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