Real Estate Agents and Animals

By
Real Estate Agent with Grand Lux Realty, 914-419-0270, kat@thehousekat.com 10301213186

My buyer and I were out looking at homes yesterday, and we were at a house with showing instructions that indicated "do not let cats out." One of our jobs as real estate agents is to follow listing instructions regarding animals. Who knew? I really don't like that particular task, because in one of my early showings, a cat escaped and I couldn't get it back in the house. Since that experience, I am extremely cautious when the instructions have anything to do with animals.

 

So just to get past the cat-issue associated with yesterday's showing -- In this particular case, the cats were not a problem. There were two, one was sleeping on a bookshelf under the TV, and one was lounging in the sun near a door. Neither one moved a muscle the entire time we were there.

 

But there still was an animal related issue. After looking at the inside of the home, we moved to the outside to check out the landscaping. There were vegetable gardens, gorgeous flower beds and multiple patio areas. Someone obviously took great care in tending their garden.

 

photo from bing.com/imagesAs we were standing there, looking around and enjoying the landscape, we heard rustling under some plants in a small garden area. Looking down, we saw a chipmunk doing something. After watching it for a moment, it looked as though the animal was pulling one of those car ashtrays from years ago. We realized it had gotten caught in something and couldn't get out. So we had to help it, of course.

 

Well, as we leaned over to try to help the frantic chipmunk escape, we realized it wasn't an ashtray. It was a trap. And it was probably there specifically to catch chipmunks so they wouldn't eat the vegetables or other plants. So what to do? Do we leave the animal there in the trap? Let it escape and possibly do damage to the lovely vegetables? Possibly annoy the seller and listing agent if we were being video-taped?

 

What would you have done? We saw an animal who was in pain, yanking and yanking on its leg trying to get free. We freed it. The second it was free of the trap, it flew out of the area. Hopefully it was smart enough to go to someone else's property and not come back. 

 

Real estate agents are often called upon to take care of animals. It's what we do.

 

 

Photo from bing.com/images, in the "free to modify, share and use commercially" section. 

 

 

Posted by

 

Kat Palmiotti, The House Kat

Licensed Associate Broker, CBR®

Grand Lux Realty, Inc.

428 Main Street

Armonk, NY 10504 *

* still supporting Monroe NY, Orange & Rockland counties.

 

914-419-0270 (cell)

email: kat@thehousekat.com

www.thehousekat.com

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Rainmaker
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Kat Palmiotti
Grand Lux Realty, 914-419-0270, kat@thehousekat.com - Monroe, NY
The House Kat

John Wiley - I agree about the cat/other animal instructions. What I do now is when I open the door, I inch it open and stand right in the way (just in case the cat/dog runs for the door). It's stressful!  

Mary Hutchison, SRES, ABR - I am showing a house today and the instructions say "dog in crate - he's a HOWLER!" Ugh. That's going to be a quick showing, I'm sure.

Jun 15, 2018 03:25 AM #47
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Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude - Carlsbad

Hi Kat

I would have done the same thing without even thinking further about it.

Pets in houses really CAN be a tough issue. Even worse when you aren't told they are there in advance.

Jeff

Jun 15, 2018 07:41 AM #48
Rainmaker
1,206,490
Kat Palmiotti
Grand Lux Realty, 914-419-0270, kat@thehousekat.com - Monroe, NY
The House Kat

Jeff Dowler, CRS - Pets should always be part of the showing instructions, if they will be in the house. I totally agree.

Jun 16, 2018 03:14 AM #49
Rainmaker
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Roy Kelley
Realty Group Referrals - Gaithersburg, MD
Roy and Dolores Kelley Photographs

Thank you very much for your chipmunk rescue. We have chipmunks in our yard and they do some damage to our plants but I would never harm them.

Jun 17, 2018 09:16 AM #50
Rainmaker
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Kat Palmiotti
Grand Lux Realty, 914-419-0270, kat@thehousekat.com - Monroe, NY
The House Kat

Roy Kelley - Thank you - I wouldn't want to harm them either!

Jun 17, 2018 10:42 AM #51
Rainmaker
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Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

Oh it breaks my  heart reading this post, I love all animal especially the ones that are four legged... yes I would have released the Chipmunk and thrown the trap away.... I can not understand why humans can be so cruel...Endre

Jun 17, 2018 09:06 PM #52
Rainmaker
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Kat Palmiotti
Grand Lux Realty, 914-419-0270, kat@thehousekat.com - Monroe, NY
The House Kat

Endre Barath, Jr. - Thank you for your comment. They were more concerned about the plants than the animals.

Jun 18, 2018 02:57 AM #53
Rainmaker
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Patricia Feager
DFW FINE PROPERTIES - Southlake, TX
Selling Homes Changing Lives

Kat Palmiotti - As I started reading your post, I was following along knowing something was about to happen. I have been in homes where I had experienced escape artists and frantically tried to get the cat back inside; then to no avail contacted the Showing Service to alert the Sellers, saying I'd wait until I heard what the seller had to say. In all cases, the sellers were not upset, they knew it happens a lot, and told me to leave the house, thanking me for the call.

But then you got me thinking, what if it was a dog and the dog ran out and got attacked by a squirrel or a skunk! What then? I have never heard of a seller leaving First Aid and/or Emergency Contact numbers for their pets. As Agents, we are following the showing instructions without preparation for "what if," scenarios like you described.

If I had been in your situation, I wouldn't have left the chipmunk hanging in distress. I wouldn't have the heart. I would have called animal control, contacted showing services to notify the owner, and left a message for the listing agent, in that order.

I am very happy to see your post was featured! You gave me thoughts to ponder about animals in houses for sale. Thanks, Kat. 

Jun 18, 2018 07:05 AM #54
Rainmaker
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Kat Palmiotti
Grand Lux Realty, 914-419-0270, kat@thehousekat.com - Monroe, NY
The House Kat

Patricia Feager - Thank you for your comment! Animals can certainly add challenges to showings, whether they are pets or wild animals. I hadn't even thought about what happened if a pet got out and was hurt by another animal. That would be a horrible occurrence. 

Jun 19, 2018 03:15 AM #55
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Paul S. Henderson, REALTOR®,CRS,
RE/MAX Professionals. - Tacoma, WA
Tacoma Washington Agent/Broker & Market Authority!

I don't think I've ever faced a situation with setting a wild animal free however I think you did the right thing if not the moral thing to do Kat...

Jun 19, 2018 04:01 PM #56
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Debbie Reynolds
Platinum Properties - Clarksville, TN
Your Dedicated Clarksville TN Real Estate Agent

I don't know what I would have done. I can see it would be painful to see an animal suffering. I haev problems with squirrels and chipmunks destroying flowers and vegetable plants and can't seem to get rid of them.

Jun 19, 2018 06:16 PM #57
Rainmaker
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Kat Palmiotti
Grand Lux Realty, 914-419-0270, kat@thehousekat.com - Monroe, NY
The House Kat

Paul S. Henderson, REALTOR®,CRS, - Thank you! I wouldn't have been beating myself up if I left him there.

Debbie Reynolds - Thank you for your comment; We have that problem with groundhogs and deer. 

Jun 20, 2018 03:22 AM #58
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Robert Vegas Bob Swetz
Realty ONE Group - Las Vegas, NV
Las Vegas Henderson Homes for Sale

Hello Kat,

Interesting post, congrats on the feature and I remember showing homes to a lady home in Las Vegas many years ago. It was owner occupied with the owner present, when we walked in a little dog jumped up and bit her. Scared her really bad, left a red mark on her but didn't draw blood.

Jun 23, 2018 09:08 AM #59
Rainmaker
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Kat Palmiotti
Grand Lux Realty, 914-419-0270, kat@thehousekat.com - Monroe, NY
The House Kat

Robert Vegas Bob Swetz - I'm sure that did not go over well with the buyer - I bet she didn't buy that house!

Jun 23, 2018 10:33 AM #60
Rainmaker
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Carol Williams
U.S.: I specialize in helping agents who have been in the business 2 years or less create a thriving business. - Wenatchee, WA
"Customized Mentoring & Marketing Services"

Gosh, Kat, not sure what I would have done.  On a compassionate level I'd want to free it.  But, would that be interfering with the owners rights to control pests on their property?  I think the animal control option would be better... but, then again, that little guy was suffering.  Who knows how long that could have taken. 

Jun 23, 2018 10:34 AM #61
Rainmaker
1,206,490
Kat Palmiotti
Grand Lux Realty, 914-419-0270, kat@thehousekat.com - Monroe, NY
The House Kat

Carol Williams - I know there are different lines of thought about whether to do something immediately or wait/call animal control, or even to walk away. We just reacted and really didn't even think. Thanks for your comment!

Jun 24, 2018 08:38 AM #62
Rainmaker
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Pat Starnes-Front Gate Realty
Front Gate Real Estate - Brandon, MS
601-991-2900 Office; 601-278-4513 Cell

I would have freaked out, then asked my buyer to set the animal free. LOL

I would have tried to free the animal, and I'd probably call the listing agent to let them know.

Jun 24, 2018 04:31 PM #63
Rainmaker
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Hella M. Rothwell, Broker/Realtor®
Carmel by the Sea, CA
Rothwell Realty Inc. CA#01968433 Carmel-by-the-Sea

Cripes, I don't believe in cruelty to animals! Thank you for letting that little squirrel go. As to animals in a house when showing it, that's tough. Dogs should be taken away or confined because they  can get very territorial, while cats normally just sit and watch.  By the way, I do like to close doors when I'm showing especially the front door. I've had cars stop and people get out when I show a home, and I certainly don't want others to follow me in. And that goes for other agents as well.

Jun 25, 2018 06:07 AM #64
Rainmaker
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Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089
Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers - Haiku, HI
Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info

Poor little chipmunk. I'm glad you let it go and didn't get bitten. I hope he wasn't injured by the trap.

Jun 30, 2018 11:43 PM #66
Rainmaker
1,206,490
Kat Palmiotti
Grand Lux Realty, 914-419-0270, kat@thehousekat.com - Monroe, NY
The House Kat

Pat Starnes-Front Gate Realty - Actually I kept using "we" in this post because I leaned over to take care of it, and then my buyer volunteered to do so. So it was almost as you suggested!

Hella M. Rothwell, Broker/Realtor® - I agree about pets. I've had quite a few showings lately denied or canceled because the sellers couldn't make arrangements for their dogs. The same house several times in a row. It makes showings frustrating!

Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089 - He ran away really fast so I think whatever injury he had to his paw wasn't going to get in his way!

Jul 01, 2018 03:17 AM #67
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