers said her dog had never been walked so much as when her home was on the market.  Fortunately she was there to take the dog out every time there was a showing, but with many owners at work during the day they need to be sure their animals will not be a deterrent to the showing.  Thanks for the post as a reminder.

Sep 08, 2013 02:11 AM #1
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Charita Cadenhead
Keller Williams Realty - Birmingham, AL
Serving Jefferson and Shelby Counties (Alabama)

I don't blame you for not showing it Elizabeth.  I would have done the same. The things with cats though as opposed to dogs, is that cats like to hide.  At least with a dog, you know where they are at all times.

Sep 08, 2013 02:15 AM #2
Rainmaker
796,907
Liz Wallace
Century 21 Sherlock Homes - Rockville Centre, NY
Broker C21 Sherlock Homes, Rockville Centre, LI, N

I love, love this post.  Some people don't like animals and some animals don't like people.  Let's put aside the discomfort, fear and allergic reactions, some animals are unnerved by the flow of strangers in their home and may take to biting.  If the buyer or the buyer's children get bit they just might sue the homeowner, the listing agent, the listing agent's office, the showing agent and the showing agent's office.

Sep 08, 2013 02:16 AM #3
Rainmaker
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Donna Foerster
HomeSmart Realty Group - Parker, CO
Metro Denver Real Estate Assistant

Charita~ There is also the issue of allergies and animals. It's just a matter of being courteous.

Sep 08, 2013 02:16 AM #4
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Charita Cadenhead
Keller Williams Realty - Birmingham, AL
Serving Jefferson and Shelby Counties (Alabama)

I hear you loud and clear Liz and you are so right.  If I were a dog or even a cat, I'd probably be even more unnerved than the people are.

Exactly Donna and that's a biggie too.  We don't want anyone breaking out in hives because someone had their priorities mixed up.

Sep 08, 2013 02:22 AM #5
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Dick Greenberg
New Paradigm Partners LLC - Fort Collins, CO
Northern Colorado Residential Real Estate

Hi Charita - You're absolutely right. While I personally find the opportunity to meet new animals one of the most fun parts of my job, we have many clients who don't like animals at all and for whom their presence will ruin a showing. It's certainly reasonable to expect them to be removed or confined. BTW, my personal favorite was an enormous Guinea Pig who followed us around for the entire showing of a very high-end house - no warning about him in the instructions, but he was one of the most sociable animals I've ever met.

Sep 08, 2013 03:02 AM #6
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Brenda Mullen
RE/MAX Access - Schertz, TX
Your San Antonio TX Real Estate Agent!!

Charita, as you know I LOVE cats and all animals, but that doesn't mean that I am not fearful of other people's pets..not so much cats but dogs, no matter how friendly can turn vicious to strangers.  It's important that potential buyers know of the existence of ALL pets to include snakes (fish can probably be omitted lol).  

I have a farm and ranch listed and in the showing instructions I have listed, pigme goats, geese, cats, mules and the dog lol :)...I am sure folks going to look at this type of property expect it, but that doesn't mean it should be a surpise.

Suggested.

Sep 08, 2013 05:28 AM #7
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Liz and Bill Spear
RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 www.LizTour.com - Mason, OH
RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton)

Charita, Reminds me of the Pink Panther movie scene where they ask "Does your dog bite?"  "No".  SNAP.  "That's NOT my dog!".    Last weekend I had to query 10 listing agents about whether there were cats or smokers in the home due to buyer allergies.  In only took TWO rounds of emails to get them all to respond :)

Sep 08, 2013 08:28 AM #8
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Charita Cadenhead
Keller Williams Realty - Birmingham, AL
Serving Jefferson and Shelby Counties (Alabama)
BLiz their hesitation to answer a direct question is a dead give away that they are withholding information. And agents wonder why we have such bad reputations as a whole.
Sep 08, 2013 10:46 AM #9
Rainmaker
724,201
Wayne Johnson
Coldwell Banker D'Ann Harper REALTORS® - San Antonio, TX
San Antonio REALTOR, San Antonio Homes For Sale
Charita-Some may be deceptive, but I find some agents just are not very responsive to inquiries and even offers sometimes.
Sep 08, 2013 11:13 AM #10
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Charita Cadenhead
Keller Williams Realty - Birmingham, AL
Serving Jefferson and Shelby Counties (Alabama)
Dick, talk about freaking out....the Guineal Pig would have done it for me. On a list of worst things happening during a showing, is having to keep watching for an animal to creep up on you, instead of putting that energy into the features of the home.
Sep 10, 2013 05:44 PM #11
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Charita Cadenhead
Keller Williams Realty - Birmingham, AL
Serving Jefferson and Shelby Counties (Alabama)
Brenda as I was writing this post, I thought about you and BLiz. As much as you both love animals, I also recognized that you know how the presence of pets during a showing can present a problem. Admittedly, pets are usually not a problem, but when it is, like Dick said, it can ruin a showing.
Sep 10, 2013 05:54 PM #12
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Charita Cadenhead
Keller Williams Realty - Birmingham, AL
Serving Jefferson and Shelby Counties (Alabama)
Wayne you can say that again and that may even be worse than dealing with pets (well almost).
Sep 10, 2013 05:56 PM #13
Rainmaker
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Sharon Alters
Coldwell Banker Vanguard Realty - 904-673-2308 - Fleming Island, FL
Realtor - Homes for Sale Fleming Island FL

Charita, I have a rule and it is not to show a house with a loose dog in it. Even a very friendly dog may not react properly to a person for reasons unknown except to the dog. I have never had a buyer afraid of cats and cats are in many houses that we show. They usually hide.

Sep 14, 2013 02:30 PM #14
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Charita Cadenhead

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